The weasel is a member of the Mustelidae family of mammals. Several species of weasel exist around the world and all are listed under the genus Mustela. In the state of Oregon, three species from this genus are found in the wild. Also found in the state are a number of other members of the Mustelidae family who are closely related to weasels.
The ermine is a type of weasel that grows to between 17 and 18 inches in length, nose to tail, with a long thin body and short legs. They are found in northern regions globally and are found commonly in Oregon. Throughout the summer, the animal has a brown coat, but once winter hits, it sheds and grows a pure white coat for camouflage. They make their homes in marshes and woodlands living in ground burrows, tree holes or rocky crevices.
The long-tailed weasel is a long, thin, short legged mammal which can grow up to 30 inches in length, nose to tail. It is a very common species found throughout the U.S., up to southern Canada and down into areas of Mexico. The species is light to dark brown in color with a lighter tan color on the stomach. In the southern areas of their range, they keep this coat year round; in colder northern climates, they grow a pure white winter coat. They are very adaptable and live in woodlands, marshes and urban areas.
The American mink is a large member of the weasel family, reaching lengths of 41 inches, nose to tail, with the classic long, short-legged body shape. They generally have a waterproof, thick dark brown coat which has made them desirable for the fur trade. They are found in most of Canada and the more northern areas of the U.S., including Oregon. The species is semi-aquatic so is often found in woodland areas near rivers and streams.
The state of Oregon is also home to seven other close relatives of the weasel. The American marten and the fisher who resemble the weasel in body shape are natives. The wolverine, which is one of the largest members of the Mustelidae family, is also found in the state as is the American badger, another close relative. Skunks also fall into the same family as weasels with Oregon being home to two species: the western spotted and the striped. The river otter is also related and can be found in the state's waterways.
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