Ermine and Vole

Part of Hall of North American Mammals.

NAM DFShort Tailed Weasel and Red Backed Vole hero

August Morning, Baxter State Park, Maine

In a heartbeat, this ermine will dart at an oblivious vole and dispatch it with a swift bite to the neck. If the vole were in its hole (foreground), the ermine would slink right in. These small, solitary carnivores can amass dozens of kills for eating later and even prey on rabbits. Ermines operate not out of bloodlust but hunger. Their long, lean, active bodies burn so many calories that they must stay fueled to survive.