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Ermine (Mustela erminea)—Charlie OttThe National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers
Species of the weasel family (Mustela erminea). Its white winter coat has historically adorned royal robes and is still used in the fur trade. Ermines are found in North America and northern Eurasia. They are most abundant in thickets, woodland, and semitimbered areas. In summer they are brown, with whitish throat, chest, and belly. Species are 5–12 in. (13–29 cm) long (excluding the 2–5-in., or 5–12-cm, tail) and weigh less than 11 oz (0.3 kg). Voracious carnivores, ermines feed on small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, and, occasionally, invertebrates.
Variants of ERMINE
ermine or stoat
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ermine, visit Britannica.com.