Image of the Day: White Weasel

In Poland, researchers are observing fewer white-coated weasels as the snow melts a little earlier every year, leaving the animals exposed to predators.    

Sukanya Charuchandra
May 28, 2018

The white-coated weasel Mustela nivalis is conspicuous against its changing environment.KAROL ZUBResearchers tracking weasels in Bialowieza Forest, Poland have noticed numbers of the white-coated variant have fallen since 1997. Their dwindling numbers correspond to a decrease in days with snow cover. With their white coats, these weasels are typically camouflaged during winter and thus, less prone to predator attacks. However, with snow melting earlier every year, these white weasels may eventually disappear or become extremely rare.

K. Atmeh et al., “Climate change is affecting mortality of weasels due to camouflage mismatch,” Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26057-5, 2018.