Weasel or Stoat at Ynys Hir?

Back in Early Autumn (late September-early October) we visited Ynys Hir. The staff were so friendly and answered all our questions, but there was one sighting I forgot to mention. We spotted a mammal - a weasel or a stoat - coming along the path towards us. It is always tricky to gauge scale on cloudy days, I find, but this creature was definitely smaller than a cat and I think it was bigger than a rat. It was a warm brown with an off-white undercarriage. 

It was on the track coming from the forest to the wetlands, with the ponies browsing either side of us.

Can someone tell me if they know a quick way to tell the difference between a weasel or stoat, besides the old joke?! 

  • Hi Pippy,     It's difficult to say for certain without a photo but .............. if it's between a Weasel and a Stoat that you saw I would suggest by your description that it was a Weasel as they are smaller than a Stoat and I have seen reports of Weasels on that reserve before.      A quick way to differentiate between a Stoat and Weasel is that a Stoat has a black tip to the end of its tail.   There are also other differences but I'm not an expert -  so maybe take a look HERE  to see if this helps you Pippy.     


    Regards, Hazel 

    My Flickr. photo  link HERE 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    As Hazy suggests, the tail's normally a good indicator. I've also heard the weasel described as a frankfurter with legs,  which can be a surprisingly useful benchmark too :-)


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  • In reply to HAZY:

    Thank you for the link, Hazy. I didn’t realise how many mustelids we had in this country - that was very interesting! I think it was a large stoat.

  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    oh, that is funny! I shall try to remember weasels are frankfurters with legs. 

  • Not heard the frankfurter one. It is not always easy to spot size or the colour of the tip of a tail so behaviour can sometimes help as well. Weasels tend to run or scurry, whereas Stoats often bound around with an arcing back. Behaviour is not quite as definitive as a characteristic but it's surprising of how often it is useful.


    Nige   Flickr