(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The African striped weasel, scientific name Poecilogale albinucha, the lone member of its genus, is a small, black, and white weasel native to sub-Saharan Africa.

Geographic Range

Poecilogale albinucha is discovered all through sub-Saharan Africa however is uncommon all through its range.

African Striped Weasel Description

The African striped weasel is, without doubt, one of the smallest mammalian carnivores in Africa and has an elongated body and brief legs. Adults have a head-body size of 27 to 32 cm (11 to 13 in), with the tail including an additional 16 to 20 cm (6.3 to 7.9 in).

Males are bigger than females, weighing an average of 339 g (12.Zero oz), in contrast with 251 g (8.9 oz). The fur is generally black, with 4 white to pale yellowish bands operating down the back, a white patch on the top of the pinnacle, and a whitetail.

African Striped Weasel Physical Traits

The animal’s body is glossy and long and has very brief legs. The head and body measure 250-360mm, and the tail is 130-230mm. Males could weigh 283-380 grams, and females could weigh 230-290 grams.

Individuals from western Uganda have been discovered to be barely bigger than these from areas additional east and south. The legs and underside of the animal are coated in black fur.

The top of the pinnacle is white, persevering within a thick stripe down the back the place there are each black and white longitudinal stripes, and the tail is completely white. In captive people, the white stripe color could differ from light yellow to deep buff.

It appears to be similar to and is usually confused with, the zorilla (/Ictonyx striatus/), and it’s argued that it might be a mimic. Females have two pairs of mammae.

African Striped Weasel

The head is elongated, with small eyes, a brief, broad snout, and brief ears. The carnassial teeth are brief, and the canine teeth long. The claws are sharp and curved, and the tail is long and bushy.

Females usually have 4 teats. Like many different mustelids, the African striped weasel has well-developed scent glands within the perineal area that may spray a noxious fluid when the animal feels threatened.

African Striped Weasel Distribution and habitat

The striped weasel could also be present in quite a lot of totally different habitats. It has been present in forest edge, grassland, and marsh areas. Generally, they’re present in areas that assist their fundamental prey, small mammals (Kingdon).

African striped weasels inhabit a lot of Africa south of the equator. They are discovered from the Democratic Republic of the Congo throughout Kenya within the north, and as far south as southern South Africa.

Within this area, they’re commonest in savannah habitats, however, might also be present in forests and grasslands. They generally reside beneath 1,500 m (4,900 ft) elevation, however, could sometimes be discovered as high as 2,200 m (7,200 ft).

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African Striped Weasel Behavior

African striped weasels are nocturnal hunters of small mammals, birds, and reptiles, however feed virtually solely on rodents of their very own size or smaller. The weasels hunt primarily by scent, attacking prey with a sudden lunge and hanging on the back of the neck.

After the preliminary strike, they kill by whipping their very own our bodies and kicking, making use of their skinny, lithe, muscular construct to stun and tear the prey merchandise. They typically retailer prey of their burrow as an alternative of consuming it instantly.

The weasel is mostly solitary, however, people typically pair as much as dig burrows. They are efficient diggers, however could typically rest in natural cavities similar to hole logs or rock crevices.

They deposit dung in well-defined latrine areas, presumably as a way of scent marking. Males are aggressive once they encounter each other, at first fluffing their tails, making brief cries and faux prices, after which escalating to preventing with bites, shaking, and aggressive shrieks if neither particular person retreats.

African striped weasels have been recognized as making six totally different calls. Apart from the warning and aggressive calls talked about above, and a 3rd call that transitions between the 2, one other call alerts submission of a retreating male, one other call signifies give up throughout a struggle, and a greeting call is used solely between women and men and between younger and their mom. Young weasels additionally make misery calls when separated from their mom.

Food Habits

The striped weasel is carnivorous. It eats primarily small mammals (rodents, rats, mole rats, and many others.) and birds, but in addition, eats snakes and bugs.

It is ready to enter any burrow that its head can match into. Once prey is discovered, it assaults by biting the back of the neck, and continues to hold on and chew till the prey is useless.

To do that it depends enormously on the facility of its long back. It is alleged that “The weasel bites its victim, usually, a rodent, at the back of the neck and, rolling over on to its back, clamps part of the rat or mouse between its jaws and forepaws, meanwhile racking the victim’s body with well-co-ordinated kicks that are discharged by means of the powerful spasms of the weasel’s long back.”

If the prey’s legs occur to be free, the striped weasel will hold on till the animal drops from exhaustion. They have a big urge for food and should eat 3-4 rats in a night. They are selective about what body components they’ll eat. On occasion, captive people normally don’t eat the pinnacle, tail, legs, and dorsal skin of bigger rodents.

African Striped Weasel


African striped weasels primarily feed on mice and different small rodents. They additionally sometimes feed on birds and eggs.

African Striped Weasel Reproduction

Mating happens between spring and summer and contains no less than three bouts of copulation, every lasting 60 to 80 minutes, in a single 24-hour interval. Females give start to a single litter of two or three younger after a gestation interval of 30 days.

Births of captive animals had been discovered to happen from September to April. Their courtship patterns are considered much like the ferret (/Mustela putorius/) and involve a lot of growling.

Both sexes have been discovered to seize the mate’s neck and drag it around prefer it had been prey. The females are polyestrous. If their first litter is lost, they’ll mate a second time within the season.

Litters encompass 1-Three younger, and the gestation interval is 31-33 days. Young is totally weaned at about 11 weeks, and practically fully grown at 20 weeks. A male could mate at 33 months, and a feminine could have her first litter at 19 months.

The younger are born in a burrow, and are initially blind and hairless, weighing simply Four g (0.14 oz) every. Their canine teeth erupt at 5 weeks, and their eyes open after 7 weeks.

By 11 weeks of age, they’re weaned, and so they start killing their very own prey at 13 weeks. They attain the total adult size at 20 weeks and are sexually mature at 8 months.

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