[WATCH] Maltese weasel taking home rat in vicious battle is the nature find of the year

Video of a rare sighting of a Maltese weasel attacking a rat on a country road is as brutal as nature can be...

Dinnertime battle royale
Dinnertime battle royale
Weasel versus rat in Maltese countryside goes viral

This video of a Maltese least weasel battling against a sizeable rat somewhere in the Maltese countryside has amused many viewers and readers over the Christmas week.

The weasel can be seen grabbing the helpless rat by its throat with its mouth, before finally managing to scurry away with its prey up a corbelled-stone wall and into the deep countryside.

Rats and mice tend to be among the favourite quarry for the tenacious weasel.

The weasel, known in Maltese as ballottra, is the smallest carnivorous mammal in the world. It has a slender body which enables it to enter burrows and narrow crevices to follow rats, mice and other small animals on which it preys.

The species found in Malta, which is also known as the least weasel, is indigenous throughout Europe and most parts of North Africa, Asia and North America. It is missing from Ireland, Iceland and eastern Canada. It has also been introduced to other parts of the world including New Zealand and Australia.

In the Maltese archipelago it is found only on the island of Malta where it can be found in most rural habitats hunting during the day as well as during the night. Its fur is reddish-brown with a white belly. In northern countries in wintertime may become pure white and is so well camouflaged that it is next to impossible to see it in the snow.

Weasels are solitary animals and are never seen in pairs. Males and females fight even when they have to get together to mate. In Malta the young are born in April and May and when food is plentiful they can raise another brood in July or August.