I achieved my first sunburn of the year over the weekend. One's enough.
The Colombian Weasel (Mustela felipei) is an elusive and rare mustelid that can be found only in two departments of Colombia, Huila and Cauca, and a small portion of northern Ecuador. It's also known as Don Felipe's weasel, a name that refers to Philip Hershkovitz, a scientist who spent a significant amount of time studying mammals in South America and was affectionately known as "Don Felipe."
Adult Colombian Weasels are estimated to grow to almost 9 inches (22 cm) in body length, with a 4.5-inch (11.5 cm) tail. This puts them among the smallest mustelids still living. They are typically bi-colored, with the upper parts of their bodies a dark-brown, and their bellies a buff to orange color. Colombian Weasels have been observed to have webbed feet, and while very little is known about their daily lives in the wild, this seems to suggest that they thrive in semi-aquatic habitats.
The diet of Colombian Weasels hasn't been definitively researched, but because of their habitat and their physicality, they are assumed to eat small terrestrial animals and insects as well as small fish and other water-dwelling animals. They have been observed to communicate with each other through vocalizations and scent marking, and will stand upright on their hind legs to give warning calls to other weasels.
Almost nothing is known about the mating habits of Colombian Weasels, but researchers believe that they likely follow similar patterns to mustelids of similar size. This could mean that Colombian Weasels mate once each year and form monogamous pair bonds, with both parents participating in raising the young. Female Colombian Weasels probably have the ability to delay implantation of fertilized embryos for up to 7.5 months, while active gestation time lasts for only 26 days. Each litter consists of about 6 to 8 young, and they will start to be weaned at about six weeks.
Colombian Weasels are considered to be a vulnerable species by the IUCN, due to their rarity and vulnerability to deforestation, which affects a large portion of their habitat.