(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The Amazon weasel, scientific name Mustela africana, also referred to as the tropical weasel, is a species of weasel native to South America. It was first recognized from a museum specimen mislabelled as coming from Africa, therefore the scientific name.

Geographic Range

Amazon weasels (Mustela africana), also referred to as tropical weasels, are present in South America. Early scientific data concerning Amazon weasels inaccurately described their native range as Africa, which has led to some confusion about their scientific name.

This species is believed to be native to Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, however, their range can also embrace the Amazon Basin in Brazil.


Amazon weasels have been present in humid areas, primarily in forests near the banks of rivers. Along with just a few different weasels, they’ve interdigital webbing, which can enable them to maneuver by the water with more ease and will clarify why they dwell so near river banks.

Amazon Weasel Description

The largest of the three species of South American weasel, Amazon weasels measure 43 to 52 cm (17 to 20 in) in total size, together with a tail 16 to 21 cm (6.three to 8.3 in) long.

They have a typical body type for weasels, with a long, slender, torso and brief legs and ears. They have brief fur which varies from reddish to darkish brown on the higher body and is pale orange-tan on the underparts.

A stripe of fur the identical color to that on the higher body runs down the center of the chest and throat. The whiskers are brief and the soles of the feet virtually hairless. Females have three pairs of teats.

Amazon weasels are small animals, the world from the tip of their nostril to their tail is lower than 400 mm. Along with different weasels, Amazon weasels have brief legs and long bodies.

They are very comparable in look to long-tailed weasels. Both are brown with a pale underside and neither have markings on their faces. The solely visually obvious distinction between them is the darkish brown stripe that runs down the abdomen of Amazon weasels.

Distribution and habitat

Amazon weasels are recognized to inhabit the Amazon basin in northern Brazil and eastern Peru and Ecuador. However, the total extent of their range is unknown, they usually most likely additionally inhabit southern Colombia, Venezuela, and the Guyanas, in addition to northern Bolivia.

The area is roofed by tropical rainforest, and, whereas detailed habitat preferences are unknown, the weasel has largely been recovered close to rivers.

Amazon Weasel Communication

There is at the moment little or no information obtainable concerning Amazon weasels since they aren’t very well-known. However, on the whole, species in the family Mustelidae exhibit enlarged scent glands.

These glands are the source of a thick secretion referred to as musk. This scent is used for communication with different species and for protection functions.

Weasels additionally mark their dwelling range to ascertain their territory. Amazon weasels can also have many alternative methods of speaking utilizing vocalizations like different members of the weasel family.

Weasels make a hissing sound after they really feel threatened and a high-pitched sound when encountering a mate. Overall, weasels have a very good sense of vision, listening to, and scent. Many species of weasels rely totally on listening to whereas looking but additionally use their sense of scent.

Weasels are additionally in a position to detect ultrasonic vocalizations. Their enhanced olfactory capabilities could also be considerably based mostly on their muzzle building.

The placement of their eyes permits them to see in front and on the edges. They are in a position to see pretty effectively throughout the day and at night.


Weasels are usually hunted by bigger predators corresponding to foxes, coyotes, owls, and hawks. However, predators that do kill weasels could not eat them as a result of they don’t style well.

Biology and behavior

The Amazon weasel isn’t seen and little is understood of its habits. They eat rodents and different small mammals and have been reported to assemble burrows within the stumps of hole bushes.

They have been discovered from sea level to 1,250 m (4,100 ft), and have been reported to swim in rivers or estuaries, generally removed from the shore.

Since Amazon weasels are arduous to seek out and observe, there is no such thing as information obtainable about their behavior.

Other weasels, corresponding to least weasels, stand on their hind legs, which permits them to watch their environment whereas foraging. Weasels additionally carry out a dance behavior, which is alleged to distract prey so they don’t anticipate an assault.


Currently, there is no such thing as particular information obtainable concerning the lifespan of Amazon weasels as a result of they’re troublesome to seek out and examine.

However, comparable species, corresponding to least weasels (Mustela nivalis) and long-tailed weasels (Mustela frenata), have a most captive lifespan of 9 years and eight years, respectively.

Amazon Weasel Food Habits

There isn’t any information obtainable on the foraging habits of Amazon weasels particularly, however, the foraging behaviors of different weasels have been documented.

Weasels have an elaborate foraging process. They use all of their senses to seek out prey. Since their our bodies are near the ground, they have a tendency to look below every part.

Weasels often seek prey for a brief period of time and relaxation before attempting once more. Weasels are in a position to carry their prey, which almost certainly means they take it back to their den.

Weasels are thought of as small predators they usually often go after smaller prey together with rabbits, squirrels, rats, and voles. Weasels are good hunters and are in a position to go after and efficiently take down prey greater then themselves.

Amazon Weasel

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Amazon Weasel Reproduction

There is at the moment no mating information obtainable particular to Amazon weasels, nonetheless; on the whole, feminine weasels have been recognized to mate with a number of males.

Reproduction information on Amazon weasels is scarce. However, well-known weasel species, corresponding to least weasels, have a 34 to 37-day gestation interval.

If meals are plentiful, the females can rapidly go into warmth once more after caring for their first litter. The breeding season often happens throughout the hotter months. Offspring are inclined to change into unbiased in regards to the fifth week.

In normal, weasels don’t spend a lot of time caring for his or her offspring, offering solely milk and a little safety from predators.

When meals are plentiful, females are more targeted on producing one other litter than spending time with their earlier litter. When there’s not an overabundance of meals, females will hunt and produce back prey for their offspring without an assist from the male.


There shouldn’t be ample information for Amazon weasels particularly. However, least weasels are present in temperate farmlands and forests and have been recognized to devour massive quantities of small prey species of their territories.

At least weasels can even carry pores and skin parasites corresponding to lice, ticks, and mites. Amazon weasels probably encounter these similar pores and skin parasites.


Amazon weasels are listed as a ‘Least Concern’ species on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species as a result of scientists consider they nonetheless have large inhabitants dwelling within the Amazonian forest.

This weasel can be thought of as a Data Deficient species as a result of scientists have no idea a lot about them. It shouldn’t be recognized whether or not this species can deal with anthropogenic disturbances within the atmosphere.

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