If you did not know this, New Hampshire has a quite large variety and amount of weasels. There are 6 members of the weasel family that are present in New Hampshire.
Looking at these members of the mustelidae family in order of smallest to largest, we have the ermine (which will sometimes be referred to as the short-tailed weasel), the long-tailed weasel, the pine marten, the mink, the fisher, and finally the river otter.
You can find all of these weasels quite commonly throughout New Hampshire, with the exception of the marten.
While there are plenty of these weasels throughout the state, all of them are not something which we will commonly see while being in New Hampshire, this is because they are not something which is seen that often.
For example, both the long-tailed weasel as well as the ermine are incredibly hard to spot during the winter, this is because they can become almost as white as snow during these months.
So, in spite of how common these animals are, it is unlikely that you will actually end up seeing them that often.
This is because most weasels, by their nature are quite scarce, and most of them will only be active during the night.
Or some of them like the otter, and only active at the earliest point of the morning when the light is just coming out. In spite of being hard to spot themselves, they leave a lot of signs by rivers or in forests.
For example in New Hampshire there was a snow tracking census in the 80s, and in this period it was found that Fishers were actually incredibly common in the state, and their tracks were the most common to find with a distinct pattern.
So, with this much known about weasels in the state of New Hampshire, let’s go over some information about each of the weasels in the state, and tell you everything you need to know!
Weasels In New Hampshire
Let’s go over each of the weasels which are found in New Hampshire, and give you some information about each so you know what you should be looking out for if you want to find these weasels in the state.
The ermine is the smallest of all the weasels in New Hampshire, and the word ermine is usually used as a word for describing both the long and the short tailed weasel’s while they are in their white winter fur phase, however, the short tailed weasel is officially referred to as the ermine throughout the whole year.
You can find ermine usually in the more northern parts of North America, this could be northern California, or the eastern Rockies, or the northern parts of Pennsylvania, and of course, most of New Hampshire.
These weasels will be about 7 to 8 inches in length, and their fur covers their whole body, even the bottom of their feet, during the winter.
During these winter months these weasels are white all over with the only exception being their tail which is black tipped. The male ermine will also be noticeably larger than the female ermine.
Their diet is mostly made up of smaller mammals like voles, shrews, and mice. They have been found to invade older buildings during the winter months in New Hampshire, likely to catch the mice which are found here.
These weasels are about 11 to 12 inches long, which is a bit bigger than the aforementioned ermine. These body measurements are also what are used to determine a male from a female long-tailed weasel.
Like ermine as well, they will be all white, with the same exception being the black tipped tail. These weasels are quite widely distributed around the world, and you can find them in the Arctic, as well as in tropical weather.
However, it is rarer than the ermine in some parts of northern Canada, just in comparison. They have a small home range of a few acres, and they have a similar diet to the ermine.
The pine martin is noticeably larger, and they will be about twice as long as a long-tailed weasel being between 20 and 25 inches long.
These are unfortunately on the threatened species list for the state which is why they are the least abundant weasel we have included. In spite of this, they have made a great return in numbers over the past 20 or so years which is good to see.
In New Hampshire, they are starting to be found more commonly in the northern Coos Country, which is a small population, but it is actively growing which is great to see!
This species is a golden brown, and they are easy to distinguish with their yellow chin patches. They are more at home in the further northern areas and they love being in thickets of spruce fir like those in the Great North Woods.
There is a study being done currently in New Hampshire where there have been 30 pine marten live getting tagged which are now over the Maine border.
They tend to eat smaller mammals like the ermine, and long-tailed weasel, however they are also fond of fruits as well as nuts.
If you are close to a stream or pond in New Hampshire, it is likely that some mink have been there at some point. This species has a lovely chestnut colored pelt, with the occasional patch of white on the chin.
They are close in size to the aforementioned pine marten. This species is notable for being semi-aquatic when they are in nature, however, they can go quite far from water. Their home range tends to be a mile withing a river.
You can recognize their aquatic features in their diet which is mostly fish, frogs, and crayfish. However, they have been shown to eat some smaller mammals too.
They are quite common throughout North America, with the main exception being desert regions. While common in New Hampshire, they are quite uncommon to be seen.
These are occasionally referred to as fishercats and they are a common land predator. There is a lot of folklore surrounding this species, especially in New Hampshire.
They are often blamed for cats going missing, and while they do sometimes eat cats, so do many other species, and cats are usually the victims of cars nowadays anyway.
This is species tends to be between 35 and 40 inches long and they have quite a large home range compared to the aforementioned species.
Finally, the largest weasel present in New Hampshire is the river otter, and they can be anywhere between 25 and 40 inches long. They are a beautiful dark brown chocolate color, and they have a massive 9 square mile range.
They have a similar diet to the mink, and in spite of being so common, they are just as hard to see as some of the other species.
Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you want about weasels in New Hampshire. To keep this amazing variety we need to look after the biodiversity and wooded habitat blocks present in the state.
Other NH Guides about animals: