Weasel (Mustela nivalis)

Weasel_c_Darin_SmithWeasel © Darin Smith


The Weasel is the smallest member of the Mustelid family which includes Badgers and Otters. It’s sleek build and short legs enable it to hunt small rodents in their tunnels and burrows. Weasels live for much longer than 2 years, but can raise 2 litters a year, usually 5 or 6 kits per litter.


Their diet consists of voles and mice and sometimes they will eat rabbits and birds.

How to identify/track?

Typically, Weasels are about 20cm long with an extra 4.5cm tail, the Weasel is most likely to be confused with the stoat. Stoats are roughly three times heavier, averaging around 32cm to the end of their relatively longer, black-tipped tails. Weasels have a chestnut-brown back, white-ish belly and a modest brown-furred tail.

Did you know?

  • Weasels perform a dance which is thought to be for scaring their prey.
  • If cornered, Weasels can produce a yellow fluid that smells horrible to ward off predators.
  • The Weasel’s short body allows it to easily hunt its prey although it has to keep hunting in order to have enough energy.

Reserves where they are present

Weasels could show up in any reserve with good areas of connected, unspoilt habitat which provide a healthy population of voles and mice.

Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBadger, Bank VoleBrown HareGrey Squirrel, Hazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseOtterRabbitRed FoxWild Boar

Print out a copy of the Weasel fact sheet

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