One of the things I like best about the Star Wars universe is how many cool creatures are in it. But Earth has its fair share, too.

The Patagonian Weasel (Lyncodon patagonicus) is a little-studied species of weasel that can be found in the Pampas region of Argentina and Chile in South America. There are some reports of Patagonian Weasels being kept as pets by ranchers to keep the population of rats down.

Patagonian Weasels can grow up to 14 inches (35 cm), with tails of lengths up to 3.5 inches (9 cm). Their coats are a mixture of dark and light brown, with white markings on the head and shoulders.

The diet of the Patagonian Weasels likely consists primarily of small mammals (particularly pest rodents like rats and mice), supplemented by insects, lizards and amphibians. Its role in the ecosystem keeping the rodent populations in check is probably what made it seem like a good pet for humans, to perform the same function on their ranches and farms.

The specific reproductive habits of Patagonian Weasels have not been studied, but it’s likely that males have territories overlapping that of females, and they tolerate each other’s presence once a year for mating purposes. This species is currently listed as data deficient by the IUCN, which makes it difficult to say whether or not the species is under threat.

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