Weasel Problems

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The Long Tailed Weasel is common in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky areaweasel Problems in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Common in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, the Long Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) is a carnivore (meat-eater). They are ginger-brown with a long slender body, short legs, and a bushy tail that is nearly as long as the body. Adult males are about 14 to 18 inches long (including the tail) and can weigh up to 1 pound. Females are slightly smaller.

Except during mating season, the Long Tailed Weasel is a solitary animal that becomes very aggressive when territory is invaded. They do not hibernate and are most active at night.

When Weasels Find Food and Shelter on Your Property...

Weasels live in the abandoned burrows of other animals, rotting logs or under rocks or tree roots and like to live close to a water source. Since they have a high metabolism, they eat about 40% of their body weight every day! A weasel's diet is made up of small mammals such as mice, voles, rabbits, gophers and chipmunks. Their slender bodies help them pursue their prey into their burrows.

Even though the Long Tailed Weasel will help control rodent populations (just like its relative, the American Mink), they also eat birds and chickens. This can be especially troublesome for backyard chicken coops or chicken ranches. And not only are they expert predators, weasels like to hunt for sport! They occasionally go on killing sprees, as instinct dictates that they procure food when available and then store it. For this reason, a weasel in a chicken yard is disastrous.

Weasels can present health and safety concerns...

Canine distemper is a common disease fatal to weasels, domestic dogs, foxes, coyotes, mink, otters, and skunks. It is caused by a virus easily spread by contact with the bodily secretions of animals infected with the disease. Gloves, cages, and other objects that have come in contact with infected animals can also contain the virus.

Is it a Weasel?

If you suspect weasels are destroying your eggs, chickens, domestic fowl, rabbits, birds, or any other small mammals that you breed or keep as pets, here are some ways to determine if they are the culprit. Clues include:

  • In poultry houses, weasels often kill many birds, eating only the heads.
  • Weasels eat eggs by breaking in at the ends. Shell remains frequently have finely chewed edges and tiny tooth marks.
  • Birds bitten around the rear end and have their intestines pulled out indicate a weasel or one of its relatives.

The Best Solution...

While prevention of the problem is the first approach, once a weasel has found a home on your property, trapping and removal may be the only effective solution. An effective and safe trapping plan will include:

  • Identifying points of access
  • Identifying nesting sites
  • Determining the number of animals using the site
  • Establishing whether offspring are present

Traps must be set so as not to endanger non-targeted animals (such as pets), and to securely and quickly trap the weasel(s). Care must be taken to capture and remove babies, if present, as well.

Nesting sites must be safely cleaned, sanitized and deodorized. Once all of the problem weasels are removed, repair of property damage and improvements to prevent re-infestation by other weasels must be conducted using professional-grade materials and workmanship.

If you live in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area and weasels are creating a nuisance, trapping and removal may be the only long-term, cost-effective solution. Trapping should be conducted by a trained, licensed professional to protect your family and your property as well as to ensure humane removal of the animals. A professional animal control expert can fully assess and address your animal nuisance problem.


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