Pop goes the mustelid!

My teen daughter took this pic at RSPB Saltholme today (which unbiased dad thinks is a cracker) -- is there ANY way of telling whether it is a stoat or a weasel, without seeing the tail? Thanks, even if the answer is "no"!


  • It certainly is a cracker. Alan sees these quite a bit & may be able to help. The stoat is a lot bigger than the weasel, if thats any help. maybe the staff on the reserve would know?

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • Thanks, will ask the  staff! In the meantime, this isn't as good a picture but might help with ID?

  • A lovely picture that your daughter took Marc, I have no idea if it is a stoat or weasel, hopefully someone can help.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Without seeing the tail it can be difficult to tell from photos - too difficult for me, anyway. Other indicators that your daughter might have noticed are
    - size, as a stoat is like a long rat and a weasel is more like a long mouse, but that is also very difficult to tell from photos.
    - behaviour, a stoat tends to bound along whereas a weasel runs flat
    - stoats tend to live near rabbits but weasels look for mice and voles, so if there are no rabbits locally, it's probably a weasel.
    Nothing conclusive I know, but sometimes these things help. Even if you don't find an answer, it was still a lovely spot and great to get photos


    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Thanks for that! It was certainly small, but fairly hard to judge. Perhaps more stoat sized than weasel, especially as it did jump a lot -- it was play-fighting with a ?sibling? but we couldn't get a clear view due to the undergrowth. I think we'll stick with birds in the future!