Weasels v stoats

As I was heading up Blackstone Edge on my way home from work this evening, a weasel sped across the road in front of me. I haven't seen a weasel for years—although I did see and photograph a stoat in Anglesey last summer.

Slideshow: A stoat last summer

When I was a child, I was terrified of stoats and weasels, having once had a nightmare that my grandmother's mink stole came alive and attacked me. I always got the two creatures confused in my head: in my nature books, they looked very alike, so I could never remember which was which (although I knew that stoats have a black tip on their tails, if you can see them).

What wasn't immediately obvious from books was the two species' sizes. This is surely the easiest way to tell them apart. Weasels are much smaller than stoats. Whereas a stoat is roughly the size of a squirrel, a weasel is more like an elongated mouse. And an elongated mouse is certainly what I saw scuttling across the road at Blackstone Edge this evening.

[You didn't seriously expect me to repeat the old weaselly recognised/stoatally different joke, did you?]

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