(Last Updated On: March 21, 2021)

The back-striped weasel, scientific name Mustela strigidorsa, additionally known as the stripe-backed weasel, is a weasel extensively distributed in Southeastern Asia.

It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List in view of its presumed giant inhabitants, the prevalence in lots of protected areas, obvious tolerance to some degree of habitat modification, and looking strain.

Geographic Range

Stripe-backed weasels (Mustela strigidorsa) are discovered all through eastern Asia, with a range extending from the eastern Himalayas into southern China and the northern areas of Southeast Asia.

These mustelids are seldom seen all through their range and are sometimes misidentified. However, there have been confirmed sightings of the species within the northern areas of India, central Myanmar, southern China, northern Thailand, and the central and northern areas of Laos and Vietnam. The southern restriction of the species stays unclear.

Back-Striped Weasel Distribution and habitat

The prevalence of the stripe-backed weasel has been confirmed from scattered localities in and around northeastern India, northern and central Myanmar, southern China, northern Thailand, northern and central Laos, and Vietnam at an elevation range from sea level to 2,500 m (8,200 ft).

It inhabits all kinds of habitats, and it isn’t but possible to outline its habitat wants. Specimens collected got here from dense hill jungle, hill evergreen forest, disturbed evergreen forest, decrease montane evergreen forest, and lowland evergreen forest. Most subject sightings had been in daylight.

Recorded documentation of stripe-backed weasels’ habitat preferences is uncommon. Their habitat preferences could also be inferred from the looking experiences of indigenous people.

Descriptions of this species habitat embrace thick jungle, dense hill jungle, and reasonable forest inside its Palearctic distribution.

Stripe-backed weasels may be present in scrubby regenerating forests all through their range, however have additionally been captured within the evergreen forests of Thailand and Vietnam. Stripe-backed weasels are usually described as a montane species.

They could favor comparatively high altitudes and have been noticed at elevations starting from 90 meters in northern Myanmar to 2,500 meters in China and India.

In China, M. strigidorsa has inhabited river valleys at altitudes starting from 1,200 to 2,200 meters above sea-level. Animals residing at low altitudes seem to favor rugged terrain. The particular habitat wants of this species are unsure, because of the vast number of habitats wherein it has been sighted.

Back-Striped Weasel Description

Stripe-backed weasels sometimes have body lengths of 30 to 36 cm. The tail of this mustelid is long, measuring 18 to 20 cm. The body mass of stripe-backed weasels is estimated between 1 to 2 kg.

Stripe-backed weasels are largely reddish brown and have a particular, skinny, cream-colored stripe from their mid-nape, down the middle of their back, and onto the first third of their tails.

This trait is diagnostic and never seen in different carnivores. Stripe-backed weasels’ chins and chests are additionally a yellow-cream color. Their eyes are very black and small and their ear pinnae are effectively hidden by fur. This species has the standard Mustelid dental system: I3/3, C1/1, PM3/3, M1/2 = 34.

Back-Striped Weasel Characteristics

The back-striped weasel is distinguished from all different Mustela species by the presence of a slim, silvery dorsal streak extending from the occiput virtually to the basis of the tail, with a corresponding yellowish ventral streak from the chest alongside the stomach.

The basic color of the dorsal floor varies from deep to paler chocolate brown, typically just a little paler on the pinnacle and often barely darkened alongside the aspect of the dorsal streak. The tail and limbs are of an identical hue because of the back.

The higher lip from the rhinarium, the chin, and the throat as much as the level of the ears is pale various from whitish to ochreous.

On the hind throat and fore chest, the pale hue step by step narrows in extent and is kind of slim between the forelegs, the place it passes into the ventral streak, which expands on the inguinal area between thighs.

The pads of the feet are effectively developed, the plantar adverts being four-lobed, with the realm round them fully naked.

The bushy tail is reasonably long, being more than half the size of the pinnacle and body. The size of the head and body of males is 30–36 cm (12–14 in), whereas the tail size is 18–20 cm (7.1–7.9 in). A live-captured juvenile male was estimated to weigh solely 700 g (1.5 lb).


Stripe-backed weasels scent-mark their residence ranges, almost definitely as an intraspecific communication mechanism for sustaining territories.


Mustela strigidorsa scent marks their territories. Daytime exercise ranges are undocumented; nevertheless, most subject sightings of this elusive animal have been made in the course of the day. Behavioral traits of the species haven’t been effectively documented and are in need of additional investigation.

Food Habit

Little is thought about their dietary habits. One potential prey species is the bandicoot rat. One research documented a stripe-backed weasel attacking a bandicoot rat by biting and holding onto its nostril.

Stripe-backed weasels have been noticed foraging around useless logs, inspecting the cracks and crevices, probably looking for bugs, grubs, and worms that reside inside the logs. Likewise, one file documented a weasel looking and capturing an unidentified rat close to a stream.

Back-Striped Weasel

Back-Striped Weasel Reproduction

Little is thought about the breeding behaviors of stripe-backed weasels.

It is unknown whether or not these species have delayed implantation, a reproductive trait that isn’t unusual in mustelids.

Key Reproductive Features gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate) sexual

Little is thought in regards to the parental funding of stripe-backed weasels.


This species has been noticed killing rodents within the wild, so it could have some function in controlling rodent populations. The behavior of the intently associated Japanese weasel (Mustela sibrica itatsi) means that they could be an efficient predator of nuisance rats.

Due to stripe-backed weasels shut relation to Japanese weasels, this may occasionally indicate in addition they have some skill to control nuisance rodents. Stripe-backed weasels are additionally hosts for parasitic nematodes (Skrjabingylus nasicola), that are frequent in mustelids of the Palearctic area.


The back-striped weasel is probably threatened by snares positioned in its habitat, which goal small edible wildlife.


The back-striped weasel is protected in Thailand and nationally listed as Endangered in China.

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