An ermine is really a short-tailed weasel.

In summer, its coat is brown in color.  In winter, the ermine is entirely white, except for the tip of its tail, which is black.

The animal is called an “ermine” only when its fur is white.


When its coat is brown, it is called a “stoat,” or short-tailed weasel.

The ermine has a long, slim body.  A full-grown ermine may be only 1 foot long.

Scientist are not really sure what makes the ermine’s fur turn white in winter and dark in summer.

Its color helps it to hide from enemies.  The white fur is almost invisible against the snow in the cold country where it lives.

At one time in England, ermine was considered “royal” fur.  Only the king and queen and other members of the royal family were allowed to wear this valuable fur.

When used as an emblem of royalty or government, ermine fur is called “miniver.” – Dick Rogers