Difference Between Mink and Weasel

Mink vs Weasel

Mink and weasel are two closely related animals with very similar characteristics. Sometimes both mink and weasel have been named under the same generic name, but sometimes not. Therefore, it could be quite confusing for any unfamiliar person to understand the difference between a mink and a weasel. Hence, it would be important to discuss the variations in naming and other important aspects about these two small mammals of the Order: Carnivora.


There are two species of minks known as the American and European species. They belong to two different genera namely Mustela (European mink) and Neovison (American mink). There has been an extinct species under the genus Neovison, which was a confined species to some coastal waters but not necessarily all the time it was a marine species. All the minks have been classified under the Family: Mustelidae of Order: Carnivora. American mink primarily lived in North America, and they have escaped or being released from the mink farms into European wilds. The European mink has a distinguishing character, which is the white colour patch in the upper lip. However, the American mink does not have any white colour patch, but they are distinguishable from their large size. Males of the both species are larger than females. The bodyweight varies from 500 to 1600 grams in American mink while it varies from 500 to 800 grams in European mink. Minks are usually slender animals with about 45 centimetres long body and a considerably long and bushy tail. The minks have been very useful for humans as a mean of soft and long fur source, especially the dense winter coat. Therefore, minks have been bred in captivity, to manage in farms.


Weasels 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 centimetres from nose to the base of tail. Weasel legs are very small, but their tails are very long and can measure up to 33 centimetres. Their upper coat is brown while the belly is mostly white. Weasels are predators, and their long slender body helps them to go into the hiding burrows of prey animals. They have a wide distribution throughout the world except unique Australia and Antarctica. Weasels are solitary animals but sometimes live in communal groups. They usually inhabit wooded areas but not common in thick and dense forests. However, they do not have a good reputation among farmers, as weasels are not domesticated and notorious for stealing poultry and eggs.


What is the difference between Mink and Weasel?

• The species diversity is five times higher among weasels (ten species) than in minks (two species). Additionally, all the weasels are classified under one genus, but the two mink species belong to two genera.

• Minks have a longer body than weasels.

• Minks are heavier than weasels usually.

• Minks are domesticated animals, but weasels are not domesticated. In fact, weasels have been a serious pest in many agricultural lands.

• The coat colour of weasels is usually brown for the upper parts and white for the belly region, whereas minks are brown-black.

• Minks are sexually dimorphic with males having larger bodies, whereas the weasel males and females are mostly alike.