African Striped Weasel: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

African striped weasel facts tell us they are a species native to Sub-Saharan Africa.

There are 17 extant species from the weasels family. The African striped weasel (Poecilogale albinucha) belongs to this family. The African striped weasel (Poecilogale albinucha) is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and southern South Africa. They are mostly found in regions south of the equator in forests and grasslands.

An African striped weasel (Poecilogale albinucha) is predominantly a carnivore and feeds on rodents, including mice, birds, and eggs. Males and females reproduce via sexual reproduction and give birth to one to three kits in one season. African striped weasels help keep the rodent population under control. They are classified as a Least Concern species by the IUCN Red List. Males tend to be larger compared to females primarily due to sexual dimorphism. They are nocturnal beings and try their best to avoid being seen by possible predators.

For more relatable content, check out these fact files on long-tailed weasel and marsupial mole.

African Striped Weasel

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Mice, birds, and eggs

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.8 lb (339 g)

How long are they?

11-13 in (27.9-33 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black with four white to pale bands on their back

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Foxes, owls, hawks, snakes, and eagles

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Forests and grasslands


Africa and south of the equator





Scientific Name

Poecilogale albinucha





African Striped Weasel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African striped weasel?

The African striped weasel belongs to kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and order Carnivora.

What class of animal does an African striped weasel belong to?

The African striped weasel is a type of weasel that belongs to class Mammalia, family Mustelidae, and genus Poecilogale.

How many African striped weasels are there in the world?

The African striped weasel's (Poecilogale albinucha) exact population in the world is not known. They are classified as a Least Concern species and are predominantly found in Africa.  

Where does an African striped weasel live?

African striped weasels live in forests and grasslands. They are seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and southern Africa. They are mostly found in regions south of the equator.

What is an African striped weasel's habitat?

An African striped weasel's habitat consists of forests and grasslands. They prefer residing in habitats close to where they can access food, mostly rodents, easily. They can build a burrow in no time and they leave their burrow only when they need to search for prey. An African striped weasel habitat also includes scrub forests and marsh regions.

Who do African striped weasels live with?

African striped weasels are mostly solitary creatures. However, they might pair up to dig burrows and come together during mating season. Weasels coexist with other species in the wild. An African striped weasel pup usually stays in its burrow until it is fully independent.

How long does an African striped weasel live?

The average African striped weasel life expectancy is five years. Their age is dependent on their diet and habitat. The bowhead whale is the oldest mammal in the world and has been recorded to have lived up to 211 years.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction in males and females occurs from September to April. They reach sexual maturity at one and a half years. They mate similar to ferrets involving growling and other courtship displays. Females tend to mate with multiple mates throughout their life. A weasel's litter includes one to three young. If their pup is lost, they tend to mate a second time during the breeding season. The gestation period lasts 31-33 days, however the gestation period may be delayed in some instances. Their young litter is weaned by eleven weeks, and they stay in burrows for a few more weeks until they become independent.

What is their conservation status?

The African striped weasel is classified as a Least Concern species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The IUCN Red List of Species contains information related to the conservation status and range map of most species.

African Striped Weasel Fun Facts

What do African striped weasels look like?

African striped weasels have slender, sleek, and long bodies with short legs and paws with sharp but short claws. They are small mammals with a white tail that measures 5.1-9.1 in (130-230 mm). Their tail is long and bushy. Their upper parts are colored black with black and white longitudinal stripes along their body. Their underparts are mostly black. Males tend to be bigger compared to females and they also have different reproductive functions as females have two pairs of mammae. They have a small face with two dark-colored eyes on either side. They are seldom seen out in the open during the daytime and come out of their burrows at night to stay away from predators.

African striped weasels have an overall black fur coat with multiple black and white stripes lines that run along their backs.
* Please note that this image is of a common weasel, not an African striped weasel. If you have an image of an African striped weasel, please let us know at

How cute are they?

They are extremely cute in appearance and are small mammals with short legs. However, it is not safe to approach them closely when observed in the wild. You can observe them from a distance, but chances are they run into their burrows. Their color is extremely attractive along with their white fluffy tails. They are spotted only in Sub-Saharan Africa, South African regions, and similar regions south of the equator. An African striped weasel pup is extremely cute and adorable although they are seldom seen in the wild.

How do they communicate?

These small mammals are largely silent beings and communicate via tactile and chemical means. They are mostly silent beings, however, they do communicate via mating and other activities to other species of their own kind. They forage for food at night where they can kill their prey easily.

How big is an African striped weasel?

The average African striped weasel body length is 11-13 in (27.9-33 cm), which is six times bigger than the smallest weasel, the least weasel, measuring 5.1-13.8 in (13-35 cm) in length.

How fast can an African striped weasel run?

An African striped weasel's exact speed is not known. However, the average weasel is expected to travel at 15 mph (24.1 kph).

How much does an African striped weasel weigh?

An African striped weasel weighs 0.8 lb (339 g). The wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family and weighs 19.8-55.1 lb (9-25 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female weasels are not addressed differently. However, in Ireland, the stoat animal is often referred to as a weasel. In North America, they call a stoat a short-tailed weasel. A male stoat is called a hob, dog, or jack, while a female is called a jill. Male weasels tend to be bigger in size and differ in reproductive functions.

What would you call a baby African striped weasel?

A baby African striped weasel is called a kit or pup. Kits or pups are raised in burrows which are usually taken over by rats and other rodents. The young pup or kit is dependent on its female, the mother, in the first few weeks.

What do they eat?

An African striped weasel is a carnivorous being and feeds on animals including rodents like mice, rats, eggs, or birds like the hermit thrush which builds its nest on the ground and is a small bird. Weasels are opportunistic hunters and can feed up to 50% of their body weight every day. Weasels do not kill cats or dogs, however, they are known to bite them if a cat or a dog follows them.

Are they dangerous?

Weasels pose no threat to humans, however, they prefer to avoid human contact and stay in a burrow for the most part. They pose a threat to dogs and cats and other animals whom they may attack but not kill. They only attack if they are in a position of threat within their range.

Would they make a good pet?

No, weasels are innately wild animals, so it is best to observe them in their natural habitat. This mammalian creature hides instantly if they spot a human or any predatory being. They also come out only at night, making it more difficult to spot them within their range. Weasels are black in color with black and white stripes on their back.

Did you know...

Weasels have the capability of swimming from one place to another from a young age. Apart from swimming, they are efficient in climbing as well.

A movie titled' The Adventures Of Icahabad And Mr. Toad' featured weasels as antagonists in the 1949 Disney film.

Is the African striped weasel endemic?

Yes, the African striped weasel is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and southern South Africa. They are mostly found in regions south of the equator. They are nocturnal beings and seldom spotted out in the open during the daytime.

How many babies does a weasel have at once?

A weasel litter typically has one to three young. If the pup or kit does not survive, the weasel tries to breed again during the breeding season, so they are successful. Females tend to mate with multiple mates throughout their life.  The gestation period may be delayed in some instances. The pup or kit stays in its burrow for a few weeks until they become independent.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Virginia opossum facts and langur monkey facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African striped weasel coloring pages.



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