Mustelids (Ferret, Stoat, Weasel)


General description

Ferrets are the largest of the mustelids (600-1,300 g) and are distinguished by a dark 'mask' across the eyes. Stoats are smaller (200-350 g) and are orange-brown with a white-cream underbelly and a black tip at the end of the tail. Weasels are the smallest (60-120 g) and are orange-brown with a white-cream underbelly and a uniformly brown tail.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell any mustelid within the Auckland region.
  • In the future, all commercial transport operators moving goods or people to or among Hauraki Gulf islands will need to have a Pest Free Warrant.
  • Anyone intending to move a building to or among Hauraki Gulf islands must notify Auckland Council at least 10 working days prior to movement so that an inspection can be arranged.

Forest, scrub, grasslands, braided rivers, alpine areas, coastal areas, pasture.

Preys on native birds, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates. Particularly threatens ground-nesting, cavity-nesting and forest birds. Can act as vectors of diseases such as canine distemper and bovine TB.


If you see a mustelid on a pest-free island within the Tīkapa Moana/Hauraki Gulf, please report it to Auckland Council at

Find out more:

Please refer to the Pest animal control guidelines for information on how to control mustelids, or contact Auckland Council at

Search tags

RPMP status

Kawau (Eradication)
Waiheke (Eradication)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area pest (Site-led)
Parkland with Significant Ecological Areas (Site-led)
Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Mustelids (ferret, stoat, weasel) - Main species image