12 facts about weasels

  1. Weasels are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family.
  2. Although weasels are predators, certain varieties of badgers, foxes and birds of prey are regarded as their sworn enemies.
  3. Weasels vary in length from 12 to 45 centimetres (5 to 18 in), and usually have a red or brown upper coat and a white belly; some populations of some species moult to a wholly white coat in winter.
  4. A great defense mechanism found in weasels is that they can change their coat color, particularly with a change in season. As soon as winter approaches, their brownish summer coat often turns into a fade-white shade.
  5. Their tails may be from 22 to 33 centimetres (9 to 13 in) long. As is typical of small carnivores, weasels have a reputation for cleverness and guile.
  6. Ferrets and minks are close relatives of weasels.
  7. Weasels occur all across the world except for Antarctica, Australia, and neighbouring islands.
  8. Weasels are poisonous and in case they bite you, it becomes vital to take an antidote within 24 hours; else, the consequences might be fatal. The antidote for treating weasel bites is secreted only by monkeys.
  9. The English word "weasel" was originally applied to one species of the genus, the European form of the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis).
  10. To stabilize and maintain the number of weasels worldwide, restrictions have been imposed on the trading of their fur.
  11. Since ancient times, the fur of weasels has been used for making parkas and other winter jackets. In fact, in western societies, the use of this fur was considered to be a badge of royalty.
  12. A major difference between stoats and weasels is that unlike stoats, the latter do not possess a black-tipped tail.