African Striped Weasel (Poecilogale albinucha)


aka … African Weasel, Snake Muishond, Striped Muishond, Striped Weasel, Weasel, White-naped Weasel

The females are called : ‘bitch‘, ‘doe‘ or ‘jill‘, while the males are known as ‘buck‘, ‘dog‘, ‘hub‘ or ‘jack‘. A group of these striped weasels is called a ‘boogle‘ 😮

African Striped Weasel (Wikipedia )


The Latin word “poecilogale” is in fact made up of two words – poecilo, a Latin prefix for an old Greek word “poikilos”, which means spotted, and gale, another old Greek word for pole cat; marten or weasel.

Albinucha is Latin and means white nape, so I guess we could say that the African striped weasel is actually Spotted Weasel White Nape 😀

The Africaans name for weasel is “muishond” so the African striped weasel is called the snake or striped muishond in South Africa. However the confusing thing is that muishond is also the Africaans name for the mongoose.


The African striped weasel is long and sleek, has very short legs and is the smallest carnivore in Africa.

The animals are black and white and have a white patch on top of their head, which looks like a maid’s cap 😉 That white cap splits into 3 lines which run down their back and join at the base of their tail and turns into a grey tail.

Their fur reminds me of a Greater Grison with that cap on its head, and it also looks very similar to a zorilla but has the sleek build and the slinky gait of a weasel.[wp_ad_camp_2]

It also looks very much like a skunk and has the same foul habit of spraying a very stinky fluid from its anal glands if it feels cornered or threatened. No wonder they assumed skunks were from the same family as weasels back in the day 😮


The male striped weasels tend to be approximately 35-50% larger than females in body mass. Females weigh in at 230 – 290g (8.11-10.22 oz) while males usually weigh between 283 – 380g (9.98-13.39 oz).


The mating process between striped weasels is much like that of ferrets – pretty violent with lots of growling and boys throwing the girls around 😮 However, unlike ferrets and many other mustelids, the girls don’t exhibit delayed implantation.

Gestation is just 30 days ± and litter usually consists of 1-3 kits. The females only have one litter a year but if they lose the first litter, they’ll mate again so that they produce a 2nd litter. The females have two pairs of mammae.

Kits are born hairless and only open their eyes when they’re 7 weeks old. They’re weaned at 11 weeks, know how to kill prey when they reach 13 weeks and are fully grown at 20 weeks old.

One website I checked stated that young females usually have their first litter when she reaches her 19th month but young males only become in rut when they’re 33 months old, whereas a pdf I read (see below) said that both males and females reach sexual maturity when they’re 8 months old. :/


Like other mustelids, the striped weasel is a carnivore but, according to a research paper by Serge Larivière, published by the American Society of Mammalogists in 2001, the weasel feeds “almost exclusively on rodents up to its own size”.

Larivière’s research found that “although striped weasels may eat reptiles, insects, and eggs, captive striped weasels, when presented with small mammals, snakes, eggs and insects, attacked and ate only small mammals.”


No scientist could say how long a striped weasel lived in the wild but one couple in captivity was still living when they were 6 years old.

Distribution & Habitat

African striped weasels can be found in the forests, grasslands and marshy areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Map : Udo Schröter - Wikimedia
Udo Schröter – Wikimedia

Conservation Status

The African striped weasel is considered Lower Risk Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website.






How to say “African Striped Weasel” in other languages

  • Africaans: Slangmuishond
  • Arabic: ابن عرس مخطط أفريقي
  • Bulgarian: Африканска невестулка
  • Chinese: 白頸鼬
  • Croatian: Afrička prugasta kuna
  • Dutch: Witnekwezel
  • Finnish: Kirjokärppä / valkoniskahilleri
  • French: Poecilogale à nuque blanche / belette rayee / belette africaine
  • German: Kappen-iltis / Weißnackenwiesel
  • Hebrew: סמור אפריקאי
  • Hungarian: Rövidlábú görény
  • Italian: donnola striata africana
  • Polish: Lasica afrykanska
  • Portuguese: Doninha-de-nuca-branca
  • Spanish: Comadreja rayada africana
  • Swahili: Chororo
  • Tswana: Nak
  • Turkish: Afrika seritli gelincigi
  • Xhosa: Ixhwili
  • Zulu / isiZulu: Inyengelezi / Nyengelezi




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