The European polecat – known as the common ferret, black or forest polecat, or fitch – is a species of mustelid native to western Eurasia and north Morocco. It is of a dark brown colour, with a pale underbelly and a dark mask across the face. Colour mutations, including albinos and erythrists, occur. Compared to minks and other weasels – fellow members of the genus Mustela – the polecat has a shorter, more compact body, it is much less territorial than other mustelids, with animals of the same sex sharing home ranges. Like other mustelids, the European polecat is polygamous, though pregnancy occurs directly after mating, with no induced ovulation, it gives birth in early summer to litters consisting of five to 10 kits, which become independent at the age of two to three months. The European polecat feeds on small rodents, birds and reptiles, it cripples its prey by piercing its brain with its teeth and stores it, still living, in its burrow for future consumption. The European polecat originated in Western Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, with its closest living relatives being the steppe polecat, the black-footed ferret and the European mink.
With the two former species, it can produce fertile offspring, though hybrids between it and the latter species tend to be sterile, are distinguished from their parent species by their larger size and more valuable pelts. The European polecat is the sole ancestor of the ferret, domesticated more than 2000 years ago for the purpose of hunting vermin; the species has otherwise been viewed negatively by humans. In the British Isles the polecat was persecuted by gamekeepers, became synonymous with promiscuity in early English literature. During modern times, the polecat is still scantly represented in popular culture when compared to other rare British mammals, misunderstandings of its behaviour still persist in some rural areas; as of 2008, it is classed by the IUCN as Least Concern due to large numbers. The word "polecat" first appeared after the Norman Conquest of England, written as polcat. While the second syllable is self-explanatory, the origin of the first is unclear, it is derived from the French poule, meaning "chicken" in reference to the species' fondness for poultry, or it may be a variant of the Old English ful, meaning "foul".
In Middle English, the species was referred to as foumart, meaning "foul marten", in reference to its strong odour. In Old French, the polecat was called fissau, derived from the Low German and Scandinavian verb for "to make a disagreeable smell"; this was corrupted in English as fitchew or fitchet, which itself became the word "fitch", used for the polecat's pelt. The word fitchet is the root word for the North American fisher, named by Dutch colonists in America who noted similarities between the two species. In some countries such as New Zealand, the term "fitch" has taken on a wider use to refer to related creatures such as ferrets when farmed for their fur. A 2002 article in The Mammal Society's Mammal Review contested the European polecat's status as an animal indigenous to the British Isles on account of a scarce fossil record and linguistic evidence. Unlike most native British mammals, the polecat's Welsh name is not of Celtic origin, much as the Welsh names of invasive species such as the European rabbit and fallow deer are of Middle English or Old French origin.
Polecats are not mentioned in Anglo-Saxon or Welsh literature prior to the Norman conquest of England in 1066, with the first recorded mention of the species in the Welsh language occurring in the 14th century's Llyfr Coch Hergest and in English in Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale. In contrast, attestations of the Welsh word for pine marten, date back at least to the 10th century Welsh Laws and much earlier in northern England. No other animal on the British list has had as many colloquial names as the polecat. In southern England it was referred to as'fitchou' whereas in the north it was'foumat or foumard... However there were a host of others including endless spelling variations: philbert, fishock, poulcat, poll cat, etc. Charles Oldham identified at least 20 different versions of the name in the Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire area alone; as well as the several indigenous names referring to smell, the scientific name Mustela putorius is derived from this species' foul smell. The Latin putorius is the origin of the English word putrid.
The earliest true polecat was Mustela stromeri. It was smaller than the present form, thus indicating polecats evolved at a late period; the oldest modern polecat fossils occur in Germany and France, date back to the Middle Pleistocene. The European polecat's closest relatives are the steppe polecat and black-footed ferret, with which it is thought to have shared Mustela stromeri as a common ancestor; the European polecat is, not as maximally adapted in the direction of carnivory as the steppe polecat, being less specialised in skull structure and dentition. The European polecat diverged from the steppe polecat 1.5 million years ago based on IRBP, though cytochrome b transversions indicate a younger date o
Hera is the goddess of women, marriage and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister-wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her. Hera is seen with the animals she considers sacred including the cow and the peacock. Portrayed as majestic and solemn enthroned, crowned with the polos, Hera may hold a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, "Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos."Her Roman counterpart is Juno.
The name of Hera has several mutually exclusive etymologies. According to Plutarch, Hera was an anagram of aēr. So begins the section on Hera in Walter Burkert's Greek Religion. In a note, he records other scholars' arguments "for the meaning Mistress as a feminine to Heros, Master." John Chadwick, a decipherer of Linear B, remarks "her name may be connected with hērōs, ἥρως,'hero', but, no help, since it too is etymologically obscure." A. J. van Windekens, offers "young cow, heifer", consonant with Hera's common epithet βοῶπις. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin, her name is attested in Mycenaean Greek written in the Linear B syllabic script as e-ra, appearing on tablets found in Pylos and Thebes. Hera may have been the first deity to whom the Greeks dedicated an enclosed roofed temple sanctuary, at Samos about 800 BCE, it was replaced by the Heraion of Samos, one of the largest of all Greek temples. There were many temples built on this site so evidence is somewhat confusing and archaeological dates are uncertain.
The temple created by the Rhoecus sculptors and architects was destroyed between 570–560 BCE. This was replaced by the Polycratean temple of 540–530 BCE. In one of these temples we see a forest of 155 columns. There is no evidence of tiles on this temple suggesting either the temple was never finished or that the temple was open to the sky. Earlier sanctuaries, whose dedication to Hera is less certain, were of the Mycenaean type called "house sanctuaries". Samos excavations have revealed votive offerings, many of them late 8th and 7th centuries BCE, which show that Hera at Samos was not a local Greek goddess of the Aegean: the museum there contains figures of gods and suppliants and other votive offerings from Armenia, Iran, Egypt, testimony to the reputation which this sanctuary of Hera enjoyed and to the large influx of pilgrims. Compared to this mighty goddess, who possessed the earliest temple at Olympia and two of the great fifth and sixth century temples of Paestum, the termagant of Homer and the myths is an "almost... comic figure", according to Burkert.
Though greatest and earliest free-standing temple to Hera was the Heraion of Samos, in the Greek mainland Hera was worshipped as "Argive Hera" at her sanctuary that stood between the former Mycenaean city-states of Argos and Mycenae, where the festivals in her honor called Heraia were celebrated. "The three cities I love best," the ox-eyed Queen of Heaven declares in the Iliad, book iv, "are Argos and Mycenae of the broad streets." There were temples to Hera in Olympia, Tiryns and the sacred island of Delos. In Magna Graecia, two Doric temples to Hera were constructed at Paestum, about 550 BCE and about 450 BCE. One of them, long called the Temple of Poseidon was identified in the 1950s as a second temple there of Hera. In Euboea, the festival of the Great Daedala, sacred to Hera, was celebrated on a sixty-year cycle. Hera's importance in the early archaic period is attested by the large building projects undertaken in her honor; the temples of Hera in the two main centers of her cult, the Heraion of Samos and the Heraion of Argos in the Argolis, were the earliest monumental Greek temples constructed, in the 8th century BCE.
According to Walter Burkert, both Hera and Demeter have many characteristic attributes of Pre-Greek Great Goddesses. According to Homeric Hymn III to Delian Apollo, Hera detained Eileithyia to prevent Leto from going into labor with Artemis and Apollo, since the father was Zeus; the other goddesses present at the birthing on Delos sent Iris to bring her. As she stepped upon the island, the divine birth began. In the myth of the birth of Heracles, it is Hera herself who sits at the door, delaying the birth of Heracles until her protégé, had been born first; the Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo makes the monster Typhaon the offspring of archaic Hera in her Minoan form, produced out of herself, like a monstrous version of Hephaestus, whelped in a cave in Cilicia. She gave the creature to Python to raise. In the Temple of Hera, Hera's seated cult figure was older than the warrior figure of Zeus that accompanied it. Homer expressed her relationship with Zeus delicately in the Iliad, in which she declares to Zeus, "I am
Thebes is a city in Boeotia, central Greece. It played an important role in Greek myths, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus and others. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed a Mycenaean settlement and clay tablets written in the Linear B script, indicating the importance of the site in the Bronze Age. Thebes was the largest city of the ancient region of Boeotia and was the leader of the Boeotian confederacy, it was a major rival of ancient Athens, sided with the Persians during the 480 BC invasion under Xerxes. Theban forces under the command of Epaminondas ended the power of Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC; the Sacred Band of Thebes famously fell at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC against Philip II and Alexander the Great. Prior to its destruction by Alexander in 335 BC, Thebes was a major force in Greek history, was the most dominant city-state at the time of the Macedonian conquest of Greece. During the Byzantine period, the city was famous for its silks.
The modern city contains an Archaeological Museum, the remains of the Cadmea, scattered ancient remains. Modern Thebes is the largest town of the regional unit of Boeotia. Thebes is situated in a plain, between Lake Yliki to the north, the Cithaeron mountains, which divide Boeotia from Attica, to the south, its elevation is 215 metres above mean sea level. It is about 50 kilometres northwest of Athens, 100 kilometres southeast of Lamia. Motorway 1 and the Athens–Thessaloniki railway connect Thebes with Athens and northern Greece; the municipality of Thebes covers an area of 830.112 square kilometres, the municipal unit of Thebes 321.015 square kilometres and the community 143.889 square kilometres. In 2011, as a consequence of the Kallikratis reform, Thebes was merged with Plataies and Vagia to form a larger municipality, which retained the name Thebes; the other three become units of the larger municipality. The record of the earliest days of Thebes was preserved among the Greeks in an abundant mass of legends that rival the myths of Troy in their wide ramification and the influence that they exerted on the literature of the classical age.
Five main cycles of story may be distinguished: The foundation of the citadel Cadmea by Cadmus, the growth of the Spartoi or "Sown Men". The immolation of Semele and the advent of Dionysus; the building of a "seven-gated" wall by Amphion, the cognate stories of Zethus and Dirce. The tale of Laius, whose misdeeds culminated in the tragedy of Oedipus and the wars of the "Seven Against Thebes", the Epigoni, the downfall of his house. See Theban pederasty and Pederasty in ancient Greece for detailed discussion and background; the exploits of Heracles. The Greeks attributed the foundation of Thebes to Cadmus, a Phoenician king from Tyre and the brother of Queen Europa. Cadmus was famous for teaching the Phoenician alphabet and building the Acropolis, named the Cadmeia in his honor and was an intellectual and cultural center. Archaeological excavations in and around Thebes have revealed cist graves dated to Mycenaean times containing weapons and tablets written in Linear B, its attested name forms and relevant terms on tablets found locally or elsewhere include, te-qa-i, understood to be read as *Tʰēgʷai̮s, te-qa-de, for *Tʰēgʷasde, and, te-qa-ja, for *Tʰēgʷaja.
It seems safe to infer that *Tʰēgʷai was one of the first Greek communities to be drawn together within a fortified city, that it owed its importance in prehistoric days — as — to its military strength. Deger-Jalkotzy claimed that the statue base from Kom el-Hetan in Amenhotep III's kingdom mentions a name similar to Thebes, spelled out quasi-syllabically in hieroglyphs as d-q-e-i-s, considered to be one of four tj-n3-jj kingdoms worthy of note. *Tʰēgʷai in LHIIIB lost contact with Egypt but gained it with "Miletus" and "Cyprus". In the late LHIIIB, according to Palaima, *Tʰēgʷai was able to pull resources from Lamos near Mount Helicon, from Karystos and Amarynthos on the Greek side of the isle of Euboia; as a fortified community, it attracted attention from the invading Dorians, the fact of their eventual conquest of Thebes lies behind the stories of the successive legendary attacks on that city. The central position and military security of the city tended to raise it to a commanding position among the Boeotians, from early days its inhabitants endeavoured to establish a complete supremacy over their kinsmen in the outlying towns.
This centralizing policy is as much the cardinal fact of Theban history as the counteracting effort of the smaller towns to resist absorption forms the main chapter of the story of Boeotia. No details of the earlier history of Thebes have been preserved, except that it was governed by a land-holding aristocracy who safeguarded their integrity by rigid statutes about the ownership of property and its transmission over time; as attested in Homer's Iliad, Thebes was o
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
Cultural depictions of weasels
Weasels are mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae and the genus Mustela, which includes stoats, least weasels and minks, among others. Different species of weasel have lived alongside humans on every continent except Antarctica and Australia, have been assigned a wide range of folkloric and mythical meanings. Excavations in Çatalhöyük, the earliest known agricultural settlement in Turkey, uncovered animal parts which were incorporated into the structure of homes in what may have been a ritual practice; the teeth of weasels, alongside the teeth of foxes, tusks of wild boars, the claws of bears, vulture beaks, were found embedded in plaster wall decorations. Weasels were seen as pests in Ancient Greece and Rome. There are more modern claims that the Ancient Greeks and Romans kept weasels as house pets, but they are unsupported by historical sources. Plutarch and Cicero both refer to weasels as household pests in their writing, they were thought to have anti-venom properties: Pliny the Elder details a recipe for an antidote for asp venom made from crushed weasels, writes about a least weasel slaying a basilisk in his Natural History:To this dreadful monster the effluvium of the weasel is fatal, a thing, tried with success, for kings have desired to see its body when killed.
The animal is thrown into the hole of the basilisk, known from the soil around it being infected. The weasel destroys the basilisk by its odour, but dies itself in this struggle of nature against its own self; the Kamaitachi is a Japanese yōkai, said to take the form of a weasel who either has sharp nails or sickles in place of paws. In Tōhoku, injuries received from a kamaitachi can be healed by burning an old calendar and putting it on the wound. In Shin'etsu, there is a folk belief that one could encounter a kamaitaichi by stepping on a calendar; the wounds received from a kamaitachi are deep. There are variations on the myth and the appearance of the kamaitachi, but nearly all involve strong winds causing cuts to appear on people; the version in which the yōkai appears as a weasel describes it as having the bristles of a hedgehog, cry of a dog, sickles for limbs. In China, it is considered bad luck to kill a weasel, as they're said to be wandering spirits that can steal and replace people's souls.
The ermine was seen as a symbol of purity, for the belief that it would rather die than dirty its white fur: if hunters were chasing it, it would turn around and surrender rather than risk soiling itself. Because of this association, ermine fur had been used in heraldry, as a trim on crowns and coronation cloaks, on the garments of prelates of the Catholic Church for hundreds of years; the ermine is the national symbol of Brittany, the Breton flag has an ermine canton. The weasel is associated with the destruction of clothing that of brides-to-be, in Southern Greece; the Greek word for weasel is νυφίτσα, which translates to "little bride." Legend goes that the weasel was a bride transformed, being jealous of soon-to-be human brides, destroys their wedding dresses. A wedding custom dictates: Therefore, in the house where these are collected and honey are put out to appease her, known as'the necessary spoonfuls,' and a song is sung with much ceremony in which the weasel is invited to partake and spare the wedding array.
In Macedonia, another folk tale posits that if a woman gets a headache after washing her hair with water drawn overnight, it was because a weasel used the water as a mirror. She should refrain from saying the name of the weasel aloud, or it will cause the household's clothing to decay. An ermine was used as a symbol of moderation by Leonardo da Vinci in his painting Lady with an Ermine. In a bestiary he compiled he wrote:MODERATION The ermine out of moderation never eats but once a day, it would rather let itself be captured by hunters than take refuge in a dirty lair, in order not to stain its purity. Ermines were used to symbolize pregnancy in Renaissance-era Italy. In Ireland, stoats were thought to behave like humans who had family structures and rituals for the dead. Seeing a stoat at the beginning of a journey was considered bad luck unless you greeted the animal as a neighbor. In 17th century England, weasels were believed to be the familiars of witches; the folklore of several tribes mentions weasels.
They are variably depicted depending on the region. The Shoshone and Paiute describe the weasel as a trickster spirit, the Abenaki and Tlingit associated them with sorcery, while the Anishinaabe associated them with healing and used their pelts for medicine bags. A Chippewa myth details how a least weasel killed a wendigo giant by climbing up its anus and sickening it. Inuit mythology describes weasels as brave. One story describes a hero who would choose to transform into a least weasel when he had to accomplish a task demanding bravery. In Brian Jacques' Redwall series of books, weasels are depicted as villainous, living in and leading vermin hordes. In 2015 a photograph of a least weasel'riding' on a woodpecker's back went viral; as explained by wildlife experts, the weasel was attacking the woodpecker as prey. I. M. Weasel, a smart, successful weasel, was the title character of I Am Weasel, a series of 7 minute animated shorts for Cartoon Network that ran from 1997-2000, he was voiced by Michael Dorn
The long-tailed weasel known as the bridled weasel or big stoat, is a species of mustelid distributed from southern Canada throughout all the United States and Mexico, southward through all of Central America and into northern South America. It is distinct from the short-tailed weasel known as a "stoat", a close relation which originated in Eurasia and crossed into North America some half million years ago; the long-tailed weasel is the product of a process begun 5–7 million years ago, when northern forests were replaced by open grassland, thus prompting an explosive evolution of small, burrowing rodents. The long-tailed weasel's ancestors were larger than the current form, underwent a reduction in size to exploit the new food source; the long-tailed weasel arose in North America 2 million years ago, shortly before the stoat evolved as its mirror image in Eurasia. The species thrived during the Ice Age, as its small size and long body allowed it to operate beneath snow, as well as hunt in burrows.
The long-tailed weasel and the stoat remained separated until half a million years ago, when falling sea levels exposed the Bering land bridge, thus allowing the stoat to cross into North America. However, unlike the latter species, the long-tailed weasel never crossed the land bridge, did not spread into Eurasia; the long-tailed weasel is one of the larger members of the genus Mustela in North America. There is substantial disagreement both on the upper end of their size and difference in size by sex by source: one indicates a body length of 300–350 mm and a tail comprising 40–70% of the head and body length, it adds that in most populations, females are 10–15% smaller than males, thus making them about the same size as large male stoats, according to a second source. A third states they range from 11 to 22 inches in length, with the tail measuring an additional 3 to 6 inches, it maintains the long-tailed weasel weighs between 3 and 9 ounces with males being about twice as large as the females.
The eyes are glow bright emerald green when caught in a spotlight at night. The dorsal fur is brown in summer, while the underparts are whitish and tinged with yellowish or buffy brown from the chin to the inguinal region; the tail has a distinct black tip. Long-tailed weasels in Florida and the southwestern US may have facial markings of a white or yellowish colour. In northern areas in winter, the long-tailed weasel's fur becomes white, sometimes with yellow tints, but the tail retains its black tip; the long-tailed weasel moults twice once in autumn and once in spring. Each moult is governed by day length and mediated by the pituitary gland. Unlike the stoat, whose soles are thickly furred all year, the long-tailed weasel's soles are naked in summer; the long-tailed weasel has well-developed anal scent glands, which produce a musky odour. Unlike skunks, which spray their musk, the long-tailed weasel drags and rubs its body over surfaces in order to leave the scent, to mark their territory and, when startled or threatened, to discourage predators.
The long-tailed weasel mates in July–August, with implantation of the fertilized egg on the uterine wall being delayed until about March. The gestation period lasts 10 months, with actual embryonic development taking place only during the last four weeks of this period, an adaptation to timing births for spring, when small mammals are abundant. Litter size consists of 5–8 kits, which are born in April–May; the kits are born naked and weighing 3 grams, about the same weight of a hummingbird. The long-tailed weasel's growth rate is rapid, as by the age of three weeks, the kits are well furred, can crawl outside the nest and eat meat. At this time, the kits weigh 21–27 grams. At five weeks of age, the kit's eyes open, the young become physically active and vocal. Weaning begins at this stage, with the kits emerging from the nest and accompanying the mother in hunting trips a week later; the kits are grown by autumn, at which time the family disbands. The females are able to breed at 3–4 months of age, while males become sexually mature at 15–18 months.
The long-tailed weasel dens under stumps or beneath rock piles. It does not dig its own burrows, but uses abandoned chipmunk holes; the 22–30 cm diameter nest chamber is situated around 60 cm from the burrow entrance, is lined with straw and the fur of prey. The long-tailed weasel is a fearless and aggressive hunter which may attack animals far larger than itself; when stalking, it waves its head from side to side. It kills them with one bite to the head. With large prey, such as rabbits, the long-tailed weasel strikes taking its prey off guard, it grabs the nearest part of the animal and climbs upon its body, maintaining its hold with its feet. The long-tailed weasel manoeuvres itself to inflict a lethal bite to the neck; the long-tailed weasel is an obligate carnivore which prefers its prey to be fresh or alive, eating only the carrion stored within its burrows. Rodents are exclusively taken when they are available, its primary prey consists of mice, squirrels, shrews and rabbits. It may eat small birds, bird eggs, amphibians, fish and some insects.
The species has been observed to take bats from nursery colonies. It surplus kills in spring when the kits are being fed, again in autumn; some of the surplus kills may be cached, but are left uneaten. Kits in captivity eat from ¼–½ of their body weight in
Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier
Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier was a writer and painter of French history. By 1780 he was an official painter of the King of France, he was the father of artist Élise Bruyère. His most famous work was a representation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen made in 1789, he designed the suite of tapestries of the four contintents. Select list of work Courage des femmes de Sparte se défendant contre les Messéniens, Musée du Louvre, Paris. Media related to Jean-Jacques-François Le Barbier at Wikimedia Commons