Captive husbandry of stoats Mustela erminea.
Captive stoats are essential for testing technological developments for pest control in New Zealand. We have reviewed husbandry practices and experiences of keeping stoats in captivity for a range of purposes. Stoats can be kept individually outside and subjected to normal regimes of light and temperature if sufficient bedding and shelter is provided. They appear to survive and breed best when fed on freshly killed rodents. Live prey is desirable though will rarely be permissible due to regulatory constraints. Breeding in captivity has been problematic in most cases, and although in a few instances wild-caught females carrying embryos in delay have given birth, this is a rare event. Procedures taken to minimise stress in captivity may reduce the loss rate of blastocysts due to resorption and facilitate rapid expansion of captive colonies.