Mustelids are back! Had to take a couple of weeks off because my Mondays have been busy, but they are back!
The Malayan Weasel (Mustela nidipes) can be found in southeast Asia, primarily in Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia. In general, they are viewed positively by the humans who share their range, since they are excellent at controlling rodent populations. They are currently considered to be a species of least concern by the IUCN because their overall numbers are healthy, but they are protected in peninsular Malaysia and Thailand because of declines in sub-populations.
Malayan Weasels can grow up to 14 inches (36 cm) in body length, with an additional 10 inches (26 cm) of fluffy tail. They are orange-brown in color, with pale faces and ears. Sexual dimorphism is not as pronounced in Malayan Weasels as it is in other mustelids, but males may slightly outweigh females. There are currently two recognized subspecies of Malayan Weasel:
- Mustela nidipes nidipes
- Mustela nidipes leucocephalus
Malayan Weasels usually forage alone, scouring the ground for the likely hiding places of small rodents. Occasionally they will eat lizards, birds, eggs and insects, and they have been observed to swim so may feed a little on amphibians and fish as well.
The breeding habits of the Malayan Weasel are not widely studied, but like other mustelids of similar type they are likely polygynous. Observed litter sizes average 4 young, and females likely raise them on their own with no involvement from the males.