Stoats and Weasels are both related to the badger.
Weasels are quite a lot smaller than a
The weasel (Mustela nivalis) is the smallest member of the
Mustelidae (as well as the smallest of the Carnivora), native to
Eurasia, North America and North Africa. Despite its small size,
the least weasel is a fierce hunter, capable of killing a rabbit
5-10 times its own weight.
The weasel has a thin, greatly
elongated and extremely flexible body with a small, yet elongated,
blunt-muzzled head which is no thicker than the neck. The eyes are
large, bulging and dark coloured. The legs and tail are relatively
short, the latter constituting less than half its body length. The feet
are armed with sharp, dark claws, and the soles are heavily haired. The
skull is, overall, similar to that of the
Stoat, but smaller, though the
skulls of large male weasels tend to overlap in size with those of small
female Stoats. The weasel has scent
glands under the tail, which it uses to produce a musky smell. The smell
and chemical composition of these chemicals are distinct from those of
the Stoat. The weasel moves by
jumping, the distance between the tracks of the fore and hind limbs
being 18–35 cm.
Average body length in males is 130–260 mm, while females average
115–205 mm. The tail measures 12–90 mm in males and 17–60 mm in females.
Males weigh 36-250 grams, while females weigh 30-117 grams.
The winter fur is dense, but short and closely fitting. In northern
subspecies, the fur is soft and silky. The summer fur is very short,
sparser and rougher. The upper parts in the summer fur are dark, but
vary geographically from dark-tawny or dark-chocolate to light pale
tawny or sandy. The lower parts, including the lower jaw and inner sides
of the legs, are white. The dividing line between the dark upper and
light lower parts is straight, but sometimes forms an irregular line.