The Egyptian weasel is a small, cylindrical weasel. Head small and triangular. Snout small, broad and pointed. Hair short and dense, chestnut to dark brown in the upperparts and creamy to white in the underparts. Ears small and rounded. Tail long, thin with heavy short hair. Hind limbs longer than forelimbs, each ending in 5 white digits with strong claws.
Distribution in Egypt
Narrow (mainly northern Nile Valley and Delta).
Length: 23-30 cm. Weight: 220 gm.
Habitat and Ecology
The Egyptian weasel almost completely commensal with man. Found in homes, buildings, agricultural areas and sometimes desert.
Life History and Behavior
Nocturnal mammal, spending day in underground holes or crevices. Feeds on small mammals (rodents, hares), birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects (especially red ants and bugs). Territorial and solitary species. Egyptian weasel female gives birth to litters of two to five young once or twice per year after a gestation period of 37 days and reaches sexual maturity after 4-8 months.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2003Not Evaluated (NE)
Status in Egypt
The Egyptian weasel has short legs, a small head, and small ears. Its tail is long and thin. The weasel has a broad snout. The upper part of the body is brown and the lower part is cream-colored.
Sizes for the Egyptian Weasels are: -Male head-body length: 36.1–43 cm -Female head-body length: 32.6–39 cm -Male tail length: 10.9-12.9 cm -Female tail length: 9.4–11 cm -Male weight: 60-130g -Female weight: 45-60g.
The Egyptian weasel is so similar to the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) that it was only discovered to be a separate species as recently as 1992.
Habitat and Life History
The Egyptian weasel lives in the same places as humans, including cities and villages. It is mostly nocturnal. The female Egyptian weasel can have up to three litters a year. She gives birth to four to nine kits at a time.
The Egyptian Weasel is a carnivore and eats mostly mice, rats, and lizards. When food is scarce they even eat insects.