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Snow-white winter coat is tarnishing stoats' survival chances - DutchNews.nl


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Global warming is threatening the survival of the common stoat – because its winter coat is no longer an advantage in the milder weather.

The Dutch mammal society Zoogdiervereniging has designated 2024 its “year of the stoat” because of concerns that its numbers are in decline because of a combination of urbanisation, pesticides and climate change.

The stoat is unique among creatures in the Netherlands in that it grows a pure white coat in winter to blend into the snowy landscape – in contrast to the rest of the year when its upper body is brown.

But in recent winters so little snow has fallen – none has been recorded in the past months – that a feature that evolved as a type of camouflage now has the opposite effect.

A study by Dutch researchers in northern Sweden, where stoats also change colour in winter, found that white stoats attracted more predators than decoys that mimicked the furry mammals’ summer colouring.


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I heard this on the Dutch news.

But I couldn't find a link in English to what was also said, and not found in the article I linked to:

And that is that kinds of fast micro-evolution have happened in the past and could happen in case of the stoats: at some point in the near future their bodies will stop changing the color of their fur from brown to white in winter.

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