I’m a big fan of weasels and their brethren. There are no members, from what I can tell with my extensive wikipedia research, that don’t pass muster. They are lithe, fast, strong, oddly immune to harm and morally unhinged. I’ve seen ferrets hurl themselves down flights of stairs only to get to the bottom and dance in a fit of self-adulation.  They are the vikings of the mammal world and could be a genuine threat if they could stop jumping around long enough to organise themselves.

The thing most often spoken about them, and justifiably so, is their ability to take down prey much, much larger than themselves.

I’m now going to post a whole roster of videos and pictures which demonstrate the obscene feats of murder that mustelids can perform. These will include lots of very nice animals dying. It should also be mentioned that youtube, while hosting many of these fascinating videos, often links them to much more grotesque and cruel material and they contain particular idiotic comments (even by youtube’s standards). Stick to their embedded versions below where possible. I’ve been unable to check the audio so it could be filled with ‘Flips’ and ‘Hecks’ and maybe a ‘For Pete’s sake.’

I’m going to start with a very popular choice at the moment

Whilst nearly reaching a point of saturation, this is still fantastic.The only thing that leaves a sour taste in my mouth is how the narrative changed from “bold murder choices” to “altruistic woodpecker offers a ride”. We can’t be so lily-livered that the idea of an animal trying to a kill another animal, no matter how bombastic, needs to white washed into bland whimsy. A weasel tried to kill a woodpecker and that is amazing. Let’s appreciate that.

Even though nowhere near as popular, this is just as amazing.

Having seen gannets fly closely, they appreciable massive animals. Juvenile gannets can weigh up 4kg. Mink, at their heaviest, weigh roughly 1.5kg. Plus gannets can fly, have giant stabby faces and live in the sea. Mink should just hunt narwhals and have done with it. Although narwhals don’t fly. You know what I mean.

Apparently hunting at sea is no big deal for mink.

Ignore the title of that video. That isn’t a stoat, it’s obviously a mink. And not an otter like some comments say. It’s a kick ass mink, kicking ass on the high seas.

That’s a mink having a jolly good go at killing the heaviest European bird, one nearly 10 times heavier than itself. If a swan can break a man’s arm, what could a mink do? We probably shouldn’t keep them in orphanages until more research is done.
I’m fairly sure this is a very common strategy for minks. I’m imagining with them being a largely nocturnal creature most of these activities happen under the cover of darkness, killing birds roosting on open water but this is wild speculation.

They aren’t just interested in size seemingly, sometimes something just needs to be beautiful to deserve killing. We can all agree that this due to the kingfisher’s hubris.

In case that was too small, here is another mink trying to kill a swan.

I’m not sure which species of mink are featured in these videos, but my assumption is most are American mink with the exception of the last one.

Not wanting to be left out of the bird murdering here is a weasel dispatching a magpie.

Similar sized, minus the tail, to a green woodpecker. This yet again might be a more common strategy than one would have assumed. The weight of a weasel means it could probably survive a fall from a surprising height if they were to be dropped by potential prey.

Another strongly mislabeled video. This are almost certainly asiatic short-clawed otters. They are highly social (which is rare in mustelids) and this video seems to show them working somewhat cooperatively to kill what is a potential dangerous animal. There is no start to this video but my assumption is that the monkey (a marmoset or tamarin, by the looks of it) fell into the water and couldn’t swim out quick enough. It’s fellow primates pathetically trying to stop the attach makes it a difficult clip to watch. Otters are quite commonly kept with different species in large jungle rooms in several zoos, which is possible a policy that should be rethought. But then again, you might miss out on stuff like this next video

This next video is wonderful, both because of it’s obviously absurd content and the wipes used to cut between shots. I would have gone for a more classic starwipe but I’m a traditionalist.

It’s an odd video. I believe these are captive otters, seemingly well fed at that. Was this entirely defensive on the mother otter’s part? Wouldn’t a few bites be sufficient? Is it satiating a need to kill, like a house cat might do? If so, a heron is an odd choice for that particular motive.

Giant otters, being giant, have a much greater scope of potential prey. They seem to be very inquisitive animals, with several videos of them approaching large, dangerous animals, such as caiman and anaconda. They seem to be trying to provoke a response, possibly to see if they make for an easy meal. This appears to be occasionally successful

River otters are capable of controlling huge fish well enough to drag them onto land before killing them. Anyone who has held even a small fish knows that they are just a powerful, scaly muscle. The strength of a 5 foot plus conger eel wouldn’t be a trifling matter.

Here is a polecat taking on a large colubrid, unsuccessfully. It appears to be reluctant to head into the water for some reason. It feels somewhat staged but that could be my cynicism playing up

I was hoping I would trundle onto youtube, type “wolverine kills” and see some ridiculous footage of them pulling adult bison into the snow and dragging pilot whales out of the sea but there is very little of interest. This could be for a number of reasons. They inhabit very isolated places and seem to do poorly near human habitation, meaning candid videos as the type seen earlier are less likely to occur. They also scavenge a lot. They are reported to kill deer and there are seemingly multiple records of them killing much larger competition. For now, the plethora of delights above will have to do.

I’ve chosen to omit a lot from this post. Videos of stoats and weasels killing rabbits are ten a penny. There is a video claiming to show an otter killing a harbour seal but the video is nowhere clear enough to discern anything besides an otter eating a distant lump. There is also plenty of footage, both professional and amateur, showing mustelids fending off much larger predators but that deserves a post all of it’s own. I’ve neglected to include any martens, several other otters and weasels, hog-weasels, badgers and a whole slew of impressive creatures so there might be a second post in this.

A huge omission is the sea otter. They seem to be the dullest of all the mustelids, rarely varying their pathetic, uninspiring diet of molluscs and sea urchins. Oh yes, they’ll take fish once in a while but there is no indication of any epic marine battles taking place. Quite a shame really. My first paragraph is therefore completely wrong but I’m too stubborn to change that now.