Friday, February 21, 2003

From Best of the Web:

The New York Post's Page Six says the animal-rights folks are complaining about the characterization of French and German leaders as "weasels":

"First off, it's a bad stereotype because weasels are distinctly a North American animal--they are very hard to find in France," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Ingrid Newkirk informs us. "They are also fierce warriors, Rambo types." Newkirk advises that "the poodle" is a better representation of the French. "Poodles are pretty, chic, pensive," she notes. "They like to make love, not war." Another thing: weasels eat rodents and insects, not snails and sauerkraut. And their bellies are white--not yellow.

So I did some research.

If weasels are only in America, what was Yeats writing about? Apparently stoats are called weasels in Ireland.

Here is a photo. "A stoat is larger than a weasel and its tail is proportionately longer ( 9-14cm for a stoat; 3-5cm for a weasel). The stoat's tail always has a black tip. Also, the dividing line between upper and lower body colour is straight on a stoat but irregular on a weasel. British weasels do not turn white in winter."

They only walk like weasels, look like weasels, make noises like weasels, but they're really stoats, i.e. big weasels.

Here is a photo of a weasel. Say, doesn't that belly fur look yellow to you?

Some similar species are mink and ermine (probably what the French would identify with), polecats (what Americans think they are), fishers, martens, ferrets, tayra, grison, otters, sables, badgers and wolverines. Perhaps we should just call them mustelids.


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