Field naturalists have observed the activities of weasels for centuries. Their descriptions were often accurate but sometimes misinterpreted the animals' behaviors and underlying explanations for those behaviors. "Organized natural history" became one of the roots of the science of ecology in the 1920s and by the 1960s scientists had begun to study the biology of weasels with all the critical, objective advantages of modern theory and equipment. Until the first edition of this book appeared in 1989 no one had attempted to explain these results to non-specialist naturalists. Now thoroughly revised, this book will continue to be the main one-stop reference for professionals. But both kinds of knowledge are brought together here - observations for the traditional naturalist and rigorous measurements and interpretations for modern scientists, integrated into a single, readable account.
This new edition provides a comprehensive summary of the extensive advances over the last 15 years in our knowledge of these fascinating animals. A new U.S.-based co-author reshapes the content to be more U.S.-centric. Stories about North America trappers and backwoodsmen interacting with weasels replace some (not all) of the previous stories about English gamekeepers. These changes permeate the book, so readers familiar with the first edition will recognize some material, but will find a lot that is new. Much less reliable European information quoted in the first edition was there at the time when no better information was available. Now a new NZ chapter focuses on predation problems of the species introduced to that country. This edition is much more than a simple update, is now truly an international treatment and a more valuable resource.
1. Weaselly distinguished, stoatally different; 2. Hair trigger mouse traps with teeth; 3. Molt and winter whitening; 4. Body size; 5. Food; 6. Hunting behavior; 7. The impact of predation by weasels on populations of natural prey; 8. Adjustable living spaces; 9. Reproduction; 10. Populations: density and breeding success; 11. Populations: survival and mortality; 12. Human attitudes to weasels in their native environments; 13. Stoats as introduced pests in New Zealand; 14. Puzzles: sexual dimorphism, delayed implantation and co-existence among weasel species; Conclusion
...provides a wide range of information on evolution, ecology, morphology, behaviour and physiology on weasels and stoats...It includes many different recent studies, from Europe (mainly Britain), New Zealand and North America. This is one of the major books on mustelids. It is also nicely illustrated. Ge'raldine Veron Mammalia The emphasis of this new edition has moved from a British to a N. American flavour with much to say about the booming populations of mustelids in New Zealand; still an excellent natural history book for the British ecologist. British Ecological Society 2008 This is some of the best current natural history writing. Highland News