Countryfile Magazine - - Stoats And Weasels -

There is a say­ing that “a weasel is weasel-ey recog­nised and a stoat is stoat-ally dif­fer­ent”, but it only serves to con­firm how dif­fi­cult it is to tell the two species apart.

These lit­tle brown mustelids are both fast and fe­ro­cious, with sin­u­ous bod­ies and short legs. But there are a few key in­di­ca­tors to look for if you see a minis­cule, slim brown mam­mal slip through the un­der­growth at speed...

Black tip to the tail Stoat’s tails have a bristly black tip, whereas the weasel’s tail is much shorter and light brown all the way to its tip.

Size mat­ters Stoats are al­ways big­ger than weasels. In sim­ple terms, think of a weasel as a long sausage, whereas a stoat is more like a cu­cum­ber. There is quite a dif­fer­ence be­tween the males and fe­males of each species. A fe­male weasel is tiny, weigh­ing just 65g, while a male stoat is just over five and a half times heav­ier at 360g.

White in win­ter Stoats have the abil­ity to turn white in win­ter, un­like weasels. How­ever, not all stoats turn white, as it’s down to ge­net­ics. So just be­cause it is win­ter, don’t dis­miss a brown furred stoat as a weasel.

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