Have You Seen Iowa’s Smallest Carnivore?
The least weasel is not only the smallest carnivore found in Iowa, it’s also the smallest carnivore in the world. According to the Iowa DNR, they are found across North America, Europe, and Asia, living at the edges of woodlands or in brushy areas near water.
Least weasels have a long, slender body. In summer, they have a brownish upper body and a white underside. In winter, they can be brown or all white to help blend in with the snow. They differ from other weasels as they do not feature the black tip on their tail.
It’s quite rare to see one unless you’re in northern Iowa, but if you startle a least weasel, it might release a musky odor and shriek.
They range from 4-10” long and weigh only 1-2 ounces. They are so small that they can fit into holes less than one inch in diameter.
They mainly eat mice, but will also eat insects, birds, bird eggs, rabbits, fish, and frogs.
Predators of the least weasel include raptors and snakes.
In some Mythology stories, the least weasel had previously been a bride, who was transformed into a weasel that would destroy the wedding dresses of other brides out of jealousy. It was also said to be the only animal that was capable of killing the basilisk, a small snake that would leave a trail of deadly venom and its breath would kill anything in its path. But its weakness was the odor of the least weasel.