Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Mountain Weasel
Mountain Weasel (Mustela altaica)
Common Name Pale weasel, Altai weasel or Solongoi.
Range Northern Asia
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Mustelidae
Genus Mustela
Species Mustela altaica
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

The Mountain Weasel is a species from the Mustela genus. It prefers to live in usually high-altitude environments, as well as rocky tundra and grassy woodlands covered in green vegetation.


This species undergoes seasonal molts during the spring and autumn. The summer coat consists of gray to gray-brown fur with some light yellow, while the winter fur is more of a dark yellow with some brown. In both coats, the underbelly is pale yellow to creamy white. The upper head between the muzzle and ears is usually darker gray-brown. The tail may be more rufous than the back. The summer fur is gray to gray-brown with some light yellow. The lips are white and the chin has grayish-brown vibrissae.


The mountain weasel is capable of climbing, running, and swimming. Their long bodies and short legs allow them to be very agile. Altai weasels are generally nocturnal, but may hunt during daylight. Although solitary, they communicate with each other visually and vocally. This animal has extremely good vision.


They primarily feed on pikas and voles; they have an important ecological role in reducing or limiting the population numbers of these rodents.


The mountain weasel breeds once a year. Mating usually occurs in February or March, and the young are usually born in May. The gestation period is 30-49 days. The litter size is one to eight young. The offspring are born altricial, require nourishment and depend on the mother, their eyes are closed, and their fur is not well developed. Lactation lasts about two months, and after weaning, the young become independent but remain with their littermates until fall. The young are able to breed in the following season when they are just under a year of age.