Stoat vs Ferret – Comparison of Your Little Pets

They belong to the same family, but they are not the same.

Stoats and ferrets along with their companions, weasels, come from the same family (Mustelid). They have quite a few similar features, which is why many people have a very hard time telling them apart. In fact, many people think that stoats and ferrets are the same! That’s not the case at all.

Stoats and ferrets are different animals with quite a few distinguishing features beyond their short legs. In this article on Stoat vs Ferret, we shall compare the two so that you learn how to tell them apart. Let’s start!

Stoat vs Ferret



  • They have a brown back and an almost white belly. The brown fur usually turns white when the weather becomes cold.
  • The tail is quite bushy and is always brown or black at the tip. It does not change its color during winters.
  • From head to tail, they measure between 34 and 40 cm.
  • Stoats are usually very thin. If you compare them to a rabbit, you will see that they are half the size!
  • They are quite adaptable when it comes to habitat and can live pretty much everywhere!
  • Stoats are native to Eurasia and North America, but they are also found in New Zealand because they were introduced to the country to control the infestation of rabbits.
  • They fight the prey and kill it by biting its ear. They are known to be very aggressive fighters.
  • Female stoats can carry fertilized eggs in the body. This is a very unique ability.
  • Stoats are abundant and not a concern to humans at all.



  • Ferrets measure between 48 and 56 cm from head to tail.
  • Their coat is usually creamy, and their fur has black tips. Their stomach is usually darkly colored.
  • They are aggressive predators as well and can take down an adult kiwi if the need arises.
  • Ferrets can live in many habitats just like the stoats.
  • They are most active at dawn and dusk and are known to sleep quite a lot.
  • Ferrets are endangered species and efforts are being taken to save them. Humans usually domesticate them for protection against rabbits in farms.

Differences between Stoats and Ferrets

There are two major, easily identifiable differences between stoats and ferrets. We have enlisted them here:

  1. Stoats are smaller than ferrets. In fact, large ferrets are double the size of an average stoat.
  2. Stoats have a pale belly while ferrets have a dark belly. This is the identification marker that many people use to distinguish them.

Another difference between the two animals is their activity. On the one hand, stoats are active all day and only take naps whenever they wish to. On the other hand, ferrets sleep a lot in long spans. They prefer to be active only during dawn and dusk.

We hope you can now differentiate between these two family members with ease. They are interesting animals to study and domesticate if the need arises.

Do you think you know more differences that we may have missed? Feel free to Comment, and we will add it to our article!

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