Amazon Weasel

Mustela africana

©Ricardo Cavani

Standard English Name

Amazon weasel

Scientific Name

Mustela africana

Brazilian common name/s


Distribution Map - IUCN

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Physical Description

This animal is one of the least known mammals in South America. It has a length of 40 to 60 cm and brown colouration, with a ventral region a little clearer. The four feet have no hair on the surface and the fingers are connected by membranes, suggesting a semi-aquatic habit.

Ecology and Habitat

The distribution of this species is uncertain, but there are records from some isolated locations throughout most of the Amazon basin, from the east of Ecuador to north-east Peru.
The diet probably consists of small vertebrates.

Threats and Conservation

As it is a poorly studied species there is as yet no clear idea of the population status. The few available records suggest that it is naturally rare and it is assumed that the destruction of their habitat could compromise even more strongly the survival of the species. The species is classified by IBAMA as threatened with extinction.

General information

Average values with minimum and maximum in parentheses

Body / tail length (cm):

(26-33)a / (17-23) a



Weight (kg) / Height (cm):

- / -

Living area (km2):


Number of puppies / Gestation (days):

- / -

Longevity (years):


Social structure:


Activity pattern:


a (Emmons & Feer 1997)

Online links

IUCN redlist ( presents a synthesis of current knowledge about distribution and conservation status.


Emmons, L. H., & Feer, F. (1997). Neotropical rainforest mammals: a field guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Emmons, L., & Helgen, K. (2008). Mustela africana. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.2. <>, , Downloaded on 05 July 2010.

Learn more about Brazilian carnivore species