How do We Get Ermine From a Stoat?

We think of ermine as a “royal” fur, and there is a reason for it. At one time, only members of the royal family were allowed to wear ermine. Later, nobles and government of officials were allowed to wear this valuable fur.

Their rank was shown by the arrangement of the black tail tips. Ermine comes from the stoat. It is the white winter coat that certain species of stoat develop. This happens to stoat only in cold regions, such as Canada, Iceland and Siberia.

Here the fur changes to pure white in the winter. In milder climates, the fur changes only slightly from the summer coloring of reddish brown on the back and yellowish white on the underneath.


Stoats are  closely related to weasels, minks, and martens. All of the species have slender bodies, short legs, sharp-clawed feet and quite long necks. In the United States and Canada, the commonest species is the long-tailed weasel.

The males are about 40 centimeters long and the females about 33 centimeters. Both have tails about 10 centimeters long. The short-tailed weasel is about 5 centimeters shorter than the long-tailed species.

It is also lighter in coloring, and the tail is only about 5 centimeters long. An event smaller weasel is found in Alaska and northern 5 centimeters long. An even smaller weasel is found in Alaska and northern Canada. This is called a “least” weasel.

There is a large species in the southern part of the united States that keeps the same coloring all year. Generally speaking, the weasel can be considered a friends of man. Weasels are tireless hunters and they destroy vermin, rats, mice, rabbits, and certain birds.

But many a farmer will tell you the weasel is quite an enemy, too, because weasels love to rob poultry houses. A single weasel has been known to kill 40 hens in one night!

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