Stoat (Mustela erminea)

Stoat © Darin Smith


The Stoat is a small predator ranging in size between 18cm and 32cm in height and can weigh up to 200g. Typically, stoats will live between 4-5 years although there are some cases of individuals living much longer. Stoats are generally solitary animals and not territorial although this behaviour changes during the breeding season when the females become very protective of their young. Stoats are both nocturnal and diurnal.


Stoats are generally carnivorous with their preferred prey species being rabbit even though they are much smaller in size. There have been some records of Stoats eating fruit although this has only been seen in captivity.

How to identify/track?

The stoat has a sandy brown colour on top with a cream coloured belly. The stoat has the characteristic black tip on its tail. During the winter months, they can turn pure white except for their tail which is called ermine.

Did you know?

  • They move in a series of jumps with its back raised in an arch.
  • Stoats mate in summer but delay being fertilised until the following spring.
  • The fur of stoats has historically been used by humans for winter clothing.

Reserves where they are present

Stoats can be found throughout the county especially reserves with plenty of cover and a healthy rabbit population.

Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBadgerBank VoleBrown HareGrey SquirrelHazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseOtterRabbitRed FoxWeaselWild Boar

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