Search records


Description: Stoats in the Isle of Man belong to the Irish sub-species and are smaller than stoats in mainland Britain. Their coats remain brown throughout the winter months, unlike those of their English counterparts which turn white in the 'ermine' form. Commonly referred to in the Isle of Man as 'Manx Stoats' or (confusingly) 'weasels', these little predators feed on rabbits, rodents, birds and birds' eggs. Being mainly nocturnal, they are infrequently seen, but may be glimpsed running along the top of a dry stone wall or crossing the road. There is a suspicion that stoats are becoming less common in the Isle of Man, possibly because of loss of habitat due to changes in farming, development, or periodic disease in their rabbit prey.

The stoat is thought to be one of the few native Manx mammals. Not counting whales and dolphins, there are about 23 species of mammals living in the wild in the Isle of Man. Seven of these are species of bat, and five are most definitely escapes from domestication or recent introductions, including the only other mammal that resembles the stoat, the feral Polecat-ferret. Recent DNA research has shown that the Irish Stoat (including the Manx type) survived through the last ice age and became isolated when Ireland and the Isle of Man became separated from the England/ Scotland/Wales land mass. The British Stoat is thought to have arrived from the adjacent continent after the end of the ice age, replacing any existing stoat species.

Date found: 1980-1990

Taxonomic name: Mustela erminea subspecies hibernica

Collection: Natural History Zoology Collection

ID number: 2004-0089


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy