Adjustable Living Spaces
Weasels are constantly in danger of energy exhaustion, so when prey are abundant they keep their home ranges small (<20 ha) and hunting expeditions short. The rest of the time they save energy by keeping warm in one of their several dens, all taken over from other animals. When hunting is bad they have to travel further and more often, so home ranges have to get larger (up to >200 ha) and expeditions longer. These simple facts can have unhappy consequences for field workers studying home ranges of weasels because they affect the probability of catching all or any of the weasels present; some individuals will never be caught at all. This chapter reviews the methods available, such as live-trapping and radio-tracking, and the results of home-range studies done on the three species in different habitats. Weasels mark their home ranges with scent signals from body and anal glands.
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