African Striped Weasel - A Skunk Mimic

Striped weaselThe African striped weasel (Poecilogale albinucha) is a black and white striped weasel that is the smallest carnivore in Africa. It looks strikingly similar to a skunk and also to Africa's zorilla, except that it has the sleeker build and slinky, snake-like gait of a weasel. Interestingly enough, African striped weasels not only mimic a skunk's appearance, it also copies its behavior by releasing a smelly fluid from its anal glands when it feels threatened.

On average, the African striped weasel's head and body measures about 25 to 35cm -- or about 10 to 14 inches -- and weighs between 225 to 350g -- or 8 to 13 ounces. This weasel is built low to the ground, with very short legs. The African striped weasel has a large white patch on the top of its head, which then divides into two stripes that run down the length of the weasel's back.

The African striped weasel can be found in many sub-Saharan countries of Africa. Its range is quite diverse, and it can be found in many different types of habitats, including forests, marshes or grasslands. This weasel spends most of its time on the ground, though it can climb trees.

African striped weasels feed on small mammals, birds, snakes, eggs and even insects. Its slim build allows it to enter even narrow, tight burrows in search of its prey.
These nocturnal weasels have a voracious appetite and will often kill and eat several small animals a night. If the African striped weasel makes a kill, it will take the dead animal back to its den before eating it. African striped weasels will also store animals it has killed, but has not eaten for later consumption. The African striped weasel can be both a friend and a foe to a farmer because, while it feeds on pests that can damage crops, such as rats and mice, it may also steal a chicken or an egg.

African striped weasels are not considered to be endangered, but they are thought to be rare. These shy animals are not frequently seen by humans, but this is due in part to their nocturnal lifestyle and also because they do not usually travel far from their burrows. Currently, the main threat to the African striped weasel's population are humans and loss of habitat, as it really doesn't have any animals that prey upon it.

African striped weasels are normally solitary, although they can occasionally be found in pairs or in small family groups. The African striped weasel gives birth to one to three babies in its burrow between the months of September and April. Young weasels are weaned at about 11 weeks.

Keywords: black , white , tail , stripe , nocturnal

The African striped weasel is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the African striped weasel
The females are called 'bitch, doe or jill' and males 'buck, dog, hub or jack'. A African striped weasel group is called a 'boogle'.
Some facts about the
White-naped weasel

Adult weight : 0.28 kg (0.616 lbs)

Female maturity :439 days

Gestation : 32 days

Weaning : 65 days

Litter size : 2

Litters per year : 1

Interval between litters : 240 days

Weight at birth : 0.004 kg (0.0088 lbs)

Weight at weaning : 0.05 kg (0.11 lbs)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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