Mink Vs Weasel: Everything You Need To Know About These Cute Critters!

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 25, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Nov 17, 2021
Read these fun facts about the mink vs weasel debate.

There are two mink species, namely the American mink and the European mink.

The American mink is mainly found in South America and Europe. The European mink is native to Europe.

They are also known as the Eurasian mink and Russian mink. There are 17 weasel species. These animals are fearless carnivores that feed on snakes, eggs, mice, fish, and insects. Apart from being used for their fur, minks and weasels are also game animals.

Minks are aggressive. If you want to own either of these animals, check your state laws. Most states have made it illegal to own them. Continue reading to learn more about the differences and similarities between these members of the weasel family and their prey.

Check out our other articles about keeping a pet mink and the mink vs ferret debate.

Difference Between A Mink and A Weasel

Minks and weasels have a few traits which help to differentiate them from each other. Some of the significant differences are size, fur, habitat, and diet.

When compared to American weasels, American minks are not just larger but also heavier. Minks are 12-20 in (30-50 cm) long and weigh between 3-4.5 lbs (1.3-2 kg), while the body length and weight of weasels are 9-10.2 in (23-26 cm) and 3-12.3 oz (85-350 g).

Though both animals are great swimmers, minks have partially webbed feet, whereas weasels don't. The partially webbed feet of minks help them to paddle through water.

There is a slight difference in the fur color of minks and weasels. Minks have dark brown fur throughout their bodies. Parts of their neck and chin region are white. Weasels have reddish-brown to yellowish-brown fur. Some weasels can partially change their fur color.

Weasels hunt both animals and birds. Weasels are known for hunting larger prey like rabbits, snakes, and woodchucks. Though minks hunt birds and animals like rabbits, they mainly prefer small frogs and mammals. Their hunting technique is also different. Minks kill their prey by biting its neck. Weasels are aggressive predators that crush the skulls of their prey.

Since minks love water and swimming, they are mainly found in wetland habitats like rivers, marshes, ponds, and lakes. Though weasels can swim, they do not swim particularly often or hunt their prey in water. Hence, they are found in woodlands and fields.

Similarities Between A Mink and A Weasel

Both these animals have a slender body, long neck, and an elongated snout.

Mink and weasels are carnivores, and they are members of the same family, Mustelidae. Minks and weasels have short, rounded ears. Both these animals are excellent swimmers. Anal glands found in both these animals give off a smell that is used to mark their territory. Minks and weasels both have a tendency to store food for later consumption.

Fur and Appearance

Minks have a long and thin body. They have thick and short legs with a pointed snout. Minks are extremely cute animals that have long necks, bushy tails, and small ears. They have thick and glossy fur that can be in different shades of brown.

Minks are easily identified by the white patch on their neck area. Females are smaller than males. Wild minks are heavier than the farm-bred ones.

Weasels also have long and thin bodies. Their brown fur and dark eyes are some of their most attractive features. They have short legs and yellow or white fur in their belly region.

Both these animals have waterproof fur.

Did you know? Wild mink are used for their fur. Mink fur is highly-priced and used in clothing.

Coat Color in Winter

Minks do not change their coat color in winter. They have the same deep brown coats with white spots on the neck and undersides.

Weasels can change colors. The long-tailed weasel, short-tailed weasel, and least weasel are the three weasel species that change from brown to white. The brown coat of the short-tailed weasel contrasts with its cream underbelly in summer.

In the winter, it sheds its coat and replaces it with a white one. Weasels in the northern hemisphere change color, whilst those in the southern hemisphere do not. In transition zones, they partially change colors.

A Significant Difference in Size

As previously said, size is the main difference between minks and weasels.

Minks are larger than weasels. Though large weasels like the long-tailed weasel are two to three times heavier than the other weasel species, they are still not as heavy as minks. The largest weasel (the long-tailed weasel) can grow as long as 22 in (55 cm). Minks can grow up to 28 in (71 cm).

Did you know? Minks have large, bushy tails that account for almost one-third of their total body length. Minks are also excellent divers who can dive as deep as 15 ft (4.5 m).

Finding weasels and mink

Minks have a hard time staying away from water. As a result, minks can be found near bodies of water.

They reside in subterranean caves in hollow logs, so you don't see them very frequently. Damage caused by minks can be easily identified in your home. Because these creatures live below the ground, they are more prone to causing harm to buildings by excavating holes and tunnels.

Weasels may be found in a variety of habitats. Weasels live in burrows and tree nests.

This family of mammals leaves tracks that may be recognized by five toes on both the front and back feet. They will also leave claw marks.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'Mink vs weasel' then why not take a look at 'What do weasels eat?' or 'Mink facts'?

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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