January 08, 2020

Wildlife of RER: Malay Weasel | Malayan Weasel

Meet the Malay Weasel (Mustela nudipes), a mammal which belongs to the Mustelidae family.

The Malay Weasel is one of the 76 mammal species which have been identified in the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) area within the Kampar Peninsula.

Also known as the Malayan Weasel, this animal is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand.

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RER’s NEWEST SPECIES DISCOVERY, MALAY WEASEL (Mustela nudipes) source: carnivore.net

The Malay Weasel weighs around 1kg, with a body length of 30 to 36cm and tail length of 24 to 26 cm.

This weasel’s body is usually golden in colour and can vary from reddish-brown to grayish-white, with its head a much lighter colour than its body. The distal half of its tail is pale orange to white in colour.

The Malay Weasel occurs in a variety of habitats, including primary forest, secondary forest, swamp forest, scrub, grassland and even plantations. Elevation records for this species are as high as 1,700m.

With morphology which is not suited to climbing, the Malay Weasel is generally rarely seen as it has a tendency to be a ground-living species, with a habit of foraging in undergrowth and largely avoiding open trails.

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MALAY WEASELS ARE SOMETIMES KILLED BY HUMANS FOR MEDICAL USE, THEIR FUR, OR AS TROPHIES

The Malay Weasel also tends to be terrestrial and mainly diurnal. However, some nocturnal activity has been noted by some observers.

Very little is known about this animal’s feeding habits, but it has been assumed that this species is a skillful hunter, capable of hunting down fast-moving prey including small rodents, lizards and insects. It may also feed on prey such as birds and reptiles.

It has been noted that its elongate body shape also allows it to descend into the burrows of ground-dwelling prey.

Sightings of the Malay Weasel have typically been of lone individuals, so little is known about its mating and breeding habits. However, it is worth noting that a litter of up to four young weasels has been recorded.

Despite its elusiveness, the Malay Weasel holds a Least Concern (LC) conservation status issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning that it is an abundant species with very little risk of extinction.

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