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Stoats, Ferrets & Weasels

Mustelids (Mustelidae) is the family name for ferrets, stoats and weasels. Mustelids were first introduced in the 1880s to control New Zealand’s growing rabbit plagues. Unfortunately they had limited effect on rabbit populations but are now the main predator of rodents and birds over the whole country.

Ferrets, stoats and weasels (Mustelids) compared
Ferrets, stoats and weasels (Mustelids) compared

Mustelids’ greatest impact on our native species occurs when their primary prey such as rabbits and rodents becomes scarce. This is particularly so in relation to their effects on the numbers of kiwi, penguins, wading and perching birds, lizards and invertebrates. Even in low numbers, mustelids can have a major impact on these animals and our native biodiversity in general. As an example, just to survive, a stoat needs to eat the equivalent of 12.5 fantail chicks, every day.

Mustlelids, but in particular stoats, are natural born killers, often killing for the sake of it, and leaving their prey behind. Despite this voracity they are one of the hardest, yet most important predators to catch.

Stoat & Ferret Facts

Mustelids includes ferrets, stoats and weasels with stoats in particular being NZ’s pest “serial killers”. While of the same family they are all a little different.

Stoat & Ferret Traps

Mustelids vary in size from the small weasels to the considerably larger ferret. This means that one trap does not kill them all, find out which ones do.

Stoat & Ferret Trapping Tips

Similarly, what works for one, may not work for the other. Checkout these top tips for increasing your chances of catching a stoat, ferret or weasel.

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