Weasels have long slender bodies and short legs. They have a long neck and tiny ears.
In Greek culture, a weasel near one’s house is a sign of bad luck, even evil, “especially if there is in the
household a girl about to be married”, since the animal (based on its Greek etymology) was thought to be an unhappy bride who was transformed into a weasel and consequently delights in destroying wedding dresses. In neighboring Macedonia, however, weasels are generally seen as an omen of good fortune.
Weasels can spray a horrible smelling fluid that stinks as bad as a skunk spray. Their spray is thick, yellow, and oily.
In Japan, weasels were seen as yōkai(ghost, phantom), from time immemorial, and they cause various strange occurrences.
Weasels will sometimes do a crazy dance that researchers believe may hypnotize its prey so that it is temporarily off guard.
In the Native American tradition, the weasel has the medicine for seeking out secrets. Trust your own senses in regard to other people, and you will come out all right, even if it means going alone. This is part of what weasel teaches.
Weasels can be found in Britain, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, North America, Asia, and New Zealand.
The English word “weasel” was originally applied to one species of the genus, the European form of the least weasel. This usage is retained in British English, where the name is also extended to cover several other small species of the genus.
Weasels live in sand dunes, lowland forests, grassy regions, in small towns, and in other regions provided there is food.
Much like their skunk relatives, weasels release foul-smelling substance from their anal glands as a defense mechanism, and perhaps even to mark their territory.
Weasels tend to make their homes in tree stumps or holes and create nests of leaves and grass.
A group of weasels can be called a boogle, gang, pack, and confusion.
Weasels eat a variety of other animals including rabbits, mice, voles, birds, frogs, and rats. They will also raid birds' nests and eat both the young and the eggs.
Weasels often kill more prey than they can eat, storing the overkill for later consumption.
Weasels have been known to land on the back of a bird and go for a quick flight before killing the bird as prey.
Male weasels mate with multiple females and do not provide parental care. Most species have a single litter per year. Litter size varies from 3 to 8 kittens. The young are born after a gestation period of anywhere from 35 days to more than 10 months, the latter because of delayed implantation of the fertilized egg.
Weasels kill their prey by biting the back of its neck.
They’re skilled climbers, swimmers and runners.
Weasels have been known to travel as far as 2.5 km to hunt for food.
Depending on the climate and season, they may display nocturnal or diurnal behavior.
When weasels breed each year, between April and August, they produce litters of four to six babies.
Weasels have brown to yellow-brown fur with paler fur on the belly. The tip of the tail is often black. Many weasels grow white fur in the winter, but the tip of the tail remains black.
Weasel babies are able to hunt and kill for their food when they reach between five and eight weeks of age.
Weasels have a lifespan of up to 2 – 3 years in the wild, up to 10 years in captivity.
Weasels in captivity can live as long as ten years but in the wild they tend to only live to be three years or so.
There are 10 species of weasel.
Threats to the weasel include habitat loss, hunting, being hit by vehicles, and being poisoned. They are considered vermin by farmers because they prey on chickens and game birds, as well as their eggs.
While most predators are too large to enter the dens where their prey live, the weasel, with its long body can enter its prey's burrow and kill it. Weasels will often take over the dwelling after killing its owner.
Animals and other predators that hunt and kill weasels include cats, dogs, snakes, and owls.
Weasels have been known to attack a human if it becomes scared or threatened.
Weasels eat mice, which often carry diseases, so they can be helpful to farmers. When they eat the chickens and eggs however the farmers are not happy.
The weasel and stoat are almost identical but the stoat has a black-tipped tail.