Colombian weasel

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Colombian weasel
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Theria
Infraclass: Eutheria
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mustelinae
Genus: 'Mustela'
Species: ''M. felipei'
Binomial name
Mustela felipei
Izor and de la Torre, 1978
Colombian weasel range

Colombian weasel (Mustela felipei), also known as the Don Felipe's weasel, is a very rare species of weasel only known with certainty from the departments of Huila and Cauca in Colombia[2] and nearby northern Ecuador (where only known from a single specimen).[1] Both its scientific and alternative common name honours the mammalogist Philip "Don Felipe" Hershkovitz.[3]

It appears to be largely restricted to riparian habitats at an altitude of 1700–2700 m (5600–8900 ft). There is extensive deforestation within its limited distribution within the Northern Andes of Colombia and Ecuador, and with less than 10 known specimens,[1] it is probably the rarest carnivoran in South America.[4] It is therefore considered vulnerable by IUCN.[1]

Mature specimens have averaged around 22 cm (8.7 in), not counting a tail of around 11.5 cm (4.5 in), and have weighed 120–150 g (4.2–5.3 oz). This places as the second smallest living carnivore on average, being only slightly larger than the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) and slightly smaller than the Ermine or Stoat (M. erminea).[5] The upperparts and tail are blackish-brown, while the underparts are orange-buff. The fur is fairly long.[4]

Very little is known about its behavior, but it has several features, among them extensive toe webbing, which suggests it has a semiaquatic lifestyle.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Template:IUCN2008 Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable
  2. ^ Eisenberg, John Frederick; Redford, Kent Hubbard (1999). Mammals of the Neotropics: The Central Neotropics: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil (vol. 3). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 624. ISBN 978-0-226-19542-1.
  3. ^ Izor, R. J., and L. de la Torre. 1978. A New Species of Weasel (Mustela) from the Highlands of Colombia, with Comments on the Evolution and Distribution of South American Weasels. Journal of Mammalogy. Vol. 59(1): 92-102
  4. ^ a b c Novak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9
  5. ^ Carnivores of the World by Dr. Luke Hunter. Princeton University Press (2011), ISBN 9780691152288
  • Izor, R. J. and N. E. Peterson. 1985. Notes on South American weasels. Journal of Mammalogy 66: 788–790.