(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The Colombian Weasel, scientific name Mustela felipei, also referred to as Don Felipe’s weasel is a really uncommon species of weasel solely recognized with certainty from the departments of Huila and Cauca in Colombia and close by northern Ecuador (the place it is just recognized from a single specimen). Both its scientific and different frequent name honors the mammalogist Philip “Don Felipe” Hershkovitz.

Colombian Weasel Profile

It seems to be largely restricted to riparian habitats at an altitude of 1,100 to 2,700 m (3,600 to eight,900 ft). There is in-depth deforestation inside its restricted distribution throughout the northern Andes of Colombia and Ecuador, and with lower than 10 recognized specimens, it’s most likely the rarest carnivoran in South America. It is taken into account susceptible by the IUCN.

Colombian Weasels have a body size of roughly 22 cms (8.7 inches) and a tail size of roughly 11 cms (4.3 inches). They are darkish brown in color with a buff underside. They have in-depth webbing between their toes which means that they have a semi-aquatic way of life.

It is the second-smallest dwelling carnivore on average, being solely barely bigger than the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) and barely smaller than the stoat or ermine (M. erminea). The upperparts and tail are blackish-brown, whereas the underparts are orange-buff.

Colombian weasels are very uncommon, and little or no is thought about them. They are present in riparian areas, close to rivers and alongside the banks of different natural water sources.

Only six localities have been confirmed in Colombia and Ecuador. The few specimens which have been obtained have been collected from altitudes ranging between 1,750 and a pair of,700 m the place cloud forests predominate.

One specimen was collected within the higher Suaza river valley (Cueva de los Guacharos National Park). This part of the Suaza river accommodates a mix of violent currents and quiet swimming pools.

The species was previously solely recognized from specimens till the first photograph of a dwelling particular person was taken in 2011 by a newbie naturalist who discovered one trapped in his parents’ home; the weasel subsequently escaped to the outside. The picture was uploaded to iNaturalist in 2018, the place it gained widespread consideration.

Geographic Range

Mustela felipei has been noticed from western Colombia (provinces of Huila and Cauca) to northern Ecuador. The species was considered endemic to the Cordillera Central of Colombia till one other specimen was present in Andean Ecuador.

Within this potential distribution, there are 34 protected areas (20 in Colombia and 14 in Ecuador). There are three confirmed localities for the species in every for Colombia and Ecuador; all lie inside 1,123 to 2,700 m elevation.

Mustela felipei happens in Colombia from Serrania de los Paraguas within the limits between the Chocó and Valle del Cauca departments (4°51′N, 76°25′W) by way of the Northern Andes of Ecuador in Mera within the province of Pastaza (1°27′S, 78°05′W).

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, there are more likely to be critical threats to the safety of this species and so they proposed a number of core areas to guard to make sure its survival. The IUCN at the moment acknowledges the species as susceptible at a B2ab level (ii, iii, iv, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2013).

Colombian Weasel Distribution and habitat

M. felipei is among the least studied carnivore species within the Americas. Photos taken of a Colombian weasel by Juan de Roux are the first recognized images of a dwelling Colombian weasel.

These tiny carnivores are thought to take care of a bigger geographical range that at the moment recognized. Reports of sightings have positioned M. felipei within the mountain ranges of western Colombia to northern Ecuador.

M. felipei was initially considered endemic to Colombia nonetheless current specimens have been collected in Ecuador which has since confirmed this thought unsuitable.

Distribution and habitat modeling surveys have been capable of predict that M. felipei is distributed between 20 protected areas in Colombia, and 14 in Ecuador together with three beforehand recognized places in each international location, the vast majority of these places lie in protected areas of the forest.

From geographic modeling, and picked up specimens it has been concluded that Mustela felipei lives in largely riparian habitats, primarily staying near rivers, streams, and alongside the shorelines of different natural water sources.

Since this habitat lies in an elevation range of 1,100 to 2,700 m (3,600 to eight,900 ft) it’s labeled as being in a “cloud forest” consisting of 100% humidity including to the riparian habitat.

Colombian Weasel Description

M. felipei has an elongated body with an average size of 22 cm (8.7 in), and a tail 11.5 cm (4.5 in) long. Weight ranges between 120 and 150 g (4.2 and 5.Three oz). M. felipei has a darkish dorsal coloration with no variation, ventrally the weasel has a light orange coloration with gradual fading of coloration as much as the top.

Hair coloration from the tail to the nostril is uniform with no striping or recognition. M. felipei has an inflated auditory bulla positioned close to the dorsal midline on the body, together with a large mesopterygoid fossa.

The soles of the feet lack any fur, and in-depth webbing is positioned on the second, third, and fourth digits, suggesting a semi-aquatic way of life.

Adult specimens have averaged 22 cm (8.7 in) in size, not counting the 11.5 cm (4.5 in) tail, and weighed 120 to 150 g (4.2 to 5.3 oz). Colombian weasels are the second smallest dwelling carnivore, being solely barely bigger than least weasels (Mustela nivalis) and barely smaller than ermines (Mustela erminea).

Colombian weasels have an elongated body with brief legs and a brief rostrum, as typified by weasels, ferrets, mink, and otters. The upperparts and tail are blackish-brown, the underparts are orange-buff, and the fur is kind of long.

Little else is thought about its bodily look, although analysis signifies it has webbed feet to assist present stability in semi-aquatic habitats.


Because this species is thought from so few specimens and has not been noticed within the wild, there may be little or no recognition of Colombian weasel behavior. Like different weasels, they’re more likely to be primarily solitary and sedentary.

Food Habits

Colombian weasels are carnivorous, like their weasel cousins. Because of their webbed feet and incidence in riparian habitats, they’re assumed to eat fish and different aquatic organisms, along with terrestrial small mammals and bugs.

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Colombian Weasel


M. felipei is a carnivorous mammal that preys totally on fish, different small aquatic animals, and small terrestrial mammals. Hunting is aided by way of webbed feet and camouflaged fur.


Colombian weasels talk with vocalizations, vision, contact, and doubtless with scent cues. Individuals of this species stand on their hind legs to seek for others and emit a high-pitched sound to alert kin in instances of hazard.

Colombian Weasel Reproduction

There have been no stories of mating programs in Colombian weasels. In the associated and well-studied species, Mustela frenata, there’s a monogamous pair bond, the male is attentive to the feminine – particularly throughout weaning – and watches the younger whereas she hunts for herself.

Both parents handle the offspring for 2 to a few months. However, in different species of weasels, males compete for entry to mating with a number of females and don’t take part in the care of younger.

There has been no research on reproduction in Colombian weasels. However, in temperate weasel species, fertilized eggs develop for about eight days before suspending improvement for 7.5 months. After this time, the embryos resume improvement, and 6 to eight younger are born 24 days later.

All collectively, the gestation interval lasts 200 to 300 days. Newborn Colombian weasels are blind and hairless. They measure roughly 55 mm in size and weigh as much as 2 g every.

They shortly develop a comfortable fur, which is changed by adult fur after Three weeks. By week 5, their teeth have are available. Their eyes open by 6 weeks of age, at which level weaning begins.

Female Colombian weasels nurture their new children younger and handle them for two to three months. In different, weasel species, sometimes males assist look after younger and generally, they’re uninvolved.


Colombian weasels are more likely to be essential predators of small animals within the riparian habitats they occupy. Little is know of mutualisms or parasitisms on this species.


Little is thought about predation on or anti-predator diversifications on this species. However, their coloration seemingly helps them mix in with the surroundings.


Colombian weasels are acknowledged as susceptible with a lowering inhabitants pattern by the IUCN. Very little is thought about their life history and inhabitants standing, however, their rarity and the truth that lots of the areas they’re thought to inhabit have been severely impacted by deforestation means that populations are threatened.

Mustela felipei has been acknowledged by the IUCN as being susceptible and having lowering inhabitants. However, because of the rarity of the sighting, and deforestation of recognized habitat it stays unclear as to the true numbers of people that make up the inhabitants.

Colombian Weasel Facts

Colombian Weasels are also referred to as Don Felipe’s Weasel

Colombian Weasels are classed as riparian, which suggests inhabiting areas near water.

Its scientific name honors the mammalogist Philip “Don Felipe” Hershkowitz.

Little is thought in regards to the behavior of Colombian Weasels.

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