Stoat, Jispa, Himachal Pradesh

Soumyajit Nandy
Soumyajit Nandy

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

One of our lesser known, rarely photographed carnivores, the stoat is a fearless predator that has even been known to kill full grown rabbits. It was introduced to New Zealand in the late 19th Century to control rabbits and hares, but ended up causing immense damage to the country's native bird population.

The stoat (Mustela erminea) is a small, specialized predator of alpine and temperate forests.

According to Wikipedia, the stoat does not dig its own burrows, instead using the burrows and nest chambers of the rodents it kills. The skins and underfur of rodent prey are used to line the nest chamber. The nest chamber is sometimes located in seemingly unsuitable places, such as among logs piled against the walls of houses. The stoat also inhabits old and rotting stumps, under tree roots, in heaps of brushwood, haystacks, in bog hummocks, in the cracks of vacant mud buildings, in rock piles, rock clefts, and even in magpie nests.

We encountered this lively predator within human habitation near our resort in Jispa, (elevation 3,200m or 10,500ft) in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

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About the author

Soumyajit Nandy
Kolkata-based Soumyajit Nandy is an architect by qualification and a wildlife photographer by profession.


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