Photo of a weasel.

Types of weasels

Members of the weasel family.

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Photo of a badger
Photo by Reg Mckenna
Scientific name: meles meles (European badger)

Badgers are related to weasels, otters, wolverines and ferrets. They eat small animals and sometimes insects. Badgers come from Europe. They are excellent diggers, and make themselves burrows called setts.
A male badger is a boar, a female badger is a sow and a baby badger is a cub. The collective name for a group of badgers is a cete.

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Photo of pet ferrets.
Photo by tribbles1971
Scientific name: mustela putorius furo

Ferrets are domestic animals, usually kept as pets. They are related to the polecat and weasel. Ferrets eat small pest animals like rats and rabbits.

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Photo of a meerkat
Photo by David Blaikie
Scientific name: suricata suricatta

Meerkats are members of the mongoose family that is native to parts of Africa. They live in large groups, with 20 to 30 members in a group. They live in burrows underground. Meerkats eat mostly insects but will also eat anything else small they can catch. They are immune to scorpion venom.
When meerkats are out looking for food during the day, some members of their group will stand guard and tell the group of they see any predators coming.

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Photo of an American mink
Photo by Brendan Lally
Scientific name: neovison vison (American mink) and mustela lutreola (European Mink)

Mink are a small, dark brown member of the weasel family. Their coat is thick and glossy and has been used for making fur coats from. Mink like to live around water, and eat fish, crayfish, rabbits and water birds.

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Photo of an otter.
Photo by Keven Law
Scientific name: lutra lutra (Eurasian otter)

Otters are a medium sized animal that spends most of its time in the water. Otters are excellent swimmers, and they eat mostly fish but will also eat small animals and birds if they catch them.
Otters are related to weasels and badgers.

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Scientific name: mustela putorius

A polecat, also called a fitch or foulmart, is a member of the weasel family. They are larger than weasels but smaller than otters, and are found mostly in Europe.
Polecats sleep during the day and hunt at night. Polecats eat small animals like mice, voles and frogs.

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Sables are medium sized animals that are bred and hunted for their fur. They eat berries, small animals, fruit and eggs. They are found in northern Europe.

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Scientific name: family mephitidae

Skunks are medium sized animals best known for their ability to make a really bad smell. They can squirt their stinky substance several feet with great accuracy. The smell is bad enough to scare even a bear away, and a person can smell it from a mile away. The smell is almost impossible to wash out of anything it has touched.
Skunks sleep during the day and night and come out at dawn and dusk to look for food. Skunks eat insects, mice, small lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, moles, and eggs. They also eat berries, roots, leaves, grasses, mushrooms, and nuts.
There is some debate about whether skunks are related to weasels or if they are alone in their own family.

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Photo of a stoat, or ermine
Photo by Keven Law
Scientific name: mustela erminea

A stoat, also called an ermine, is a kind of small weasel. Its coat changes from brown in summer to white in winter in cold areas. Sometimes only a white stoat is called an ermine. Stoats, like other weasels, are quick hunters and eat small animals and insects.

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Photo of a weasel
Photo by Keven Law
Scientific name: genus mustela

A weasel is a small animal related to the ferret and otter, and are found mainly in Europe. Weasels eat smaller animals like mice, rats and sometimes rabbits. They sometimes will eat chickens. Weasels are long and thin so they can go down small holes and eat animals that live underground.

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