Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Search for a News Release

Press/Media inquiries:

DNR News Releases

Learn More About the Least Weasel

  • 2/25/2015 4:10:00 AM
  • View Count 14377
  • Return

While it can still be common in specific locales in northern Iowa, for the most part, the least weasel is now pretty rare in Iowa.

This Iowa native is the world’s smallest carnivore, measuring at 10 inches and under. It lives at the edges of woodlands, or in thickets or brushy fencerows near water. It dines on small birds, invertebrates, mice, ground squirrels, rats, and voles. Not one to waste food, a least weasel may kill more mice and voles than it needs at one time and stores them for later.

If you startle a least weasel, it might release a musky odor and shriek. In summer, least weasels have red-brownish coloring on its back, sides, tail and the top of its head, with the rest being white. In winter, the body may be all white to help it blend in to the snowy surroundings. Fall and spring colorations are mixes of the two phases as the fur transitions.

For more information, check out our  least weasel fact sheet.