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Why is it a problem?

Introduced into New Zealand in the mid-1800s, the weasel is a member of the mustelid family, along with the larger stoats and the much larger ferrets. They are known to be predated by cats, an aspect of the complex predator guild not well-understood on braided rivers. While they are not as much of a problem as stoats, they are also agile, excellent climbers that hunt at any time, day or night, are known predators of some native birds and particularly native reptiles and invertebrates.



Similar in colour and general appearance to stoats, weasels have distinctly shorter tails. Like stoats, there is a clear demarcation in colour from the reddish-brown fur on their backs and their yellow-white belly fur. Male weasels are 200mm long and weigh 130g. Females are 170-240mm and weight  60g. In alpine areas, some develop a pure white winter fur, though this is rare in NZ.

Where is it found?

Not as common as stoats, but is found along braided rivers throughout New Zealand.

Stoat trap with stoat (left) and weasel (right).

Conservation activities

  • Trapping. The DOC 150 and 200, designed more for stoats, is suitable for weasels if the trigger for a lighter weight. Click on the link above for video instructions.
  • Where you can buy or order DOC 200 traps ($75-$90 each)
  • If you are interested in helping out with or starting up a local trapping programme, please contact your nearest DOC office or contact one of the local rivercare groups.

More information