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Amazon Weasel (Mustela africana)

  • Amazon Weasel (Mustela africana)

    Common Name/s: Amazon Weasel  
    Scientific name: Mustela africana
    Brazilian common name/s: Doninha amazônica

    Quick facts (average values with minimum and maximum in parenthesis)

    Body length (cm): (26-33)a  Tail (cm):  (17-23) a Diet: Carnivorous
    Weight (kg):  Height (cm):  Home range (km2): 
    Litter size:
      Gestation (days):  Longevity (years): 
    Social structure: 
    Activity pattern: 

    a (Emmons & Feer 1997)

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

    Habitat and Ecology
    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, however distributional limits of its range are not known (Emmons & Helgen 2008).
    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 (Emmons & Helgen 2008). 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 (Emmons & Helgen 2008). The species is classified by IBAMA as threatened with extinction.

    Online links
    IUCN redlist ( presents a summary of current knowledge on 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.

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