O stoats and weasels!

Leaving aside the fact that the title of this blog post would make quite a good mild expletive - something definitely due a comeback after all the explicit four letter words on reality TV - it reflects a frustration I've finally decided to finish.

Taking the dog for an afternoon walk in pale autumn sunlight [ok, this is a repost of an old one, but to be honest, pale autumn sunlight seems about the best we can hope for this July], our path was crossed by a creature resembling a stretched limo version of a mouse. But was it a stoat or a weasel? Which is the mouse-sized version?

My frustrated lack of ability to remember is stoked to greater heights of fury by a friend and ex-King's Singer (but that's another story) I occasionally go for a walk with, who has the habit of gnomically uttering 'a weasel is w-easily recognised as a stoat is s-totally different' or some such remark, which doesn't help a great deal.

If I read Wikipedia right, the weasel, as we know it in the UK, is actually the least weasel and is a lot smaller than the stoat. (Don't you just love it that an animal can be a 'least something'?) So with natural perversity, the one with the shorter name is the bigger of the two (to help me remember). So there.

This post first appeared on my Nature Network blog - I'm bringing some of the old posts over to my new home, as the NN blog is liable to disappear soon.

Image from Wikipedia