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 Home>>British Animals>>Stoat Or Weasel?

Telling the difference between a stoat and a weasel  

Aside from a very bad joke on the subject, telling the difference between a stoat(Mustela erminea) and a weasel(Mustela nivalis) is very difficult at a glance, which is what most of us get of these little carnivorous mammals.

Both have a very similar diet and enjoy similar habitats and range around Britain, yet they tend to stay out of each others way if possible. Male and Female stoats and weasels are referred to as a dog and a bitch respectively. The young are called kittens or kits.

Here are a few facts about each:

 
 
Weasel
Stoat
Size
15-25cm
15-30cm
Weight
50-120g
100-450g
Colour
Light brown with pale underside
Light brown with pale underside, black tip on tail
UK Distribution
All over the UK
All over the UK
Further Distribution
Most of Europe, parts of Asia, North Africa and North America
Much of Northern Europe, not in the Southern Regions
Prey
Voles, mice, small rabbits, eggs, birds
Voles, Mice, Rabbits, Hares, Birds, Eggs, Chickens etc..
Life Span
3 Years
10 Years
Seasonal Variation
None
Often turn completely white in winter.
Hibernates
No
No


Weasel in the grass courtesy of
psiloswildlifephotography.co.uk