Weasels belong to the group of mammals called mustelids that also include animals like badgers, ferrets, minks, polecats, wolverines, martens, and otters, collectively referred to as the weasel family. While weasels, including the least weasel, polecats, minks, ferrets and stoats are a part of the Mustela genus, the other members belong to separate genera. For instance, the wolverines form a part of the Gulo genus, while the otters come from the Lutra genus.

Scientific Classification


Scientific Classification


These small, predatory creatures found worldwide are active predators, uniquely distinguished by their short legs and long, slender bodies.

While they voraciously feed on rodents, they themselves are regarded as vermin or annoying pests too. since they attack chicken coops and rabbit warrens for food, causing massive damage.

Types of Weasels
Types of Weasels

List of the Common Types of Weasel Species

In British English weasel refers to the least weasel of the Mustela genus, also known by other names like the common weasel, and little weasel. However, as per technical discourse, and even American usage, weasel includes all members of the Mustela genus, or rather the genus in totality.

Here the list of weasels have names of mammals that are a part of the Mustela genus including mink, ferret, polecat, and ermine.

  • Long-Tailed Weasel
  • Short-Tailed Weasel
  • Least Weasel
  • Mountain Weasel
  • Steppe Polecat
  • Haida Ermine
  • Domestic Ferret
  • Colombian Weasel
  • Japanese Weasel
  • Yellow-bellied Weasel
  • European Mink
  • Indonesian Mountain Weasel
  • Black-footed Ferret
  • Amazon Weasel
  • Malayan Weasel
  • European Polecat
  • American Ermine
  • Siberian Weasel
  • Egyptian Weasel
  • Back-striped Weasel
  • Steppe Polecat


Physical Description and Appearance

Size: Length: 6.75 to 8.5 in (173 to 217 mm)

The smallest species of the weasel is the least weasel, which ranges from 4.5 to 10 inches (11 to 26 cm), while larger species include long-tailed weasels or Egyptian weasels ranging from 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm).

Weight: 3 to 12.3 ounces (85 to 350 g)

Body and Coloration: These animals have long and slender bodies with stubby legs. Sexual dimorphism exists, males being larger than their female counterparts. The tails range from 1.25 – 2 inches in length.

Weasels generally are black, brown, or gray with yellowish or white markings. They all become completely white during winter.

Weasel Animal


Weasels are found in most of Asia, everywhere in Europe and North America, South America, and small parts of North Africa.


They live in various natural and urban habitats, including arable lands, coniferous, deciduous, and mixed woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands.

Weasel Habitat

How long do they live

Most weasels live for an average of 3-5 years, though some live close to 10 years. The European polecat can live for 14 years.

What do they eat

As carnivores, their diet primarily consists of rodents like mice and voles. Weasels may also eat birds, their eggs, and young rabbits when these are unavailable. They are also known to raid chicken coops for eggs.

Picture of a Weasel


  • They are primarily nocturnal animals, resting throughout the day, and coming out at night. However, evidence suggest diurnal behavior in weasels during the summer time.
  • Weasels are solitary, only coming in groups when mating and rearing young.
  • These mammals spend most of their waking hours hunting, as they need to eat to maintain their energy reserves constantly.
  • To kill prey, weasels bite down on their necks and apply pressure until death.
  • In order to keep warm, these creatures curl into balls inside their caves and lowering their metabolism.
  • Weasels will bob back and forth as a form of dance meant to intimidate their prey.
  • While they sometimes make their burrows, they can also take over other animals’ burrows or even termite hills.

What eats weasels

Weasels are hunted by birds of prey like owls, eagles, and hawks, foxes, snakes, and domestic pets like cats and dogs.


  • Most weasels can change the color of their fur by molting, allowing them to camouflage themselves better in their surroundings.
  • Their bodies are long and slender in shape, helping them enter their prey’s burrows quickly.

How do they reproduce

They are polygynous, with males mating with multiple females.

Baby Weasel

Life Cycle

After a gestation period that can vary from 35 days to 10 months, due to delayed implantation, a single litter of 3-12 kittens is born. Females single-handedly raise the offspring with no input from the father.

Sexual maturity is reached very quickly, with some like the least weasels capable of reproducing at 3 months.


As per the IUCN, most species of the weasel are “LC” or “Least Concern”.

Weasel Photo

Weasel – FAQs

  • Are weasels rodents?
  • No, weasels aren’t rodents. They are classified as mustelids.

  • Can weasels swim?
  • Yes, they are skilled swimmers from a young age.

    Are weasels dangerous?

    Not particularly, but may bite if cornered.

  • Can weasels climb trees?
  • Weasels are capable of climbing trees.

    Are otters weasels?

    While both otters and weasels are mustelids, they are not the same species. Otters have a build suited for more aquatic environments, while weasels are more terrestrial.

  • What is a group of weasels called?
  • They are often referred to as a boogle, confusion, gang, or pack.

  • Are ferrets and weasels the same?
  • Yes, they belong to the same family, though the ferret appear longer, and larger than weasels.

    Weasel Teeth

    Interesting Facts

    • Weasels have varied cultural interpretations throughout the world. In Japan, they were considered to be yokai, spirits that cause strange occurrences. While in Greece seeing a weasel near someone’s home is considered to be a sign of bad luck, especially if the household has a girl about to be married.