African weasel is a small predator with a long body. Her head is small, the muzzle is shortened, her ears and eyes are small. Short paws end with sharp curved claws. The tail is long. A mouth with sharp teeth, long fangs.
African caresses are found in Central and South Africa, in the Sahara desert. These animals live in a variety of biotopes: forests, fields, savannas, deserts. Their habitats are not higher than 2200 meters above the sea.
Description of African Weasel
The body size of an African weasel is 26-36 centimeters, and the tail accounts for 13 to 23 centimeters. Females weigh 23-29 grams, and males weigh 28-38 grams.
On the neck and head there is a white-yellow wide stripe, which is divided on the neck into two strips, and then two more. On the back there are 4 whitish-yellow stripes and 3 stripes of black color, alternating with each other. The width of the light bands ranges from 7 to 15 millimeters, depending on the habitat. The sides, belly and paws are black, and the tail is white.African Weasel (Poecilogale albinucha).
African Weasel Lifestyle
African caresses are usually terrestrial nocturnal. They climb trees perfectly. Mostly they prefer a secluded life, but they can meet couples and even small groups.
African caresses use burrows as shelters that dig on their own, and they can also settle in abandoned burrows of rodents or termite mounds. Weasels dig holes with front paws. They can rest in crevices of stones or hollow logs.
African caresses are active throughout the year. They spend most of their time in their burrows, and leave them only for hunting. Good vision and sense of smell help them to hunt.
Finding rodents, the weasel goes, with its nose buried in the ground, while it holds its tail horizontally.
The animal does not eat prey on the spot, but carries it to its lair. Weasels make stocks in special niches arranged in burrows. Attacking a rodent, a weasel bites him in the back of the head, and then rolls it on the ground and hits it with its front paws. And he bites the birds in the head without using his paws. If the prey is large, then the weasel bites it in the throat.Thanks to the flexibility of the body, weasel can pursue prey right in burrows.
African weasels have well developed ductal glands, a secret with an unpleasant odor stands out from them. This secret is used to defend against enemies. If the weasel is suddenly frightened, then it can jump up sharply, at this time the hair on its tail is ruffled. If a predator pursues an affection, then it can hide in a hole or climb a tree. In an extremely dangerous case, it shoots caustic secretion from the adanal glands, while the accuracy of the shot reaches 1 meter.
African caresses can not only growl, but produce 6 types of sounds that are used for different purposes: protection, communication and warning about the threat. During sleep, caress curls up.
The natural enemies of African weasels are owls and wild dogs. Life expectancy in captivity reaches 5-6 years.
African weasel diet
These predatory animals feed on small mammals: African rats, pygmy mice, striped mice, and shrews. They also eat turtledoves, house sparrows, snakes, insects and insect larvae.When there is no suitable shelter, the weasel begins to growl.
An African weasel eats about 13% of its body weight per day. Lactating females require about 25% of their weight. Rodents and small birds caress eats from the head. The caress leaves the skin of a large prey untouched.
African weasel breeding
The breeding season of African weasels is in spring and summer. The mating process takes 60-80 minutes. A female has 1 litter per year. If the first babies die for certain reasons, then re-mating occurs. Males do not help to breed offspring.
Pregnancy lasts about 30 days. In a litter, most often 2-3 blind babies weighing 4 grams. Their vision is cut out at the 7th week, and teeth grow by 35 days. The female feeds the cubs with milk for 11 weeks, at which time the puppies weigh 50 grams. At the age of 13 weeks, young weasels try to go hunting. They become independent at 20 weeks. Puberty in African weasels occurs at 8 months, and at 19 months, the female can bring the first offspring.People use African weasels as pets, these animals are easily tamed.
The benefits and harms of African weasels for people
In captivity, females get along well with each other, and males constantly start conflicts with each other, and they can be so serious that they end with the death of one of the animals.
Weasels are also given to hunt mice and rats. They actively destroy locusts on agricultural land, which undoubtedly bring benefits.
African caresses can attack the houses, causing them significant damage.
Local tribes use the skin of African weasels to create ceremonial costumes, for example, the Zulus believe that things made from the skin of these animals bring good luck to the owner. African weasels are also used in traditional medicine.
African weasel population
African caresses are in the South African Red Book under the status of a rare species.