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Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario

BIRDS

FISHES

REPTILES

INSECTS

   
Mustela erminea
Ermine

Description

Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration - in summer, brown upperparts; creamy legs, sides and chest. Tail, long, tipped in black. In winter, colouration is pure white except for black-tipped tail.

Ermine

Size -
Male: 25.4 - 33 cm (10 - 13 in)
Female: 21.5 - 26 cm (8.5 - 10.25 in)

Habitat

Wide range throughout Northwestern Ontario, in coniferous and mixedwood forests; also shrub areas, lakeshores and forest edges.

Diet

Primarily small rodents; also reptiles, fish, birds, eggs, insects, worms and carrion.

Notes

The ermine has a very high metabolic rate which makes it a very effective and agile hunter. However, its slim body shape dictates that it must eat often to survive. Even during winter, it stores food supplies in caches to feed through the colder months.

Once trapped extensively for their luxuriant winter coat, the ermine has survived and is found in significant numbers in Northwestern Ontario and throughout Canada. A female will produce a litter of 4 to 9 offspring every spring.



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