Stoat vs Weasel vs Ferret vs Mink: Complete Comparison!

Despite belonging to the same family, stoats, weasels, and ferrets are different than each other. That’s why it can be quite tricky sometimes when comparing them. But luckily you can easily tell them apart if you know where to look.

So, what are the differences between stoat vs weasel vs ferret vs mink?

Stoats and weasels are similar in length but stoats have shorter tails. But of all four, minks have the largest tail. Both ferrets and minks are bigger in size and they also weigh more. While the stoats, ferrets, and minks are nocturnal animals, weasels are diurnal. Only ferrets can be kept as pets.

That was quite descriptive but not the entire comparison. We’ve talked about even more differences and compared them side by side. 

Stay with us for more information on stoats, weasels, and more. 

Stoat vs Weasel vs Ferret vs Mink: Primary Differences

Since all 4 of these animals are almost the same, we can’t just jump into details. It’s going to get really messy and confusing for all of us.

For example, you can’t really understand mink vs weasel vs otter differences without prior knowledge. That’s why we thought a table would be perfect for putting all the attributes together.

Here’s what you’re looking for!

Factors Stoat Weasel Ferret Mink
Body Size 9 – 13 inches 11 – 14 inches 8 – 20 inches 12 – 20 inches
Tail 3 – 3.7 inches 5 – 6.5 inches 5 inches 5 -10 inches
Weight 1 – 2 lbs 2 – 4 lbs 1.5 – 4.5 lbs 2 – 7 lbs
Coat Brown, Black Light Brown Dark Brown Black, Brown 
Behavior Solitary & Nocturnal  Solitary & Diurnal Social & Nocturnal Solitary & Nocturnal
Diet Small Preys Small Preys Small Preys Large Preys
Habitat Grasslands Grasslands Woodlands, Grasslands Marshlands
Lifespan 4 – 6 years 4 – 6 years 5 – 10 years 5 – 11 years

And that was everything that you need to know!

Stoat vs Weasel vs Ferret vs Mink: Full Discussion

Now that we have some ideas about their differences, we can move forward with details.

We’ve compared all of them in different categories head to head. 

Body Size & Weight

Body size is the easiest method to tell the weasels apart. Their weights also differ just like their body lengths.

Stoats and weasels are super similar regarding body sizes. Stoats or Ermines are usually 9 to 13 inches long.

But there’s a slight difference. They weigh lighter than the weasels. Most stoats usually weigh between 1 and 2 pounds.

On the contrary, weasels are generally longer. Their length ranges from 11 to 14 inches. Their weight ranges between 2 to 4 pounds.

When it comes to ferret vs weasel size, ferrets are bigger. Ferrets are also heavier than both stoats and weasels. This is a key weasel vs ferret difference.

Ferrets weigh about 1.5 pounds to 4 pounds at maximum. They’re usually 8 to 20 inches long.

Finally, the minks are the biggest of all four. They are almost 12 to 20 inches long. Without a doubt, they’re also the heaviest. That’s why body size and weight is the most important ferret or mink difference.

Minks usually weigh about 3-5 pounds. But some adult minks can reach a weight of 7 pounds. 

Tail Size

Tail sizes are also an important factor when differentiating these animals. That’s why it’s an independent segment.

Stoats have the smallest tail out of all animals being compared. Their tails are only 3 to 3.7 inches long.

As for weasels, they have a slightly longer tail. That’s the only way to understand stoats vs weasel size. Weasel tails are 5 to 6.5 inches long.

On the contrary, Ferrets have similar tails just like weasels. Their tails are around 5 inches long.

Finally, the minks have the largest tail. Their tails are 5 to 10 inches long.


These animals are quite similar in terms of coating with an exception or two.

Stoats are usually seen with black and brown coating. They do turn white in the winter to camouflage better. Like stoats, weasels also can turn themselves white in winter.

Weasels usually have a light brown coating. Unlike weasels, the ferrets have a dark brown coating in the seasons except for winter.

As for minks, their coats are mostly black and brown.


The behavior is also another way to tell them apart. It also helps you with overall interaction.

The stoats are solitary and nocturnal animals. It means they only go out at night to hunt by themselves.

Unlike stoats, weasels work in the daytime. But they also hunt and do things alone like the stoats.

Ferrets are the only social animal in this comparison. They can be domesticated easily. Some people wonder about keeping a weasel or ferret as a pet. But only ferrets can be kept as pets.

They’re nocturnal which means they prefer nighttime.

If you’re looking for a ferret as a pet, you’ll also need some food. That’s why we’ve recommended our favorite picks for ferret food- 

  1. Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Small Animal Food For Ferrets
  2. Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 – Starch Free Dry Natural Food for Ferrets

Choose any of them and it’ll help you get started!

The minks like to hunt alone. Needless to say, they’re solitary. They’re wild and catch the biggest preys to eat. Like others, minks are nocturnal.

Minks are also super strong and likely win a ferret vs mink fight. 

Final Verdict

Ferrets are the best options if you want a pet. They’re the easiest to domesticate. Nonetheless, you can keep stoats and weasels as pets as well.

Minks, on the other hand, are the hardest to keep as a pet. They’re huge and that’s why they can be trouble. They’re also incredibly hard to domesticate. You can still keep them as pets should you go to such lengths. 


Question: Is ferret the same as mink?

Answer: Both ferrets and mink belong in the same family as weasels. So you could say they’re different variants of weasel. Despite belonging to the same family, ferrets and minks are entirely different. 

Question: Are stoats the same as minks?

Answer: Stoats and minks do come from the same family. But they’re totally different. Minks are extremely large and heavy compared to stoats. Stoats also have smaller tails while minks have bigger tails. 

Question: Do ferrets smell like minks?

Answer: Despite being large, minks are less smelly than ferrets. Obviously, minks in the wild will smell really bad. But domesticated minks generally have less odor than their ferret counterparts. 

Final Words

That was all from us on stoat vs weasel vs ferret vs mink. We hope this comparison helped you understand those animals better.

You can also look up different Youtube videos or read Wikipedia for more details. Some of them are super educational and they’ll help you understand them better. 

Finally, have a nice day.

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Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan

Ryan Dugan is a dedicated pet care professional who offers top-notch services for a variety of pet species. He has a soft spot for my own feline companion, Sophie. He is passionate about animals He shares his knowledge and experience on his blog to help other pet owners understand and care for their own beloved companions. Whether you need a pet-sitting service or advice on pet care, He is the go-to expert.

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