Biology

Difference between Weasel and Ferret

Main Difference

These are much-related animals in many aspects; therefore, it could lead to confusion if someone wants to observe the differences between them. Because of the close relationship between these two interesting animals, the distinctions are important to consider. There are ten species of Mustela referred as weasels, while ferret is a subspecies of one of the polecats of the same genus. Ferrets are crepuscular animals, but weasels are not.

Weasel

weaselWeasels are mammals of the Family: Mustelidae, and they include some species of the Genus: Mastela. There are 17 species described under this genus, but only ten of them being called as weasels. They are small animals with long and slender bodies that measure between 12 and 45 centimeters from nose to the base of tail. Weasel legs are very small, but their tails are very long and can measure up to 33 centimeters.

Ferret

ferret_2008Ferret is a domesticated mammal belongs to the same genus as weasels, Mustela putorius furo. However, it is not a completely solved query that whether ferrets are a domesticated form of Steppe polecat or European polecat. They became domesticated around 2,500 years ago. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic and their males are larger than females. The colouration of their fur is brown-black with white.

Key Differences

  • There are ten species of Mustela referred as weasels, while ferret is a subspecies of one of the polecats of the same genus.
  • Ferrets are longer in body length, and a shorter in tail length compared to weasels.
  • Ferrets are friends of man and domesticated animals, but weasels are pests and non-domesticated animals.
  • Generally, weasels have a brown upper coat with a white belly, but ferrets are brown-black with white or mixed coloured animals.
  • Ferrets are closer relatives to polecats than weasels.
  • Both of them are carnivores, but ferrets are special being obligate carnivores.
  • Ferrets are sexually dimorphic, but the weasels are not.
  • Ferrets are nocturnal animals, while weasels are diurnal.
  • Ferrets are crepuscular animals, but weasels are not.
  • The ferret is in the weasel family. Ferrets are cousins to the weasel, but more closely related to the European polecat ferret.

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