Nongame Wildlife Program
If you catch a glimpse of a long-tailed weasel in Alabama, you will be one of the few Alabamians who have, as this smallest carnivore of Alabama is rarely seen in the state.
Long-tailed weasels are the rarest member of the weasel (mustelid) family in Alabama, with their more common kin being river otters and the somewhat less common being mink. All members of the weasel family, have long, cylindrical bodies, short legs, and powerful jaws for catching and killing prey. Long-tailed weasels may be confused with mink but can be distinguished in a few ways. Weasels are small, about the size of a gray squirrel, whereas mink are a little larger. Long-tailed weasels are distinctly two-tone in color, being brown on top and creamy-white below, whereas mink are uniformly dark brown with an occasional white chin or white spot on the chest. Long-tailed weasels also have a clearly black-tipped tail. Mink fur may gradually become darker toward the back of the body and tail, but the tail does not have the obvious black tip. Mink are semi-aquatic, meaning they live and hunt in and around water. Long-tailed weasels may be found near waterbodies, but also occur in upland areas.
Little is known about the long-tailed weasels’ abundance, distribution, and ecology in the state. As a first step to learn more about the weasel in the state, we need your help by reporting sightings with photographs (including game camera photos and any roadkill) along with locations (a GPS point or address is preferred).
By mapping the location of long-tailed weasels in the state, we may be able to get a clearer picture of their population status, habitat preferences and more on their life history and conservation needs. Please send your photos with date and location of the observation to: [email protected]