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Stoats: The Need for Control.

The Stoat (Mustela erminea) occurs throughout Britain and Ireland, living in any habitat at any altitude with sufficient ground cover and food. The stoat's presence on offshore islands depends upon the availability of suitable prey. Stoats feed mainly on small mammals, especially rabbits and water voles. Small rodents are also taken - supplemented by birds, eggs, fruit and even earthworms when food is scarce. Stoats don't like to be out in the open and tend to hunt along ditches, hedgerows and walls or through meadows and marshes. They search each area systematically - often running in a zig-zag pattern. All but the largest prey is killed by a single bite to the back of the neck.

For many years gamekeepers and poultry farmers have attempted to control stoats with varying degrees of success. A stoat getting into a chicken run can kill every bird it finds there. Such frenzied attacks are typical of the behaviour of many small carnivores faced with abundant 'prey' - and the stoat is certainly no exception.

How do you tell the difference between a stoat and a weasel? Here's a few tips that reflect both their similarities and their differences:-

  • stoats and weasels both have a brown or chestnut back and white belly in the summer, but whereas stoats have a prominent bushy black tip to the tail weasels have short tails with no black tip
  • stoats and weasels are strictly carnivorous species which depend heavily on live prey - they rarely scavenge. They both eat largely small rodents such as voles and mice. Lagomorphs (hares and rabbits) and birds are an important secondary prey
  • stoats are always larger on average than weasels (when both are present) and have a somewhat more varied diet because they can tackle larger animals due to their larger size. However, rodents still form most of their diet.

But ultimately - what is the real difference between a weasel and a stoat? Well that's easy - 'cos a weasel is ‘weasily’ identified and a stoat is ‘stotally’ different. Got it!

Countryman Pest Control Ltd has a Stoat Control Programme for every type of situation, domestic, commercial, or agricultural - with total quick elimination and ongoing prevention. From one off visits to full service contracts. All carried out by fully trained Pest Technicians - we can rapidly bring any infestation under complete control. Every situation of Stoat Control is different - and at Countryman Pest Control Ltd we always carry out a full survey of the premises before deciding on the best course of action. And and as always - the most cost effective solution will be advised. For your no obligation survey, give us a call today - our friendly staff are waiting to help.

National Pest Technicians Association The British Association for Shooting and Conservation