why are they pests?

Mustelids are not only pests but very very cunning pests. They are not silly like possums blundering around waiting to get caught – they are a worthy adversary. They have contributed to the extinction of some native birds and are also a major cause of the decline of many other native birds. They kill more prey than they need for food if given the chance and attack animals much larger than themselves. They were introduced into New Zealand in the 1880s to control rabbit numbers.

 

Stoats

Common name: Stoat

Scientific name: Mustela erminea

Stoats have long, thin bodies with smooth pointed heads and their ears are short and rounded. Males can grow up to 30cm long and are usually larger than females. Their fur is reddish-brown on their back with a white to yellowish underbelly. Stoats have relatively long tails with a distinctive bushy black tip.

How can I control them?

What do they look like?

All mustelids are wily, they didn’t get to be where they are now by being stupid. I think they are the hardest of all the pest species to catch. They adapt very quickly, have a great sense of smell and seem to have a sixth sense for danger.

Whatever you do to catch mustelids needs to be well thought out and well executed.

Trapping is the only method for mustelid control, there are all manner of mustelid traps and methods of use. I have caught thousands of rats and possums but very, very few mustelids.

Ferrets

Common name: Ferret

Scientific name: Mustelo furo

Ferrets have a black face mask over their eyes like the infamous Hamburglar. The males can be up to 44cm long and are usually larger than the females. They have a creamy yellow undercoat with a long black topcoat, which gives them a dark appearance.

They are good climbers and can steal bird eggs and chicks from nests. Ferrets have contributed to the extinction of some native birds and are also a major cause of the decline of many other native birds. They were introduced into New Zealand in the1880s to control rabbit numbers.

Weasels

Common name: Weasel

Scientific name: Mustela nivalis

Weasels are nowhere near as much of a problem as stoats and ferrets. They live on smaller prey such as skinks and geckos as well as native birds eggs (and the birds themselves) so are still undesirable.

Control is the same as for stoats and ferrets – trapping.