The animal on the cover of Web Design in a Nutshell is a least weasel (Mustela
nivalis ).There are 67 species of weasel,including the mink,ermine,ferret,otter,
and skunk.Weasels,which are characterized by long,slender bodies and short
legs,are found on all continents except Antarctica and Australia,and in a vast
variety of habitats.
The least weasel is the smallest of the 67 species of weasel.Weighing in at approx-
imately two ounces and measuring less than 10 inches long,the least weasel is the
smallest carnivore on Earth.It is found throughout the world in northern
climates.In warm weather this weasel ’s coat is brown,with a white underside.In
winter it turns completely white.Thanks to its camouflage abilities and its speed
and agility,the least weasel is rarely caught.
The diet of the least weasel is made up primarily of voles and mice,which,
because of the weasels ’high metabolism,they hunt constantly.One family of
these little weasels can consume thousands of rodents each year,making them
important in controlling pest populations.Because it is so small,the least weasel
can follow mice into their burrows and eat them there.Like other weasels,they
will occasionally then make their victim ’s home their own,lining it with the fur of
the former resident when preparing to nest.Least weasels can produce two litters
a year,with three to five young per litter.