Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alternate uses: Weasel (disambiguation)
Mustela vison Weasels are mammals in the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. Originally, the name "weasel" was applied to one species of the genus, the European form of the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis). Literary references to weasels usually refer to this species rather than to the genus as a whole.
Weasels vary in length from 15 to 35 centimetres, and usually have a light brown upper coat and a white belly; in many species, populations living at high latitudes moult to a pure white coat in winter. They have long slender bodies, which enable them to follow their prey into burrows. Their tails are typically almost as long as the rest of their bodies. Weasels are intelligent creatures that are known for their cleverness and guile.
In mythology, it is sometimes said that the only thing which can kill a basilisk is a weasel, though it would be killed in the conflict as well. The earliest record of this claim is in Pliny's Naturalis Historia, book 8, par. 33.  It was repeated by Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae, and subsequently by many medieval bestiarists.
Species of weasel
- Tropical Weasel , Mustela africana
- Mountain Weasel , Mustela altaica
- Stoat Mustela erminea
- Steppe Polecat , Mustela eversmannii
- Colombian Weasel , Mustela felipei
- Long-tailed Weasel, Mustela frenata
- Yellow-bellied Weasel , Mustela kathiah
- European Mink, Mustela lutreola
- Indonesian Mountain Weasel, Mustela lutreolina
- Sea Mink, Mustela macrodon (extinct)
- Black-footed Ferret, Mustela nigripes
- Least Weasel, Mustela nivalis
- Malayan Weasel , Mustela nudipes
- European Polecat, Mustela putorius
- Siberian Weasel , Mustela sibirica
- Black-striped Weasel , Mustela strigidorsa
- American Mink, Mustela vison
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