Weasel, the general name of the carnivorous mammals of the family mustelidoe, including many genera approaching the cats in bloodthirstiness. Most of these have been described under Badger, Ermine, Ferret, Fisher, Glutton, Marten, Mink, Otter, Polecat, Sable, and Skunk; indeed, most of the Amer-. ican weasels will be found under Ermine and Mink, the latter being the type of Cuvier's genus putorius, since divided into three by Wagner. The head is short and rounded; the dental formula is: incisors 3/3~3/3, canines 1/1-1/1 premolars 3/3-3/3, and molars ½-½=|1/16/8or 34, being one premolar fewer on each side, above and below, than in the less carnivorous genus mustela (Linn.); ears short and round; feet fivetoed, with sharp claws; hair fine and soft. They are small, with elongated bodies and short legs, giving them a peculiar gliding serpentine motion; they are very active, preying on small quadrupeds and birds, and so eager for blood that they kill indiscriminately all the animals they can overpower, usually breaking in at once the skull of their victims; they are sometimes destructive among poultry, their slender form enabling them to penetrate through very narrow openings; when alarmed or irritated, they exhale a disagreeable odor.

Our common or least weasel (P. pusillu8, Aud. and Bach.) is only 6 in. long, with a tail of 1 in., slender and not tufted nor tipped with black; it is dark brown above, the lower parts, inside of limbs, and upper lip white, this color extending high up on the sides; it becomes white, according to Richardson, in the fur countries during winter, but remains brown above all the year in the United States; it extends from New York to Minnesota and northward. The common European weasel (P. vulgaris, Cuv.), la belette of the French, is 6 or 7 in. long, with a tail of 2 in. more; it is reddish brown above, the upper part of tail like back, but lower surface white; it is said to become all white in winter in the far north. It is found throughout temperate Europe, generally near the abode of man; it is very agile and bold; it feeds upon moles, mice, and small birds, and is rather beneficial than injurious to the farmer. It much resembles the preceding species, but is lighter colored and has a longer tail.

The bridled weasel (P. frenatus, Aud. and Bach.), 11½ in. long, chestnut brown above and yellowish white below, nearly black on the head, with three white marks, between the eyes and in front of each ear, abounds in Texas and Mexico, about the Rio Grande.

Common European Weasel (Putorius vulgaris).

Common European Weasel (Putorius vulgaris).