Weasels (play /ˈwzəl/) are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs.

Weasels vary in length from 12 to 45 centimetres (5 to 18 in), and usually have a red or brown upper coat and a white belly; some populations of some species moult to a wholly white coat in winter. They have long slender bodies, which enable them to follow their prey into burrows. Their tails may be from 22 to 33 centimetres (9 to 13 in) long. As is typical of small omnivores, weasels have a reputation for cleverness and guile.

Weasels feed on small mammals, and have from time to time been considered vermin since some species took poultry from farms, or rabbits from commercial warrens. Weasels occur all across the world except for Antarctica, Australia, and neighbouring islands.




The English word “weasel” was originally applied to one species of the genus, the European form of the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis). This usage is retained in British English, where the name is also extended to cover several other small species of the genus. It is thought that the name “weasel” comes from the Anglo-Saxon root “weatsop” meaning “a vicious bloodthirsty animal”. However, in technical discourse and in American usage the term “weasel” can refer to any member of the genus, or to the genus as a whole. Of the 17 extant species currently classified in the genus Mustela, ten have “weasel” in their common name. Among those that do not are the stoat or ermine, the polecats, the ferret, and the European Mink (the superficially similar American Mink is now regarded as belonging in another genus, Neovison).

Collective nouns for a group of weasels include boogle, gang, pack, sneak and confusion.[1][2][3




The following information is according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Mustela africana Desmarest, 1800 Tropical weasel South America
Mustela altaica Pallas, 1811 Mountain weasel Europe & Northern Asia
Southern Asia
Mustela erminea Linnaeus, 1758 Stoat
Short-tailed weasel
Europe & Northern Asia
North America
Southern Asia (non-native)
New Zealand (non-native)
Mustela eversmannii Lesson, 1827 Steppe polecat Europe & Northern Asia
Southern Asia
Mustela felipei Izor and de la Torre, 1978 Colombian weasel South America
Mustela frenata Lichtenstein, 1831 Long-tailed weasel Middle America
North America
South America
Mustela itatsi Temminck, 1844 Japanese weasel Japan & Sakhalin Is. (Russia)
Mustela kathiah Hodgson, 1835 Yellow-bellied weasel Southern Asia
Mustela lutreola (Linnaeus, 1761) European mink Europe & Northern Asia
Mustela lutreolina Robinson and Thomas, 1917 Indonesian mountain weasel Southern Asia
Mustela nigripes (Audubon and Bachman, 1851) Black-footed ferret North America
Mustela nivalis Linnaeus, 1766 Least weasel Europe & Northern Asia
North America
Southern Asia (non-native)
New Zealand (non-native)
Mustela nudipes Desmarest, 1822 Malayan weasel Southern Asia
Mustela putorius Linnaeus, 1758 European Polecat
Domesticated Ferret (ssp. furo)
Europe & Northern Asia
New Zealand (ssp. furo) (non-native)
Mustela sibirica Pallas, 1773 Siberian weasel Europe & Northern Asia
Southern Asia
Mustela strigidorsa Gray, 1855 Back-striped weasel Southern Asia
Mustela subpalmata Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833 Egyptian weasel Egypt

1 Europe & Northern Asia division excludes China.

The extinct “Sea mink” was commonly included in this genus as Mustela macrodon, but in 1999 was moved to the genus Neovison.[


Source : www,wikipedia.org