Belonging to the Mustelidae family, weasels are small yet bold and aggressive mammals that inhabit North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and some parts of North Africa.
These animals have elongated bodies covered with dense, brown fur, apart from the white belly. Their heads are small and flattened, short limbs with sharp, curved claws, and the slim tail is pointed at the tip.
Their preferred habitats include grasslands, forests, moors, and dunes, where they live in abandoned burrows or nests in hollow logs and under rocks. Carnivorous animals, Weasels are solitary hunters with their diet consisting of rats, mice, birds, frogs, and sometimes rabbits.
In the wild, you can also find other animals similar to Weasels. From appearances to behaviors, these animals share a lot with Weasels. In this article, we’ll not only highlight these similarities but also point out their prime differences.
Some of the animals similar to weasels include Stoats, Wolverines, Honey badgers, Skunks, Tayras, Greater grisons, African polecat, Minks, European badgers, Sables, Fishers, North American River Otter, Ferrets, Sea otters and European polecat.
15 Different Animals Similar to Weasels
Also called ermine, stoats are the closest relatives to the Weasels. They inhabit thickets and timberlands in North America, although some species live in Eurasia.
Being related to Weasels, stoats are similar to Weasels in many respects. They have the same long and slender bodies, long tails, and short legs. Both animals share behaviors, as stouts are voracious carnivores, with small vertebrates making the bulk of their diet.
What’s more, the Weasels’ bigger brothers are also active at night and day and can’t tolerate any other animals in their range, especially if they’re of the same sex.
The prime difference between the two animals is size. The stoats are bigger than their cousins.
Wolverines share the same family as Weasels. But surprisingly, wolverines look more like a bear than their relatives. You can find them in large numbers in Alaska, Northern Canada, western Russia, Siberia, and the Nordic countries of Europe.
To make wolverines similar to Weasels, they’re stocky, lead a solitary life, and have a reputation of being ferocious like their cousins. Furthermore, wolverines, like Weasels, are carnivores, foraging on small animals such as porcupines but cannot miss an opportunity to kill prey much larger than themselves, such as deer – again, like Weasels.
However, wolverines are much larger than Weasels and resemble small bears due to their rounded heads.
3. Honey badgers
Also known as ratels, honey badgers are small, sturdy mammals that inhibit the warm forests and mountains throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Southwest Asia, and India.
Honey badgers come from the same family as Weasels. That’s why they share several characteristics in behavior and appearance, although they’re much larger with longer tails. Both have elongated bodies and short limbs armed with sharp claws.
Also, honey badgers have small flattened heads like their family members. Behavioral similarities include living solitary lives and ferociousness as the honey badger can confront large animals, including jackals.
But unlike, Weasels, honey badgers are omnivores, obsessed with honey and bee larvae, but also feed on roots, insects, and snakes.
Skunks are small mammals infamous for their stinky smell, which they secrete from their glands as defense mechanisms. The smelly creatures inhabit various regions, including urban areas all over North America.
Skunks used to belong to the same family as Weasels until recent research placed these animals in the family Mephitidae, where they’re the only members.
But besides coming from different families, they share a lot with Weasels. They all have tube-like bodies with short but sturdy limbs with sharp claws. Both animals are active during dawn and twilight hours. Like, Weasels, skunks are territorial animals, only seen in pairs when mating.
However, skunks prefer an omnivorous diet, eating whatever they get, including earthworms, insects, amphibians, roots, and leaves. Also, unlike Weasels, skunks have the luxury of spraying the stinky liquid from their glands as defense mechanisms.
Tayras are small mammals from the Weasels family that only inhabit the tropical forests of the Americas, from Mexico, South America, and Northern Argentina.
Tayras share several physical characteristics with Weasels, including long tails, short legs, and long elongated bodies – although Tayras are larger than their counterparts. Both animals also nest in burrows or hollow trees.
However, Tayras are playful and easy to tame, and diurnal. Also, they have omnivorous diets, unlike their brothers.
6. Greater grisons
The greater grisons are mustelid mammals that inhabit the same territory as Tayras, America’s forests.
Since the greater grisons and Weasels are family members, the two animals share several similarities. The grisons look like their brothers with elongated bodies, long tails, and short legs. But if you’re keen, you can recognize the grisons have webbed feet – that’s why they occasionally prefer living near rivers and streams.
What’s more, both animals are solitary, only seen together during the breeding season. Furthermore, both are carnivores, with most of the grisons’ food coming from crustaceans.
However, greater grisons stand out as they’re active during the day and have bushy tails.
7. African polecat
Also known as zorilla, the African polecat is a small, striped mammal resembling a skunk. It’s predominantly found in dry and semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the savannas.
African polecats share a lot with Weasels. They both nest in burrows left by other animals and have sharp claws on their small limbs. Also, the African polecats, like Weasels, are very territorial and aggressive creatures that only come together for mating. They share the same diet, with snakes, amphibians, and small rodents making most of the zorilla’s diet.
The prime difference between the two animals is that African polecats are nocturnal and can secrete a foul substance at will.
Coming in two varieties, the American mink and European mink, both semi-aquatic, minks are dark-colored relatives of Weasels as they share the same family. Endemic to North America and Northern Europe, minks prefer living near water bodily, especially on riverbanks.
As family members, both animals are very similar. Minks resemble Weasels from their slender, long bodies to long tails to short legs. They also show behavioral similarities, with minks leading solitary lives and won’t tolerate any other of its members, except only females and only for breeding purposes.
Both animals are carnivores, although minks’ diet is mainly fish and frogs. And like Weasels, minks hunt during dusk and down.
Chiefly setting the two animals apart is the fondness of minks to live near water bodies when feeding and roaming.
9. European badgers
Not to be confused with the honeybadgers, European badgers, also called Eurasian badgers, are stocky, larger relatives of the Weasels found everywhere in Europe.
European badgers share the same family as Weasels, but surprisingly, the two animals show a few similarities. They both have small legs with sharp claws and shelter in nests in tunnels and hollow logs.
However, you identify these badgers from their cousins as they always go in groups of up to 23 individuals, have shot tails, and are nocturnal creatures.
One of the many marten species, Sables are small mammals that inhabit temperate evergreen forests of Eurasia.
With short tails and long ears, Sables don’t resemble Weasels much. But still, the animals share a few physical characteristics, such as long, slender bodies.
However, many of their similarities are behavioral, as Sables are solitary and live in tunnels, like Weasels. They are also active during dawn and dusk hours, like their cousins.
Close relatives of Sables, fishers are small mammals endemic to temperate, boreal forests of North America.
From the appearance, Fishers are just but big brothers of Weasels, as they come from the same family and share several similarities, including body types. Furthermore, fishers hunt at dusk and dawn and are solitary, and territorial, like their counterparts.
12. North American River Otter
North American River Otters are sleek, stocky, semi-aquatic mammals only found on the American continent.
Also called river otters, these animals come from the Weasel family and share many physical and behavioral similarities with their cousins. You can mistake river otters for the Weasels – if not for the whiskers – as they have similar body types, from flattened heads to small ears to long, tapered tails. Also, both animals are active during dusk and dawn hours and have a carnivorous diet.
However, living in families sets the otters apart from the Weasels.
Ferrets are small members of the Weasel family, but are popular as they’re domesticated.
They are closely related to polecats, but that doesn’t make them dissimilar to the Weasels. With long, slender bodies and tails, they have body types resembling their cousins.
The pets also exhibit several behavioral similarities, including hunting times and choice of food. However, ferrets are Social animals, living in families, unlike Weasels.
14. Sea otters
Sea otters are marine mammals that inhabit Northern Pacific Ocean coastal waters. Weighing almost 100 pounds, these animals are the largest in the Weasel family.
These aquatic mammals don’t share many physical and behavioral characteristics with Weasels as they have a unique body type, are diurnal, and live in families of 10-100 individuals.
However, the two animals are considered similar since they belong to the same family. They do have a behavioral similarity, though: being carnivores.
15. European polecat
Also called the common polecat, European polecats are small animals from the Mustelidae family. These polecats are native to western Eurasia and North Africa and prefer living in lowland areas.
European polecats share a few similarities with weasels to make the two animals similar. They both have small eyes and strong, curved claws. They also belong to the same family. Behavioral similarities include living in abandoned burrows and being carnivores.