• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.
Hello, folks!
I've already posted a thread regarding my curiosity regarding why weasels are so rarely encountered, particularly in the suburbs, where they are especially rare to see.
Now, my question is not regarding why they behave the way they do, but rather about what their preferences are so that we can attract them to our yard, if possible.

(I know that attracting weasels isn't for everyone, but we don't keep outdoor chickens or rabbits or anything like that.)

We live in a town in New Hampshire, but our yard is not overly urbanized. We still get wildlife that are generally considered to prefer less built-up areas, like black bears, sharp-shinned hawks, brown thrashers, gray catbirds, painted turtles, and tree frogs.
We generally see more wildlife during the warmer months than during the winter.

We've seen many wild animals here in the Northwoods. Moose, bears, deer, porcupines, turkeys, snowshoe hares, ruffed grouse, foxes, and otters.
But as of yet, I have still never seen a weasel in the wild.
Of course, I have also never seen a fisher or marten, but weasels are rather abundant, and are probably the best among abundant animals at remaining out of sight.
It figures that because they are so small, it would be possible to create an ideal habitat for them in our backyard.

Are there any ways to attract wild weasels to your yard?
I have heard of numerous ways to attract weasels, but few of them are actually intended to be for creating weasel-friendly lots. They are usually intended for trapping them.
While there isn't much information on attracting weasels, there is some information on deterring them. One website states that mowing lawns and getting rid of brush piles will repel them. Does that mean that doing the opposite (leaving tall patches of grass and brush piles) will attract them?
I've also heard that they like log piles and rock piles near water.

I believe that weasels have similar habitat preferences to "vermin" like mice and rats. But if the weasels themselves could be attracted naturally, they would serve as a natural control of the rodent population, and a "wildlife-friendly" way to eliminate rodents.

Does anyone have any suggestions or information regarding this topic?
Thanks! God bless!
 

Bino Steve

Well-known member
United States
Baiting wild animals upsets their natural patterns and creates an imbalance in the prey-predator ratio that is currently in place for your area. This is not something to take lightly just for your personal uses. Please rethink your plans and think of the animals well being instead.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
You can only attract any mammals that are already using the area, so provided you are keeping to creating habitat and not over-feeding you are unlikely to upset the balance of nature. (Spoiler alert, I feed foxes nightly and I've had a regular, stable attendance for years, with a steady turn-over of dominant males but otherwise only slow change: my oldest fox is 5 years old plus - so I may be enhancing the overall fox population a bit but not by much. Say one or two animals out of a local population of a hundred or so.)

Weasels - and I know in the USA that word is used for what we call Stoats as well as Least Weasel - are more specialised carnivores than foxes, and less likely to be attracted by dead baits unless they are desperate in a lean year for rodents. So Dan is fundamentally correct about habitat and there probably isn't any bait you can provide that will work even if they are around: but if rodents are using any seed you put out then you may get an occasional visit.

Otherwise, walks in the countryside especially where there are colonies of rabbits (do any American rabbits create warrens like European ones?) could well result in sightings of the Stoat equivalent weasel, is that Long-tailed or Short-tailed?

Good luck. Mustelids aren't easy to see and that's a fact.

Cheers

John
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Germany
Otherwise, walks in the countryside especially where there are colonies of rabbits (do any American rabbits create warrens like European ones?) could well result in sightings of the Stoat equivalent weasel, is that Long-tailed or Short-tailed?
Short-tailed Weasel is the same as Stoat, Long-tailed Weasel is slightly bigger.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Germany
One more important point is that weasels are preyed upon by stray/feral cats and dogs, so if you have any such pets, it's a good idea to keep them under tight supervision.
 
Baiting wild animals upsets their natural patterns and creates an imbalance in the prey-predator ratio that is currently in place for your area. This is not something to take lightly just for your personal uses. Please rethink your plans and think of the animals well being instead.
I'm mostly just asking about providing them with the ideal habitat.
 
You can only attract any mammals that are already using the area, so provided you are keeping to creating habitat and not over-feeding you are unlikely to upset the balance of nature. (Spoiler alert, I feed foxes nightly and I've had a regular, stable attendance for years, with a steady turn-over of dominant males but otherwise only slow change: my oldest fox is 5 years old plus - so I may be enhancing the overall fox population a bit but not by much. Say one or two animals out of a local population of a hundred or so.)

Weasels - and I know in the USA that word is used for what we call Stoats as well as Least Weasel - are more specialised carnivores than foxes, and less likely to be attracted by dead baits unless they are desperate in a lean year for rodents. So Dan is fundamentally correct about habitat and there probably isn't any bait you can provide that will work even if they are around: but if rodents are using any seed you put out then you may get an occasional visit.

Otherwise, walks in the countryside especially where there are colonies of rabbits (do any American rabbits create warrens like European ones?) could well result in sightings of the Stoat equivalent weasel, is that Long-tailed or Short-tailed?

Good luck. Mustelids aren't easy to see and that's a fact.

Cheers

John
Yeah, it would be rare for a weasel to venture into a town like ours, but in the once in a lifetime moment that a weasel would visit our yard (which is possible, because it is not very far from the woods) I would want our yard to be hospitable enough for it to consider returning to the site.

I wish we could feed foxes (and raccoons and skunks) around here, but we can't for two reasons:
1. Rabies is fairly common in New England and can be spread by foxes, raccoons, and skunks.
2. Coyotes, which are potentially dangerous, are often as abundant as foxes throughout much of North America. Bears are also easily attracted in all seasons but winter.

Because of these reasons, I only occasionally leave raw meat out as bait. I generally use non-edible lures like fish oil, beaver castor, and other oils and gland lures when I am trying to attract wildlife to my trail camera.

From what I've heard, weasels are actually pretty easily attracted by bloody meats, fish, and even suet, but I would prefer to attract them primarily with their natural prey. The only problem is that I'd have a rather large mouse population if the weasels never showed up!

No, we do not have rabbits that behave like European rabbits around here. Cottontail rabbits are rather solitary and don't burrow, although they may use already existing burrows. Cottontails are actually pretty rare this far north, with snowshoe hares being our most common lagomorph.
Around here, weasels feed primarily on mice and voles.
Although the short-tailed weasel is genetically closer to the stoat, it is actually the long-tailed weasel that fills the niche of stoats in North America.

But anyway, thanks for your reply!
 
One more important point is that weasels are preyed upon by stray/feral cats and dogs, so if you have any such pets, it's a good idea to keep them under tight supervision.
We fence in our pets when they go outside. Unfortunately, we do get cats in our yard (probably free-roaming pet cats rather than true abandoned strays or ferals) and although they haven't killed any birds in our yard yet, I would still like advice on what to do to prevent potential feline-caused casualties.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top