Welcome, dear folks, to the penultimate edition of Monday Mustelid!
The Yellow-bellied Weasel (Mustela kathaiah) is a small mustelid that can be found in southeast Asia, usually in forested areas, but they have been found above the treeline as well. They seem to be able to tolerate the impacts of hunting and habitat destruction, as they have a healthy population overall, and are considered to be a species of least concern by the IUCN.
Adult Yellow-bellied Weasels can grow up to 10.6 inches (27 cm) in body length, with tails of up to 6 inches (15 cm). They weigh about 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg). A Yellow-bellied Weasel’s coat is dark brown on its head, back and tail, but it gets its name from the distinctive yellow or amber color on their chests and bellies.
The diet of Yellow-bellied Weasels consists primarily of small rodents, like mice, rats, and voles. They will supplement this with birds and eggs if they can get them. Their taste for vermin makes them effective at controlling rodent populations, and the Nepalese have even kept them as pets to manage rats and mice. Yellow-bellied Weasels are fairly solitary, and seem to only get together for mating purposes.
The reproductive habits of Yellow-bellied Weasels has not been widely studied, but it’s likely to be similar to that of the Stoat. They probably mate during the spring and early summer, with females delaying implantation of fertilized embryos until the following spring. Litter sizes can vary from 3 to 18 (!) kits, and the kits will be ready to survive on their own within the first three months of life.