The Info List - Stoat

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     native      introduced

The stoat (Mustela erminea), also known as the short-tailed weasel or simply the weasel in Ireland
where the least weasel does not occur, is a mammal of the genus Mustela of the family Mustelidae
native to Eurasia
and North America, distinguished from the least weasel by its larger size and longer tail with a prominent black tip. Originally from Eurasia, it crossed into North America
North America
some 500,000 years ago, where it naturalized and joined the notably larger, closely related native long-tailed weasel. The name "ermine" is used for any species in the genus Mustela, especially the stoat, in its pure white winter coat, or the fur thereof.[2] In the late 19th century, stoats were introduced into New Zealand to control rabbits, where they have had a devastating effect on native bird populations. The stoat is classed by the IUCN as least concern, due to its wide circumpolar distribution, and because it does not face any significant threat to its survival.[1] It was nominated as one of the world's top 100 "worst invaders".[3] Ermine luxury fur was used in the 15th century by Catholic monarchs, who sometimes used it as the mozzetta cape. It was also used in capes on images such as the Infant Jesus of Prague.


1 Etymology 2 Evolution 3 Subspecies 4 Physical description

4.1 Build 4.2 Fur

5 Behaviour

5.1 Reproduction and development 5.2 Territorial and sheltering behaviours 5.3 Diet

6 Communication 7 Range and population 8 Introduction to New Zealand 9 Diseases and parasites 10 Relationships with humans

10.1 Folklore and mythology 10.2 Fur use

11 References

11.1 Bibliography

12 Further reading 13 External links

Etymology[edit] The root word for "stoat" is likely either the Dutch word stout ("naughty")[4] or the Gothic word stautan ("to push").[5] According to John Guillim, in his Display of Heraldrie, the word "ermine" is likely derived from Armenia, the nation where it was thought the species originated,[4] though other authors have linked it to the Norman French from the Teutonic harmin (Anglo-Saxon hearma). This seems to come from the Lithuanian word šarmu.[5] In Ireland
(where the least weasel does not occur), the stoat is referred to as a weasel, while in North America
North America
it is called a short-tailed weasel. A male stoat is called a dog, hob or jack, while a female is called a bitch or jill. The collective noun for stoats is either gang or pack.[6] Evolution[edit]

Skulls of a long-tailed weasel (top), a stoat (bottom left) and least weasel (bottom right), as illustrated in Merriam's Synopsis of the Weasels of North America

The stoat's direct ancestor was Mustela palerminea, a common carnivore in central and eastern Europe
during the Middle Pleistocene,[7] that spread to North America
North America
during the late Blancan or early Irvingtonian.[8] The stoat is the product of a process begun 5–7 million years ago, when northern forests were replaced by open grassland, thus prompting an explosive evolution of small, burrowing rodents. The stoat's ancestors were larger than the current form, and underwent a reduction in size as they exploited the new food source. The stoat first arose in Eurasia, shortly after the long-tailed weasel arose as its mirror image in North America
North America
2 million years ago. The stoat thrived during the Ice Age, as its small size and long body allowed it to easily operate beneath snow, as well as hunt in burrows. The stoat and the long-tailed weasel remained separated until 500,000 years ago, when falling sea levels exposed the Bering land bridge.[9] Combined phylogenetic analyses indicate the stoat's closest living relative is the mountain weasel (Mustela altaica), though it is also closely related to the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) and long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata). Its next closest relatives are the New World Colombian weasel
Colombian weasel
(Mustela felipei) and the Amazon weasel
Amazon weasel
(Mustela africana).[10] Subspecies[edit] As of 2005[update],[11] 37 subspecies are recognized.

Subspecies Trinomial authority Description Range Synonyms

Northern stoat M. e. erminea (Nominate subspecies)

Linnaeus, 1758 A small-to-subspecies, with a relatively short and broad facial region[12] Kola Peninsula, Scandinavia hyberna (Kerr, 1792) maculata (Billberg, 1827)

Middle Russian stoat M. e. aestiva

Kerr, 1792 A moderately sized subspecies with dark, tawny or chestnut summer fur[12] European Russia
European Russia
(except for the Kola Peninsula), Central and Western Europe algiricus (Thomas, 1895) alpestris (Burg, 1920) giganteus (Burg, 1920) major (Nilsson, 1820)

Junean stoat M. e. alascensis Merriam, 1896 Similar to M. e. richardsonii, but with a broader skull and more extensive white tips on the limbs[13] Juneau, Alaska

Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
stoat M. e. anguinae Hall, 1932

Vancouver Island

Tundra stoat M. e. arctica

Merriam, 1826 A large subspecies, with a dark-yellowish brown summer coat, a deep yellow underbelly and a massive skull, it resembles Eurasian stoat subspecies more closely than any other American subspecies.[14] Alaska, northwestern Canada, Arctic archipelago
Arctic archipelago
except Baffin Island audax (Barrett-Hamilton, 1904) kadiacensis (Merriam, 1896) kadiacensis (Osgood, 1901) richardsonii (Bonaparte, 1838)

M. e. augustidens Brown, 1908

Western Great Lakes
Great Lakes
stoat M. e. bangsi Hall, 1945

Region west of the Great Lakes cicognani (Mearns, 1891) pusillus (Aughey, 1880)

Mustela e. celenda Hall, 1944

Bonaparte's stoat M. e. cigognanii

Bonaparte, 1838 A small subspecies, with a dark brown summer coat, its skull is more lightly built than that of richardsonii.[15] Region north and east of the Great Lakes pusilla (DeKay, 1842) vulgaris (Griffith, 1827)

M. e. fallenda Hall, 1945

Fergana stoat M. e. ferghanae Thomas, 1895 A small subspecies, it has a very light, straw-brownish or greyish coat, which is short and soft. Light spots, sometimes forming a collar, are present on the neck. It does not turn white in winter.[16] Montane Tien Shan
Tien Shan
and Pamir-Alaisk system, Afghanistan, India, western Tibet
and adjacent parts of Tien Shan
Tien Shan
China shnitnikovi (Ognev, 1935) whiteheadi (Wroughton, 1908)

Mustela e. gulosa Hall, 1945

Queen Charlotte Islands
Queen Charlotte Islands
stoat M. e. haidarum Preble, 1898

Queen Charlotte Islands

Irish stoat M. e. hibernica

Thomas and Barrett-Hamilton, 1895 Larger than aestiva, but smaller than stabilis, it is distinguished by the irregular pattern on the dividing line between dark and pale fur on the flanks, though 13.5% of Irish stoats exhibit the more typical straight dividing line.[17] Ireland, Isle of Man

M. e. initis Hall, 1945

M. e. invicta Hall, 1945

Kodiak stoat M. e. kadiacensis Merriam, 1896

Kodiak Island

East Siberian stoat M. e. kaneii Baird, 1857 A moderately sized subspecies, it is smaller than M. e. tobolica, with close similarities to M. e. arctica. The colour of the summer coat is relatively light, with varying intensities of browning-yellow tinges.[18] Eastern Siberia
and the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
including Kamchatka, except the Amur Oblast
Amur Oblast
and Ussuriland, Transbaikalia
and Sayan baturini (Ognev, 1929) digna (Hall, 1944) kamtschatica (Dybowski, 1922) kanei (G. Allen, 1914) naumovi (Jurgenson, 1938) orientalis (Ognev, 1928) transbaikalica (Ognev, 1928)

Karaginsky stoat M. e. karaginensis Jurgenson, 1936 A very small subspecies with a light chestnut coloured summer coat[19] Karaginsky Island
Karaginsky Island
along the eastern coast of Kamchatka

Altai stoat Mustela e. lymani Hollister, 1912 A moderately sized subspecies with less dense fur than M. e. tobolica, the colour of its summer coat consists of weakly developed reddish-brown tones. The skull is similar to that of M. e. aestiva.[18] Mountains of southern Siberia
eastwards to Baikal and contiguous parts of Mongolia

M. e. martinoi Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951

birulai (Martino and Martino, 1930)

Swiss stoat M. e. minima Cavazza, 1912


Gobi stoat M. e. mongolica

Ognev, 1928

Govi-Altai Province

Southwestern stoat M. e. muricus Bangs, 1899

Southwestern extremity of the species' American range (Nevada, Utah, Colorado
and other states) leptus (Merriam, 1903)

Japanese stoat M. e. nippon

Cabrera, 1913


M. e. ognevi

Jurgenson, 1932

Olympic stoat M. e. olympica

Hall, 1945

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Polar stoat M. e. polaris Barrett-Hamilton, 1904


Richardson's stoat M. e. richardsonii Bonaparte, 1838 Similar to M. e. cigognanii, but larger, with a dull chocolate brown summer coat[15] Newfoundland, Labrador
and nearly all of Canada
save for the territories of other stoat subspecies imperii (Barrett-Hamilton, 1904) microtis (J. A. Allen, 1903) mortigena (Bangs, 1913)

stoat M. e. ricinae Miller, 1907


M. e. salva Hall, 1944

M. e. seclusa Hall, 1944

Baffin Island
Baffin Island
stoat M. e. semplei

Sutton and Hamilton, 1932

Baffin Island
Baffin Island
and adjacent parts of the mainland labiata (Degerbøl, 1935)

British stoat M. e. stabilis

Barrett-Hamilton, 1904 Larger than mainland European stoats[17] Great Britain, introduced to New Zealand

M. e. stratori Merriam, 1896

Caucasian stoat M. e. teberdina Korneev, 1941 A small subspecies with coffee to reddish tawny summer coat[12] Northern slope of the middle part of the main Caucasus
range balkarica (Basiev, 1962)

Tobolsk stoat M. e. tobolica Ognev, 1923 A large subspecies, it is somewhat larger than aestiva, with long and dense fur.[20] Western Siberia, eastwards to the Yenisei
and Altai and in Kazakhstan

Physical description[edit] Build[edit]

(left) and least weasel (right) pelts—note the stoat's larger size and black tail-tip


The stoat is entirely similar to the least weasel in general proportions, manner of posture, and movement, though the tail is relatively longer, always exceeding a third of the body length,[21] though it is shorter than that of the long-tailed weasel. The stoat has an elongated neck, the head being set exceptionally far in front of the shoulders. The trunk is nearly cylindrical, and does not bulge at the abdomen. The greatest circumference of body is little more than half its length.[22] The skull, although very similar to that of the least weasel, is relatively longer, with a narrower braincase. The projections of the skull and teeth are weakly developed, but stronger than those of the least weasel.[23] The eyes are round, black and protrude slightly. The whiskers are brown or white in colour, and very long. The ears are short, rounded and lie almost flattened against the skull. The claws are not retractable, and are large in proportion to the digits. Each foot has five toes. The male stoat has a curved baculum with a proximal knob that increases in weight as it ages.[24] Fat
is deposited primarily along the spine and kidneys, then on gut mesenteries, under the limbs and around the shoulders. The stoat has four pairs of nipples, though they are visible only in females.[24] The dimensions of the stoat are variable, but not as significantly as the least weasel's.[25] Unusual among the Carnivora, the size of stoats tends to decrease proportionally with latitude, in contradiction to Bergmann's rule.[7] Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism
in size is pronounced, with males being roughly 25% larger than females and 1.5-2.0 times their weight.[17] On average, males measure 187–325 mm (7.4–12.8 in) in body length, while females measure 170–270 mm (6.7–10.6 in). The tail measures 75–120 mm (3.0–4.7 in) in males and 65–106 mm (2.6–4.2 in) in females. In males, the hind foot measures 40.0–48.2 mm (1.57–1.90 in), while in females it is 37.0–47.6 mm (1.46–1.87 in). The height of the ear measures 18.0–23.2 mm (0.71–0.91 in) in males and 14.0–23.3 mm (0.55–0.92 in). The skulls of males measure 39.3–52.2 mm (1.55–2.06 in) in length, while those of females measure 35.7–45.8 mm (1.41–1.80 in). Males weigh 258 grams (9.1 oz), while females weigh less than 180 grams (6.3 oz).[25] The stoat has large anal scent glands measuring 8.5 mm × 5 mm (0.33 in × 0.20 in) in males and smaller in females. Scent glands are also present on the cheeks, belly and flanks.[24] Epidermal secretions, which are deposited during body rubbing, are chemically distinct from the products of the anal scent glands, which contain a higher proportion of volatile chemicals. When attacked or being aggressive, the stoat secretes the contents of its anal glands, giving rise to a strong, musky odour produced by several sulphuric compounds. The odour is distinct from that of least weasels.[26] Fur[edit]

A stoat in winter fur

The winter fur is very dense and silky, but quite closely lying and short, while the summer fur is rougher, shorter and sparse.[21] In summer, the fur is sandy-brown on the back and head and a white below. The division between the dark back and the light belly is usually straight, though this trait is only present in 13.5% of Irish stoats. The stoat moults twice a year. In spring, the moult is slow, starting from the forehead, across the back, toward the belly. In autumn, the moult is quicker, progressing in the reverse direction. The moult, initiated by photoperiod, starts earlier in autumn and later in spring at higher latitudes. In the stoat's northern range, it adopts a completely white coat (save for the black tail-tip) during the winter period.[24] Differences in the winter and summer coats are less apparent in southern forms of the species.[27] In the species' southern range, the coat remains brown, but is denser and sometimes paler than in summer.[24] Behaviour[edit] Reproduction and development[edit]

Young stoat

In the Northern Hemisphere, mating occurs in the April–July period. In spring, the male's testes are enlarged, a process accompanied by an increase of testosterone concentration in the plasma. Spermatogenesis occurs in December, and the males are fertile from May to August, after which the testes regress. Stoats are not monogamous, with litters often being of mixed paternity. The gestation period lasts circa 280 days. Males play no part in rearing the young, which are born blind, deaf, toothless and covered in fine white or pinkish down. The milk teeth erupt after three weeks, and solid food is eaten after four weeks. The eyes open after five to six weeks, with the black tail-tip appearing a week later. Lactation
ends after 12 weeks. Prior to the age of five to seven weeks, kits have poor thermoregulation, so they huddle for warmth when the mother is absent. Males become sexually mature at 10–11 months, while females are sexually mature at the age of 2–3 weeks whilst still blind, deaf and hairless, and are usually mated with adult males before being weaned.[28] Territorial and sheltering behaviours[edit] Stoat
territoriality has a generally mustelid spacing pattern, with male territories encompassing smaller female territories, which they defend from other males. The size of the territory and the ranging behaviour of its occupants varies seasonally, depending on the abundance of food and mates. During the breeding season, the ranges of females remain unchanged, while males either become roamers, strayers or transients. Dominant older males have territories 50 times larger than those of younger, socially inferior males. Both sexes mark their territories with urine, faeces and two types of scent marks; anal drags are meant to convey territorial occupancy, and body rubbing is associated with agonistic encounters.[26] The stoat does not dig its own burrows, instead using the burrows and nest chambers of the rodents it kills. The skins and underfur of rodent prey are used to line the nest chamber. The nest chamber is sometimes located in seemingly unsuitable places, such as among logs piled against the walls of houses. The stoat also inhabits old and rotting stumps, under tree roots, in heaps of brushwood, haystacks, in bog hummocks, in the cracks of vacant mud buildings, in rock piles, rock clefts, and even in magpie nests. Males and females typically live apart, but close to each other.[29] Each stoat has several dens dispersed within its range. A single den has several galleries, mainly within 30 cm (12 in) of the surface.[30] Diet[edit]

killing a European rabbit

surplus killing a family of chipmunks, as illustrated by Ernest Thompson Seton

As with the least weasel, mouse-like rodents predominate in the stoat's diet. However, unlike the least weasel, which almost exclusively feeds on small voles, the stoat regularly preys on larger rodent and lagomorph species, and will take down individuals far larger than itself. In Russia, its prey includes rodents and lagomorphs such as European water voles, common hamsters, pikas, and others, which it overpowers in their burrows. Prey species of secondary importance include small birds, fish, and shrews and, more rarely, amphibians, lizards, and insects.[31] In Great Britain, European rabbits are an important food source, with the frequency in which stoats prey on them having increased between the 1960s and mid 1990s since the end of the myxomatosis epidemic. Typically, male stoats prey on rabbits more frequently than females do, which depend to a greater extent on smaller rodent species. British stoats rarely kill shrews, rats, squirrels and water voles, though rats may be an important food source locally. In Ireland, shrews and rats are frequently eaten. In mainland Europe, water voles make up a large portion of the stoat's diet. Hares are sometimes taken, but are usually young specimens.[32] In North America, where the ecological niche for rat and rabbit sized prey is taken by the larger long-tailed weasel, the stoat preys on mice, voles, shrews, and young cottontails.[33] In New Zealand, the stoat feeds principally on birds, including the rare kiwi, kaka, mohua, yellow-crowned parakeet, and New Zealand dotterel.[32] Cases are known of stoats preying on young muskrats. The stoat typically eats about 50 grams (1.8 oz) of food a day, which is equivalent to 25% of the animal's live weight.[34] The stoat is an opportunistic predator, which moves rapidly and checks every available burrow or crevice for food. Because of their larger size, male stoats are less successful than females in pursuing rodents far into tunnels. Stoats regularly climb trees to gain access to birds' nests, and are common raiders of nest boxes, particularly those of large species. The stoat reputedly mesmerises prey such as rabbits by a "dance" (sometimes called the weasel war dance), though this behaviour could be linked to Skrjabingylus infections.[32] The stoat seeks to immobilize large prey such as rabbits with a bite to the spine at the back of the neck. The stoat may surplus kill when the opportunity arises, though excess prey is usually cached and eaten later to avoid obesity, as overweight stoats tend to be at a disadvantage when pursuing prey into their burrows.[33] Small prey typically die instantly from a bite to the back of the neck, while larger prey, such as rabbits, typically die of shock, as the stoat's canine teeth are too short to reach the spinal column or major arteries.[32] Communication[edit] The stoat is a usually silent animal, but can produce a range of sounds similar to those of the least weasel. Kits produce a fine chirping noise. Adults trill excitedly before mating, and indicate submission through quiet trilling, whining and squealing. When nervous, the stoat hisses, and will intersperse this with sharp barks or shrieks and prolonged screeching when aggressive.[26] Aggressive behaviour in stoats is categorised in these forms:[26]

Noncontact approach, which is sometimes accompanied by a threat display and vocalisation from the approached animal Forward thrust, accompanied by a sharp shriek, which is usually done by stoats defending a nest or retreat site Nest occupation, when a stoat appropriates the nesting site of a weaker individual Kleptoparasitism, in which a dominant stoat appropriates the kill of a weaker one, usually after a fight

Submissive stoats express their status by avoiding higher-ranking animals, fleeing from them or making whining or squealing sounds.[26] Range and population[edit] The stoat has a circumboreal range throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, from Greenland
and the Canadian and Siberian Arctic islands south to about 35°N. Stoats in North America
North America
are found throughout Alaska
and Canada
south through most of the northern United States
United States
to central California, northern Arizona, northern New Mexico, Iowa, the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
region, New England, and Pennsylvania, but are absent from most of the Great Plains, and the Southeastern United States. The stoat in Europe
is found as far south as 41ºN in Portugal, and inhabits most islands with the exception of Iceland, Svalbard, the Mediterranean
islands and some small North Atlantic
North Atlantic
islands. In Japan, it is present in central mountains (northern and central Japan
Alps) to northern part of Honshu
(primarily above 1,200 m) and Hokkaido. Its vertical range is from sea level to 3,000 m.[1] Introduction to New Zealand[edit] Main article: Stoats in New Zealand Stoats were introduced into New Zealand
New Zealand
during the late 19th century to control rabbits and hares, but are now a major threat to native bird populations. The introduction of stoats was opposed by scientists in New Zealand
New Zealand
and Britain, including the New Zealand
New Zealand
ornithologist Walter Buller. The warnings were ignored and stoats began to be introduced from Britain in the 1880s, resulting in a noticeable decline in bird populations within six years.[35] Stoats are a serious threat to ground- and hole-nesting birds, since the latter have very few means of escaping predation. The highest rates of stoat predation occur after seasonal gluts in southern beechmast (beechnuts), which encourage the reproduction of rodents on which stoats also feed, encouraging stoats to increase their own numbers.[36] For instance, the endangered takahe's wild population dropped by a third between 2006 and 2007, after a stoat plague triggered by the 2005–06 mast wiped out more than half the takahe in untrapped areas.[37] Diseases and parasites[edit] Tuberculosis
has been recorded in stoats inhabiting the former Soviet Union and New Zealand. They are largely resistant to tularemia, but are reputed to suffer from canine distemper in captivity. Symptoms of mange have also been recorded.[38] Stoats are vulnerable to ectoparasites associated with their prey and the nests of other animals on which they do not prey. The louse Trichodectes erminea is recorded in stoats living in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. In continental Europe, 26 flea species are recorded to infest stoats, including Rhadinospylla pentacantha, Megabothris rectangulatus, Orchopeas howardi, Spilopsyllus ciniculus, Ctenophthalamus nobilis, Dasypsyllus gallinulae, Nosopsyllus fasciatus, Leptospylla segnis, Ceratophyllus gallinae, Parapsyllus n. nestoris, Amphipsylla kuznetzovi and Ctenopsyllus bidentatus. Tick species known to infest stoats are Ixodes canisuga, I. hexagonus, and I. ricinus and Haemaphysalis longicornis. Louse
species known to infest stoats include Mysidea picae and Polyplax spinulosa. Mite species known to infest stoats include Neotrombicula
autumnalis, Demodex
erminae, Eulaelaps stabulans, Gymnolaelaps annectans, Hypoaspis nidicorva, and Listrophorus mustelae.[38] The nematode Skrjabingylus nasicola is particularly threatening to stoats, as it erodes the bones of the nasal sinuses and decreases fertility. Other nematode species known to infect stoats include Capillaria putorii, Molineus patens and Strongyloides martes. Cestode species known to infect stoats include Taenia tenuicollis, Mesocestoides lineatus and rarely Acanthocephala.[38] Relationships with humans[edit]

Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine
Lady with an Ermine

Folklore and mythology[edit] In Irish mythology, stoats were viewed anthropomorphically as animals with families, which held rituals for their dead. They were also viewed as noxious animals prone to thieving, and their saliva was said to be able to poison a grown man. To encounter a stoat when setting out for a journey was considered bad luck, but one could avert this by greeting the stoat as a neighbour.[39] Stoats were also supposed to hold the souls of infants who died before baptism.[40] In the folklore of the Komi people
Komi people
of the Urals, stoats are symbolic of beautiful and coveted young women.[41] In the Zoroastrian religion, the stoat is considered a sacred animal, as its white winter coat represented purity. Similarly, Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
was depicted as wearing a white stoat pelt as a sign of her reformed character. One popular European legend had it that a white stoat would die before allowing its pure white coat to be besmirched. When it was being chased by hunters, it would supposedly turn around and give itself up to the hunters rather than risk soiling itself.[42] The former nation (now province) of Brittany
in France uses a stylized ermine-fur pattern in forming the Coat of Arms and Flag of Brittany. Gilles Servat's song La blanche Hermine ("The White Ermine") became an anthem for Bretons
(and is popular among French people in general). Fur use[edit] Stoat
skins are prized by the fur trade, especially in winter coat, and used to trim coats and stoles. The fur from the winter coat is referred to as ermine and is the traditional ancient symbol of the Duchy of Brittany
forming the earliest flag of that nation. There is also a design called ermine inspired by the winter coat of the stoat and painted onto other furs, such as rabbit.[43] In Europe
these furs are a symbol of royalty and high status; the ceremonial robes of members of the UK House of Lords
House of Lords
and the academic hoods of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are traditionally trimmed with ermine[43] although in practice rabbit or fake fur is now often used instead due to expense or animal rights concerns. Prelates
of the Catholic Church still wear ecclesiastical garments featuring ermine (a sign of their status equal to that of the nobility). Cecilia Gallerani is depicted holding an ermine in her portrait, Lady with an Ermine, by Leonardo da Vinci. Henry Peacham's Emblem 75, which depicts an ermine being pursued by a hunter and two hounds, is entitled "Cui candor morte redemptus" ("Purity bought with his own death"). Peacham goes on to preach that men and women should follow the example of the ermine and keep their minds and consciences as pure as the legendary ermine keeps its fur.[44] Ermine were also valued by the Tlingit
and other indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. They could be attached to traditional regalia and cedar bark hats as status symbols, or they were also made into shirts.[45] The stoat was a fundamental item in the fur trade of the Soviet Union, with no less than half the global catch coming from within its borders. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
also contained the highest grades of stoat pelts, with the best grade North American pelts being comparable only to the 9th grade in the quality criteria of former Soviet stoat standards. However, stoat harvesting never became a specialty in any Soviet republic, with most stoats being captured incidentally in traps or near villages. Stoats in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
were captured either with dogs or with box-traps or jaw-traps. Guns were rarely used, as they could damage the pelt.[46] References[edit]

^ a b c Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). "Mustela erminea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 21 March 2009.  Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern ^ Shorter Oxford English dictionary. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 0199206872.  ^ "100 of the World's Worst Invasive Species". Invasive Species Specialist Group.  ^ a b Coues 1877, pp. 124–125 ^ a b Johnston 1903, p. 160 ^ Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 456 ^ a b Kurtén 1968, pp. 101–102 ^ Kurtén 1980, p. 150 ^ Macdonald 1992, p. 205 ^ Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 458 ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal
Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.  ^ a b c Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1010 ^ Merriam 1896, pp. 12–13 ^ Merriam 1896, p. 15 ^ a b Merriam 1896, pp. 11–12 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1014 ^ a b c Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 459 ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1012 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1013 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1011 ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 997 ^ Coues 1877, pp. 117–121 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 999 ^ a b c d e Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 457 ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1002 ^ a b c d e Harris & Yalden 2008, pp. 460–461 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 998 ^ Harris & Yalden 2008, pp. 464–465 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1021–1022 ^ Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 461 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1018 ^ a b c d Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 463 ^ a b Verts & Carraway 1998, p. 417 ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1020 ^ King, Carolyn (1984). Immigrant Killers. Auckland, NZ: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558121-0.  ^ Purdey, D. C.; King, C. M.; Lawrence, B. (2004). "Age structure, dispersion and diet of a population of stoats (Mustela erminea) in southern Fiordland during the decline phase of the beechmast cycle" (PDF). New Zealand
New Zealand
Journal of Zoology. The Royal Society of New Zealand. 31 (3): 205–225. doi:10.1080/03014223.2004.9518373. Retrieved 2009-11-30.  ^ "Stoats decimating takahe in Fiordland". stuff.co.nz. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2011.  ^ a b c Harris & Yalden 2008, p. 466 ^ Monaghan, Patricia (2004) The encyclopedia of Celtic mythology and folklore: Facts on File
library of religion and mythology, page 426, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 0-8160-4524-0 ^ Daniels, Cora Linn & Stevans, C. M. Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World, Volume 2 (2003), The Minerva Group, Inc., ISBN 1-4102-0915-6 ^ Laakso, Johanna (2005) Our otherness: Finno-Ugrian approaches to women's studies, or vice versa, Volume 2 of Finno-Ugrian studies in Austria, LIT Verlag Münster, ISBN 3-8258-8626-3 ^ Sax, Boria (2001) The mythical zoo: an encyclopedia of animals in world myth, legend, and literature, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1-57607-612-1 ^ a b "A house of traditions". BBC News. January 19, 1999.  ^ The Minerva Britanna Project ^ " Tlingit
Ermine-Skin Shirt (Daa dugu k'oodas')".  ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1029–1030


Ahern, Albert (1922). Fur Facts. St. Louis: C. P. Curran printing company.  Coues, Elliott (1877). Fur-bearing Animals: A Monograph of North American Mustelidae. Government Printing Office.  Harris, Stephen; Yalden, Derek (2008). Mammals of the British Isles (4th Revised ed.). Mammal
Society. ISBN 0-906282-65-9.  Johnston, Harry Hamilton (1903). British mammals; an attempt to describe and illustrate the mammalian fauna of the British islands from the commencement of the Pleistocene period down to the present day. London, Hutchinson.  Kurtén, Björn (1968). Pleistocene mammals of Europe. Weidenfeld and Nicolson.  Kurtén, Björn (1980). Pleistocene mammals of North America. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-03733-3.  Heptner, V. G.; Sludskii, A. A. (2002). Mammals of the Soviet Union. Vol. II, part 1b, Carnivores ( Mustelidae
and Procyonidae). Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Libraries and National Science Foundation. ISBN 90-04-08876-8.  Macdonald, David (1992). The Velvet Claw: A Natural History of the Carnivores. New York: Parkwest. ISBN 0-563-20844-9.  Merriam, Clinton Hart (1896). Synopsis of the weasels of North America. Washington : Govt. Print. Off.  Verts, B. J.; Carraway, Leslie N. (1998). Land Mammals of Oregon. University of California
Press. ISBN 0-520-21199-5. 

Further reading[edit]

King, Carolyn M.; Roger A. Powell (2007). The Natural History of Weasels and Stoats: Ecology, Behavior, and Management. Illustrations by Consie Powell (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530056-7. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mustela erminea.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ermine (clothing).

has information related to Mustela erminea

ARKive Mustela erminea taxonomy Stoat
control information Stoat
'playing'(?) in snow Fiordland Islands NZ stoat eradication BBC Wildlife finder including video footage and sound files Stoat
images Smithsonian Institution—North American Mammals: Mustela erminea Smithsonian Wild: Mustela erminea

v t e

Extant Carnivora

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Infraclass: Eutheria Superorder: Laurasiatheria

Suborder Feliformia



African palm civet
African palm civet
(N. binotata)

Herpestidae (Mongooses)


Marsh mongoose
Marsh mongoose
(A. paludinosus)


Bushy-tailed mongoose
Bushy-tailed mongoose
(B. crassicauda) Jackson's mongoose
Jackson's mongoose
(B. jacksoni) Black-footed mongoose
Black-footed mongoose
(B. nigripes)


Alexander's kusimanse
Alexander's kusimanse
(C. alexandri) Angolan kusimanse
Angolan kusimanse
(C. ansorgei) Common kusimanse
Common kusimanse
(C. obscurus) Flat-headed kusimanse
Flat-headed kusimanse
(C. platycephalus)


Yellow mongoose
Yellow mongoose
(C. penicillata)


Pousargues's mongoose
Pousargues's mongoose
(D. dybowskii)


Angolan slender mongoose
Angolan slender mongoose
(G. flavescens) Black mongoose
Black mongoose
(G. nigrata) Somalian slender mongoose
Somalian slender mongoose
(G. ochracea) Cape gray mongoose
Cape gray mongoose
(G. pulverulenta) Slender mongoose
Slender mongoose
(G. sanguinea)


Ethiopian dwarf mongoose
Ethiopian dwarf mongoose
(H. hirtula) Common dwarf mongoose
Common dwarf mongoose
(H. parvula)


Short-tailed mongoose
Short-tailed mongoose
(H. brachyurus) Indian gray mongoose
Indian gray mongoose
(H. edwardsii) Indian brown mongoose
Indian brown mongoose
(H. fuscus) Egyptian mongoose
Egyptian mongoose
(H. ichneumon) Small Asian mongoose
Small Asian mongoose
(H. javanicus) Long-nosed mongoose
Long-nosed mongoose
(H. naso) Collared mongoose
Collared mongoose
(H. semitorquatus) Ruddy mongoose
Ruddy mongoose
(H. smithii) Crab-eating mongoose
Crab-eating mongoose
(H. urva) Stripe-necked mongoose
Stripe-necked mongoose
(H. vitticollis)


White-tailed mongoose
White-tailed mongoose
(I. albicauda)


Liberian mongoose
Liberian mongoose
(L. kuhni)


Gambian mongoose
Gambian mongoose
(M. gambianus) Banded mongoose
Banded mongoose
(M. mungo)


Selous' mongoose
Selous' mongoose
(P. selousi)


Meller's mongoose
Meller's mongoose
(R. melleri)


(S. suricatta)

Hyaenidae (Hyenas)


Spotted hyena
Spotted hyena
(C. crocuta)


Brown hyena
Brown hyena
(H. brunnea) Striped hyena
Striped hyena
(H. hyaena)


(P. cristatus)


Large family listed below


Large family listed below


Small family listed below

Family Felidae



(A. jubatus)


(C. caracal) African golden cat
African golden cat
(C. aurata)


Bay cat
Bay cat
(C. badia) Asian golden cat
Asian golden cat
(C. temminckii)


European wildcat
European wildcat
(F. silvestris) African wildcat
African wildcat
(F. lybica) Jungle cat
Jungle cat
(F. chaus) Black-footed cat
Black-footed cat
(F. nigripes) Sand cat
Sand cat
(F. margarita) Chinese mountain cat
Chinese mountain cat
(F. bieti) Domestic cat (F. catus)


(L. pardalis) Margay
(L. wiedii) Pampas cat
Pampas cat
(L. colocola) Geoffroy's cat
Geoffroy's cat
(L. geoffroyi) Kodkod
(L. guigna) Andean mountain cat
Andean mountain cat
(L. jacobita) Oncilla
(L. tigrinus) Southern tigrina
Southern tigrina
(L. guttulus)


(L. serval)


Canadian lynx (L. canadensis) Eurasian lynx
Eurasian lynx
(L. lynx) Iberian lynx
Iberian lynx
(L. pardinus) Bobcat
(L. rufus)


Pallas's cat
Pallas's cat
(O. manul)


Marbled cat
Marbled cat
(P. marmorata)


Fishing cat
Fishing cat
(P. viverrinus) Leopard cat
Leopard cat
(P. bengalensis) Sundaland leopard cat (P. javanensis) Flat-headed cat
Flat-headed cat
(P. planiceps) Rusty-spotted cat
Rusty-spotted cat
(P. rubiginosus)


(P. concolor)


(H. yagouaroundi)



(P. leo) Jaguar
(P. onca) Leopard
(P. pardus) Tiger
(P. tigris) Snow leopard
Snow leopard
(P. uncia)


Clouded leopard
Clouded leopard
(N. nebulosa) Sunda clouded leopard
Sunda clouded leopard
(N. diardi)

Family Viverridae
(includes Civets)



(A. binturong)


Small-toothed palm civet
Small-toothed palm civet
(A. trivirgata)


Sulawesi palm civet
Sulawesi palm civet
(M. musschenbroekii)


Masked palm civet
Masked palm civet
(P. larvata)


Golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus) Asian palm civet
Asian palm civet
(P. hermaphroditus) Jerdon's palm civet (P. jerdoni) Golden palm civet
Golden palm civet
(P. zeylonensis)



Owston's palm civet
Owston's palm civet
(C. owstoni)


Otter civet
Otter civet
(C. bennettii)


Hose's palm civet
Hose's palm civet
(D. hosei)


Banded palm civet
Banded palm civet
(H. derbyanus)

Prionodontinae (Asiatic linsangs)


Banded linsang
Banded linsang
(P. linsang) Spotted linsang
Spotted linsang
(P. pardicolor)



African civet
African civet
(C. civetta)

Genetta (Genets)

Abyssinian genet
Abyssinian genet
(G. abyssinica) Angolan genet
Angolan genet
(G. angolensis) Bourlon's genet
Bourlon's genet
(G. bourloni) Crested servaline genet
Crested servaline genet
(G. cristata) Common genet
Common genet
(G. genetta) Johnston's genet
Johnston's genet
(G. johnstoni) Rusty-spotted genet
Rusty-spotted genet
(G. maculata) Pardine genet
Pardine genet
(G. pardina) Aquatic genet
Aquatic genet
(G. piscivora) King genet
King genet
(G. poensis) Servaline genet
Servaline genet
(G. servalina) Haussa genet
Haussa genet
(G. thierryi) Cape genet
Cape genet
(G. tigrina) Giant forest genet
Giant forest genet
(G. victoriae)


African linsang
African linsang
(P. richardsonii) Leighton's linsang
Leighton's linsang
(P. leightoni)


Malabar large-spotted civet
Malabar large-spotted civet
(V. civettina) Large-spotted civet
Large-spotted civet
(V. megaspila) Malayan civet
Malayan civet
(V. tangalunga) Large Indian civet
Large Indian civet
(V. zibetha)


Small Indian civet
Small Indian civet
(V. indica)

Family Eupleridae



Fossa (C. ferox)


Eastern falanouc
Eastern falanouc
(E. goudotii) Western falanouc (E. major)


Malagasy civet
Malagasy civet
(F. fossana)



Ring-tailed mongoose
Ring-tailed mongoose
(G. elegans)


Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose
Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose
(G. fasciata) Grandidier's mongoose
Grandidier's mongoose
(G. grandidieri)


Narrow-striped mongoose
Narrow-striped mongoose
(M. decemlineata)


Brown-tailed mongoose
Brown-tailed mongoose
(S. concolor) Durrell's vontsira (S. durrelli)

Suborder Caniformia
(cont. below)

Ursidae (Bears)


Giant panda
Giant panda
(A. melanoleuca)


Sun bear
Sun bear
(H. malayanus)


Sloth bear
Sloth bear
(M. ursinus)


Spectacled bear
Spectacled bear
(T. ornatus)


American black bear
American black bear
(U. americanus) Brown bear
Brown bear
(U. arctos) Polar bear
Polar bear
(U. maritimus) Asian black bear
Asian black bear
(U. thibetanus)


Conepatus (Hog-nosed skunks)

Molina's hog-nosed skunk
Molina's hog-nosed skunk
(C. chinga) Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk
Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk
(C. humboldtii) American hog-nosed skunk
American hog-nosed skunk
(C. leuconotus) Striped hog-nosed skunk
Striped hog-nosed skunk
(C. semistriatus)


Hooded skunk
Hooded skunk
(M. macroura) Striped skunk
Striped skunk
(M. mephitis)


Sunda stink badger
Sunda stink badger
(M. javanensis) Palawan stink badger
Palawan stink badger
(M. marchei)

Spilogale (Spotted skunks)

Southern spotted skunk
Southern spotted skunk
(S. angustifrons) Western spotted skunk
Western spotted skunk
(S. gracilis) Eastern spotted skunk
Eastern spotted skunk
(S. putorius) Pygmy spotted skunk
Pygmy spotted skunk
(S. pygmaea)


Bassaricyon (Olingos)

Eastern lowland olingo
Eastern lowland olingo
(B. alleni) Northern olingo
Northern olingo
(B. gabbii) Western lowland olingo
Western lowland olingo
(B. medius) Olinguito
(B. neblina)


Ring-tailed cat
Ring-tailed cat
(B. astutus) Cacomistle
(B. sumichrasti)

Nasua (Coatis inclusive)

White-nosed coati
White-nosed coati
(N. narica) South American coati
South American coati
(N. nasua)

Nasuella (Coatis inclusive)

Western mountain coati (N. olivacea) Eastern mountain coati (N. meridensis)


(P. flavus)


Crab-eating raccoon
Crab-eating raccoon
(P. cancrivorus) Raccoon
(P. lotor) Cozumel raccoon
Cozumel raccoon
(P. pygmaeus)



Red panda
Red panda
(A. fulgens)

Suborder Caniformia
(cont. above)

Otariidae (Eared seals) (includes fur seals and sea lions) ( Pinniped


South American fur seal
South American fur seal
(A. australis) Australasian fur seal (A. forsteri) Galápagos fur seal
Galápagos fur seal
(A. galapagoensis) Antarctic fur seal
Antarctic fur seal
(A. gazella) Juan Fernández fur seal
Juan Fernández fur seal
(A. philippii) Brown fur seal
Brown fur seal
(A. pusillus) Guadalupe fur seal
Guadalupe fur seal
(A. townsendi) Subantarctic fur seal
Subantarctic fur seal
(A. tropicalis)


Northern fur seal
Northern fur seal
(C. ursinus)


Steller sea lion
Steller sea lion
(E. jubatus)


Australian sea lion
Australian sea lion
(N. cinerea)


South American sea lion
South American sea lion
(O. flavescens)


New Zealand
New Zealand
sea lion (P. hookeri)


sea lion (Z. californianus) Galápagos sea lion
Galápagos sea lion
(Z. wollebaeki)

Odobenidae ( Pinniped


(O. rosmarus)

Phocidae (Earless seals) ( Pinniped


Hooded seal
Hooded seal
(C. cristata)


Bearded seal
Bearded seal
(E. barbatus)


Gray seal (H. grypus)


Ribbon seal
Ribbon seal
(H. fasciata)


seal (H. leptonyx)


Weddell seal
Weddell seal
(L. weddellii)


Crabeater seal
Crabeater seal
(L. carcinophagus)

Mirounga (Elephant seals)

Northern elephant seal
Northern elephant seal
(M. angustirostris) Southern elephant seal
Southern elephant seal
(M. leonina)


monk seal (M. monachus) Hawaiian monk seal
Hawaiian monk seal
(M. schauinslandi)


Ross seal
Ross seal
(O. rossi)


Harp seal
Harp seal
(P. groenlandicus)


Spotted seal
Spotted seal
(P. largha) Harbor seal
Harbor seal
(P. vitulina)


Caspian seal
Caspian seal
(P. caspica) Ringed seal
Ringed seal
(P. hispida) Baikal seal
Baikal seal
(P. sibirica)


Large family listed below


Large family listed below

Family Canidae
(includes dogs)


Short-eared dog
Short-eared dog
(A. microtis)


Side-striped jackal
Side-striped jackal
(C. adustus) African golden wolf
African golden wolf
(C. anthus) Golden jackal
Golden jackal
(C. aureus) Coyote
(C. latrans) Gray wolf
Gray wolf
(C. lupus) Black-backed jackal
Black-backed jackal
(C. mesomelas) Red wolf
Red wolf
(C. rufus) Ethiopian wolf
Ethiopian wolf
(C. simensis)


Crab-eating fox
Crab-eating fox
(C. thous)


Maned wolf
Maned wolf
(C. brachyurus)


(C. alpinus)


(L. culpaeus) Darwin's fox
Darwin's fox
(L. fulvipes) South American gray fox
South American gray fox
(L. griseus) Pampas fox
Pampas fox
(L. gymnocercus) Sechuran fox
Sechuran fox
(L. sechurae) Hoary fox
Hoary fox
(L. vetulus)


African wild dog
African wild dog
(L. pictus)


dog (N. procyonoides)


Bat-eared fox
Bat-eared fox
(O. megalotis)


Bush dog
Bush dog
(S. venaticus)


Gray fox
Gray fox
(U. cinereoargenteus) Island fox
Island fox
(U. littoralis)

Vulpes (Foxes)

Bengal fox
Bengal fox
(V. bengalensis) Blanford's fox
Blanford's fox
(V. cana) Cape fox
Cape fox
(V. chama) Corsac fox
Corsac fox
(V. corsac) Tibetan sand fox
Tibetan sand fox
(V. ferrilata) Arctic fox
Arctic fox
(V. lagopus) Kit fox
Kit fox
(V. macrotis) Pale fox
Pale fox
(V. pallida) Rüppell's fox
Rüppell's fox
(V. rueppelli) Swift fox
Swift fox
(V. velox) Red fox
Red fox
(V. vulpes) Fennec fox
Fennec fox
(V. zerda)

Family Mustelidae

Lutrinae (Otters)


African clawless otter
African clawless otter
(A. capensis) Oriental small-clawed otter
Oriental small-clawed otter
(A. cinerea)


Sea otter
Sea otter
(E. lutris)


Spotted-necked otter
Spotted-necked otter
(H. maculicollis)


North American river otter
North American river otter
(L. canadensis) Marine otter
Marine otter
(L. felina) Neotropical otter
Neotropical otter
(L. longicaudis) Southern river otter
Southern river otter
(L. provocax)


Eurasian otter
Eurasian otter
(L. lutra) Hairy-nosed otter
Hairy-nosed otter
(L. sumatrana)


Smooth-coated otter
Smooth-coated otter
(L. perspicillata)


Giant otter
Giant otter
(P. brasiliensis)

Mustelinae (including badgers)


Hog badger
Hog badger
(A. collaris)


(E. barbara)


Lesser grison
Lesser grison
(G. cuja) Greater grison
Greater grison
(G. vittata)


(G. gulo)


Saharan striped polecat
Saharan striped polecat
(I. libyca) Striped polecat
Striped polecat
(I. striatus)


Patagonian weasel
Patagonian weasel
(L. patagonicus)

Martes (Martens)

American marten
American marten
(M. americana) Yellow-throated marten
Yellow-throated marten
(M. flavigula) Beech marten
Beech marten
(M. foina) Nilgiri marten
Nilgiri marten
(M. gwatkinsii) European pine marten
European pine marten
(M. martes) Japanese marten
Japanese marten
(M. melampus) Sable
(M. zibellina)


Fisher (P. pennanti)


Japanese badger
Japanese badger
(M. anakuma) Asian badger
Asian badger
(M. leucurus) European badger
European badger
(M. meles)


Honey badger
Honey badger
(M. capensis)

Melogale (Ferret-badgers)

Bornean ferret-badger
Bornean ferret-badger
(M. everetti) Chinese ferret-badger
Chinese ferret-badger
(M. moschata) Javan ferret-badger
Javan ferret-badger
(M. orientalis) Burmese ferret-badger
Burmese ferret-badger
(M. personata)

Mustela (Weasels and Ferrets)

Amazon weasel
Amazon weasel
(M. africana) Mountain weasel
Mountain weasel
(M. altaica) Stoat
(M. erminea) Steppe polecat
Steppe polecat
(M. eversmannii) Colombian weasel
Colombian weasel
(M. felipei) Long-tailed weasel
Long-tailed weasel
(M. frenata) Japanese weasel
Japanese weasel
(M. itatsi) Yellow-bellied weasel
Yellow-bellied weasel
(M. kathiah) European mink
European mink
(M. lutreola) Indonesian mountain weasel
Indonesian mountain weasel
(M. lutreolina) Black-footed ferret
Black-footed ferret
(M. nigripes) Least weasel
Least weasel
(M. nivalis) Malayan weasel
Malayan weasel
(M. nudipes) European polecat
European polecat
(M. putorius) Siberian weasel
Siberian weasel
(M. sibirica) Back-striped weasel
Back-striped weasel
(M. strigidorsa) Egyptian weasel
Egyptian weasel
(M. subpalmata)

Neovison (Minks)

American mink
American mink
(N. vison)


African striped weasel
African striped weasel
(P. albinucha)


American badger
American badger
(T. taxus)


Marbled polecat
Marbled polecat
(V. peregusna)

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q25345 ADW: Mustela_erminea ARKive: mustela-erminea EoL: 328587 EPPO: MUSTER Fauna Europaea: 305315 Fossilworks: 48848 GBIF: 5219019 iNaturalist: 41808 ITIS: 180555 IUCN: 29674 MSW: 14001334 NCBI: 36723

Authority control

GND: 43565