African striped weasel

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African striped weasel
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mustelinae
Genus: Poecilogale
Thomas, 1883
Species: P. albinucha
Binomial name
Poecilogale albinucha
(Gray, 1864)
African Striped Weasel area.png
African striped weasel range

The African striped weasel (Poecilogale albinucha), the lone member of its genus, is a small, black and white weasel native to sub-Saharan Africa. It looks very much like a striped polecat, but it is much thinner and has shorter hair. It is a sleek, black color with a white tail and four white stripes running down its back. It is 50 cm (20 in) in length on average, including its tail of 20 cm (7.9 in).

The African striped weasel lives in forests, wetlands, and grasslands. It is a nocturnal hunter of small mammals, birds, and reptiles. The weasel kills its prey by whipping its own body and kicking, making use of its thin, lithe, muscular body to stun and tear the prey item. It sometimes stores its prey in its burrow instead of eating it immediately. Like skunks and polecats, the weasel emits a noxious fluid from its anal glands when it feels threatened. The weasel is generally solitary, but individuals have been found sharing burrows. According to African folklore, if one cuts off the nose of a weasel, it will grow back two shades lighter in colour, but it will bring misfortune to your family and lead to a poor harvest. This myth gave birth to expression "A weasel's nose is not to be trifled with."[citation needed]


  1. ^ Stuart, C., Stuart, T. & Hoffmann, M. (2008). Poecilogale albinucha. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern