"For all of the vermin ye'd care to recall,Mustelids are recently becoming popular as heroic Weasel Mascot characters, but it wasn't always so. Older European works in particular portray weasels as sneaky at best and downright villainous at worst, often as the nemesis of a prey animal protagonist. As a general rule, fictional weasels are cowardly about direct confrontation, but cunning, treacherous and cruel, and sometimes downright Ax-Crazy. Such villainous portrayals might stem from weasels preying on poultry and rabbits from farms — often targeting eggs (hence a reputation as thief). They also do have a tendency to indulge in overkill; a weasel that makes it into a henhouse may get overexcited and kill more chickens than it can eat. In real life, while they certainly are rather clever in terms of their hunting strategies, it's completely unfair to tag them as cowards; weasels are astonishingly fearless animals, being smaller than their preferred prey (rabbits) and hunting them alone. (For this reason, in many less well-known mythologies, such as the folklore of ancient Macedon and the Inuit, weasels actually symbolize wisdom and courage.) Some portrayals of malicious mustelids reflect this, portraying them as almost suicidally brave. In addition to weasels, stoats and polecats get a fair amount of this. Ferrets are portrayed similarly as clever, hyperactive, slightly crazy tricksters, but are often cute and harmless rather than malicious, probably because people are increasingly likely to be familiar with them as pets. Martens and fishers are somewhat less likely to be lumped in with weasels, and otters are something completely different, as are badgers and wolverines. Skunks, formerly classified as mustelids but now given their own group Mephitidae, have their own trope; a skunk is definitely something to avoid, but is not necessarily as wicked as a weasel. Mongooses are saved, ironically not by the fact that they're far closer to cats and hyenas than to weasels, but by being famous for fighting snakes. The stereotype of the Wicked Weasel is so strong that sneaky, evil, bloodthirsty, or sociopathic characters of other species may be compared to or called weasels, or weasel imagery used to describe them, exploiting the audience's reaction to this trope. May lead to cases of I Am Not Weasel. See also Animal Stereotypes in general. Not to be confused with Wily Walrus.
The weasel's the wickedest wretch of all,
An' virtuous vermin will all agree,
Any weasel is worse than me!"
The weasel's the wickedest wretch of all,
An' virtuous vermin will all agree,
Any weasel is worse than me!"
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- An animatronic ferret was featured on Budweiser TV commercials after the frogs and lizards, starting with Louie's enlisting the assistance of an inept ferret hit man, who tries to kill the frogs by dismantling and dropping the Budweiser neon sign into the swamp water, thus electrocuting them. The ferret stole the spotlight from the two lizards until disgraced by a nude centerfold photo session.
- This Mountain Dew commercial features a chainsaw-brandishing ferret.
Anime and Manga
- Naruto: Temari's summon is a Kamaitachi (sickle weasel)
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, there's a lot of hints that Kyubey is a lot more sinister than he seems. By the end of episode 8, they're not even bothering trying to hide it.◊
- Averted in Spirited Away, where none of the weasel spirits are evil—Lin, in particular, becomes a surrogate older sister to Chihiro.
- Averted by Weekly the weasel in Blacksad; he's well-known as The Pigpen and a Loveable Sex Maniac, but harmless and basically a decent guy.
- In The Mice Templar series, weasels comprise the royal guard serving a corrupt mouse king, and they have a vicious rivalry with the rats who make up the army and the druidic priesthood.
- Subverted by the Ermehn in Beyond The Western Deep. Though they're anthropomorphic weasels/stoats and are the ostensible antagonists, in accordance to the setting's Gray and Gray Morality they're not any more evil than any of the other races, being instead a Dying Race, trying to survive by reclaiming the territories they were banished from by the Canids. And, in the process, starting the fires of worldwide war as the latter allies to to maintain them in the wastes.
- Brer Weasel is a sidekick to Brer Fox in the Disney Chip n' Dale comics, complete with card-carrying villainy, membership in the local Legion of Doom, and handlebar mustache.
- In Thirty Hs, the Eldritch Abomination posing as a scientist offers Harry a bald weasel with toothpicks for legs.
- The villainous Arnold in Soulless Shell is a ferret. In the canon, Redwall, ferrets are Always Chaotic Evil - this is about the only point this Transplanted Character Fic shares with its originating canon.
- Noel the weasel in Redwall: Lockdown is an aversion - he's The Hero.
Films — Animated
- Subverted in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Buckminster is completely crazy, but he's not an evil weasel. In fact, he's one of the few examples of a heroic weasel.
- In the Christmas Special Christopher the Christmas Tree, the Woodland Creatures come to Christopher specifically for protection from "the foxes and the weasels". An actual fox and weasel appear later and set Christopher on fire with a lighter to be jerks.
- Winkie's weasel henchmen in the "Wind in the Willows" segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
- The same Weasels appear as Pete's henchmen in the 1990 Mickey Mouse adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper.
- Two weasels, again from The Wind in the Willows are shown digging Ebenezer Scrooge's grave in the 1983 special Mickey's Christmas Carol. One of them speaks in a Cockney dialect (befitting the story's London setting), while the other has what sounds like a Peter Lorre impression.
- Subverted in Leafie, a Hen into the Wild. One-Eye the weasel, while predatory and the story's main antagonist, is not actually evil - she's acting according to her nature, not malice, and is trying to provide for her children. Leafie sympathizes with her enough to allow herself to be killed and eaten in order to help the young weasels survive, and the weasel visibly cries before she pounces.
- Duke Weaselton in Zootopia is a criminal weasel. There is also the Dirty Coward ferret Travis from Judy's childhood who helped the bully Gideon Grey as long as he could hide behind him.
Films — Live-Action
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the villainous Judge Doom uses weasels as his enforcers. They're sneaky, cruel, and so prone to fits of hysterical laughter that Doom disapprovingly compares them to their "idiot hyena cousins" (even though hyenas are no more related to weasels than mongooses are).
- Subverted in a story from the Roger Rabbit comic book in which a weasel moves next door to Roger. Roger initially suspects the weasel will attack him, but when the weasel makes no such move, Roger tries to give him a nice welcome. Hilarity Ensues.
- Subverted in The Beastmaster; Kodo and Podo are not evil in the slightest, just well trained thieves.
- The Muppets movie Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas features Chuck Stoat and Stanley Weasel as members of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band, Emmet's rivals in the talent contest.
- The weasels feature in a live-action adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, even darker characters than in the book - they plan to kill the protagonists by having them turned into dog food, and get a surprisingly intense Villain Song.
- The Micmac Indians of eastern Canada and northern New England, while not exactly seeing weasels as evil, did tend to portray them negatively. One of these tales, "Mikmaq Women Who Married Star Husbands," features two skusiskwaq - literally, "weasel women" - who are said to be sisters. The younger sister, while not evil per se, is pretty untrustworthy, a Bad Liar, and comically stupid. She and her sister wind up suffering a Fate Worse Than Death because of her moral failings.
- In medieval folklore, weasels were portrayed as cunning enough to use rue to heal injuries, and they were said to give birth through their ears. On the other hand, they were also said to be one of the only animals that could fight and kill a basilisk.
- Averted in a Cree story in which a brave weasel assisted a human hero in killing a wendigo by burrowing into its body and killing it from within.
- Weasels and their ilk are Always Chaotic Evil in Redwall. The exact nature of their evil varies, from delinquent Creepy Child Veil to Psychopathic Manchild Bladd to numerous Punch Clock Villain types to most of the Big Bad characters who aren't rats.
- Averted in Welkin Weasels, where the weasels are the heroes, although stoats (another mustelid) are mostly villains.
- Also averted in The Book of the Dun Cow. John Wesley Weasel, although fierce, stubborn and implied to be a Reformed Criminal, is extremely loyal to the rooster protagonist, is undoubtedly one of the good guys, and literally kills thousands of enemy basilisks single-handedly after one murders his friend. Also unlike the usual portrayal of evil weasels, he is disgusted by the cowardly Mad House of Otter and is extremely brave.
- Averted in The Wainscott Weasel, which has several weasels throughout. The A-plot focuses on the title weasel (aka Bagley Brown, Jr.), with a B-plot focusing on a younger pair named Zeke and Wendy. The species is mostly viewed as sympathetic, if a bit rowdy at times. However, this doesn't stop some other species (including bullfrogs) from initially thinking that this trope is true upon first meeting Bagley, only to realize what a nice guy he actually is.
- Lampshaded in Howliday Inn, in which a weasel character (simply known as the Weasel) complains about the "weasels are evil and sneaky" stereotype and actively goes out of his way to be a good guy.
- In one of the later The Dark Is Rising books, Will Stanton comes face to face with some chicken-killing ermine who are clearly foreshadowy avatars of the Dark, and some time is spent on their inborn propensity to kill just for fun. They're ordinary-sized mustelidae, and he's an immortal wizard, but damn if those ermine aren't creepy.
- Weasel in the original books of The Animals of Farthing Wood is an aversion, even more so than his animated counterpart in the TV series. He's a helpful, competent, and loyal character who shows concern for others and pulls his weight in the group.
- In Winnie-the-Pooh Pooh attempts to track a "Woozle" and a "Wizzle". (Turns out, he was actually tracking himself and the Piglet.) In the TV series Woozles actually exist, and (usually) act as villains. The trope is played straight by Stan, a scheming and vindictive honey thief, but subverted by Wooster, a giant Woozle who Pooh talks into a Heel–Face Turn. The trope is also played straight in that Stan looks far more like a real weasel, albeit an anthropomorphic one, while Wooster is a Cartoon Creature.
- In The Berenstain Bears Spin-Off Bear Scouts series, an underground society of weasels, led by Weasel McGreed, are occasional villains who occasionally try to conquer Bear County. Unlike the bears' more nuanced society, which has its flaws and bad apples but is well-meaning, the weasels are Always Chaotic Evil, with no redeeming qualities or exceptions.
- Subverted in Cordwainer Smith's short story "Mother Hitton's Little Kittons", a planet is defended by telepathically broadcasting the vicious ravings of insane, psychic minks, causing a villain to commit suicide before he can attack the planet. (A mink is a type of weasel.)
- The Wind in the Willows:
- The main character of the children's book Sneaky Weasel is a bullying weasel who attempts to reform when karma hits and no one wants to come to his party.
- In Andiamo, Weasel! a weasel tricks a crow into helping him with farming while he refuses to work and steals the food. She gets her revenge later with the help of a wolf.
- The weasels in the Little Grey Rabbit series are nasty but dim thieves and rabbit hunters.
- The main antagonist of Mouse Soup is a mouse-eating weasel who the mouse protagonist distracts by telling him stories.
- Averted in A Letter For Leo, in which Leo the weasel is a kindly mailman who strikes up a friendship with a small bird.
- Tommy Brock from Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit stories is a rare malevolent badger.
- Subverted in the Frightful series. While Baron Weasel is a predator and attempts to kill Oksi's falcon hatchlings, he's not evil and is doing it to provide food for his own babies.
- In Weasels by Elys Dolan, weasels are secretly plotting to Take Over the World. They aren't very good at it, though.
- This is heavily invoked in A Song of Ice and Fire. Although normal people (for a given definition of "normal"), individuals belonging to House Frey regularly do get compared with weasels. And, this is not only because of their chinless, regularly gaunt looks, but thanks to their many unsavoury habits, as well. Even the chunkier ones don't escape either the narrative or other characters describing them as weasels. The weaseliest weasel who ever weaseled, however, remains Lord Walder. Although his kin Black Walder, Bastard Walder and Lame Lothar aren't all that far behind him — he just has more decades of being despicable under his belt. Some (lucky) few in the family do escape the whole weasel motif, but you can count them on one hand. Which isn't a large proportion of the family.
- In Kine, the weasels are protagonists, including the title character. However, minks, another mustelid species, are major villains.
- Ultimately subverted in All American Pups - Fergus the ferret in On the Scent of Trouble causes trouble, but he's only acting out because of his improper living conditions and turns out to be decent.
- Double subverted with Wendel the stoat jester in The Deptford Mice. He appears to be an okay guy, but he's actually the high priest of Hobb, an evil rat god.
- In the Greek mock-epic Batrachomyomachia, Crumb-snatcher the mouse is introduced having escaped from a predatory weasel.
- Shadow the Weasel is one of the most dangerous villains in the Burgess Bedtime Stories.
- In "Weird Al" Yankovic's famous song "Albuquerque" (among many, many other things) the narrator is beset by a dozen starving, crazed weasels (which were inexplicably inside a box at a doughnut shop). Averted with his song Weasel Stomping Day, where the listener feels sympathy for the weasels.
- Weasels Ripped My Flesh. (Okay, not so much "evil" as really, really, really weird and creepy.)
- Shady characters are sometimes portrayed as weasels in Dilbert. In one case this lead to an Even Evil Has Standards moment when the weasel quit rather than help the company downplay its new product's horrible flaws with buzzwords.
- Life in Hell has a quote: Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.
- Get Fuzzy has Bucky's arch-nemesis Fungo the ferret. Then again, arching Bucky isn't particularly wicked.
- Japanese sickle weasels that transform into tornados are enemies in Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Like everything in the game, they're really frickin annoying.
- The weasels in Conker's Bad Fur Day are the subjects of the game's supposed main villain, the Panther King. The Panther King's weasel subjects include the weasel mafia, two Fat and Skinny guards who wield medieval weaponry, and armored bank security guards with modern weapons. The most prominent weasel characters are Ze Professor, an evil scientist who creates the Tediz, and Don Weaso, the head of the weasel mafia. According to the manual, the reason the weasels are ruled by a panther instead of one of their own is because the Panther King seized power in the past by cutting off the legs of their old weasel king (who is implied to be Ze Professor, because he is old and has no legs). Ze Professor and Don Weaso are definitely two of the game's main baddies. Interestingly enough, though, the two medieval guards who directly work for the Panther King are probably the least bad of the many weasels seen in the game.
- Sneasel and Weavile of Pokémon are dark/ice sickle weasel Pokemon who are noted in their Pokedex entries to be intelligent and vicious egg thieves. Averted with Buizel and Floatzel, who are portrayed as good-natured Water-types who will save drowning humans, and Mienfoo and Mienshao, who are of the honorable Fighting type.
- Fang The Sniper (known as Nack the Weasel in the U.S.) of Sonic the Hedgehog fame. Little known fact: In Japan, Fang is considered to be a wolf/weasel hybrid. In America, he's only a weasel.
- A band of weasels kidnap Pluto for his collar in the Nintendo 64 racing game Mickey's Speedway USA.
- In the second Quest Of Yipe game, the Weasel Boy is a moderately-powerful enemy. The third game has "Attack Weasels", which are very weak and easily defeated.
- In Donkey Kong 64 Snide the Weasel was a former Kremling mechanic, although he defected to the heroes' side once K. Rool turned on him out of paranoia. While still a bit shifty, he does help the Kongs by giving them Golden Bananas and by delaying K. Rool's Blast-O-Matic if you give him blueprints.
- Lyle the weasel in Animal Crossing is a mild example - he is a insurance scam artist, but isn't really a villain so much as a nuisance. He even goes legit in later games.
- A weasel named Spanx is the main character of Whiplash - while he isn't evil and mostly just wants to escape the animal testing facility which abused him, he subjects his rabbit "partner" to a lot of grief in the process.
- The last level of Mickey Mania is themed to the aforementioned "Prince and the Pauper" short (see Films — Animated above). As such, the main enemies in this level are Pete's aforementioned weasel henchmen, of which there are two kinds throughout this level, one who attacks by throwing knives and one who attacks by firing arrows from crossbows.
- Weasels comprise one of the Four Kingdoms of Problem Sleuth. Pickle Inspector is their chosen saviour, and they are quite susceptible to flipping the fuck out.
- Girl Genius:
- The Depraved Homosexual waiter who threatened to rape and kill Hunter in one arc of Suicide for Hire appears to be a mustelid of some type, but it's not exactly clear what kind. The broad snout suggests an otter, but his fur markings in the full-colour climax are more ferret-like.
- The true form of Oberus, the demon of deceit in Codquest, is a monstrous weasel.
- Ultimately subverted with Trixie of Hodges Pond - while she can be a bully, she also has sympathetic and likeable moments.
- On one of the Orson's Farm shorts of Garfield and Friends, a rotten weasel was plotting to steal chickens from the farm.
- The old Cabbage Patch Kids stories had a character called Beau Weasel, who enjoys doing evil deeds for money. He somehow took part in an old hag's plot against the Cabbage Patch when he heard that gold was involved.
- This one is inverted by I Am Weasel, because the weasel there is a sophisticated protagonist.
- Don't forget the weasel from a few Foghorn Leghorn cartoons, who occasionally visits Foghorn's farm to steal chickens. Ironically, Foghorn generally sides with the weasel to spite the farm's dog, although the weasel doesn't appreciate his "help". The weasel and the dog team up against him a few times.
- Woozles from Winnie-the-Pooh.
- The Weavils on Jimmy Two-Shoes, an entire species of nasty, disgusting Jerkasses who annoy the main characters.
- Weasel from The Animals of Farthing Wood was generally a bitch, but also loyal and courageous for defying Scarface at her own peril to protect Fox several times, making her an aversion. Later seasons add her boyfriend/husband (Wait, Weasel is a girl??), who is rather oafish and (apart perhaps from cowardice) not at all stereotypically weasel-like.
- Played straight with The Creeper from Animalia: He is apparently the most dangerous villain on the show, being both portrayed as a Knight of Cerebus and more evil than the semi-villain Tyrannicus, who was a tiger. He is a weasel who was a king of Animalia before he got Drunk with Power and started using portals to steal from the other animals. When he is freed in the show's timeline, he's even worse, kidnapping a child and freely manipulating other characters into war.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog had Wes Weasely, a weasel-like salesman who sold weapons and contraptions to Robotnik that he could use to catch Sonic. While Wes's contraptions usually worked, Robotnik's minions were too stupid to use them properly. On rare occasions Wes would also side with Sonic if it would benefit him more, even saving Sonic in one episode after Robotnik went back on a deal they had made For the Evulz.
- Wacky Weasel from Bonkers, a Toon weasel criminal who loves eggs (he broke into a jail because it had "bad eggs").
- Skulk and Sammy from The Little Flying Bears are relatively mild examples. While they are antagonists and cause trouble, Sammy is a Minion with an F in Evil and Skulk has his share of Pet the Dog moments.
- Snout and Ollie from Toad Patrol, who torment toadlets for fun. Neither of them are very smart, but Snout is the brighter of the two.
- Despite being a ferret instead of a weasel, Paddy from Scaredy Squirrel is a straight example.
- Averted with Freddy from Back at the Barnyard. He generally feels bad about his chicken cravings and is actually a bit of a Woobie.
- The Mr. Bogus episode "Bogus Private Eye" featured a group of weasels who acted as gangsters and crime lords, making it sort of an Homage to that of The Godfather.
- When Pete takes over the House of Mouse, he replaces the penguin waiters with weasels.
- Scorch, Cruella De Vil's pet ferret in 101 Dalmatians: The Series. He antagonizes the Dalmatians and actively preys on the animals around the Dearly farm, especially the chickens.
- Erol and Le Sewer were villainous weasels who appeared in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
- In The Devil And Daniel Mouse, Weez Weasel is the personal assistant to Satan himself and the judge at Jan and Daniel's trial.
- Dunflap from CatDog is an aversion - he's a generally good-natured friend of the title character and the Only Sane Man.
- Worley in Danger Rangers, along with his badger minions, who attempt to sabotage a race.
- Robert and Robear are two ferrets who work for Catfish Stu, the main antagonist of Iggy Arbuckle. On the other hand, they're more mischievous than evil.
- In the Goofy cartoon, How to Be a Detective, a weasel thug tries to thwart detective Goofy (known here as Johnny Eyeball) from solving the case of the mysterious "Al", with various acts of Family-Unfriendly Violence (the likes of which have kept the cartoon from regular circulation on TV). At the end, this same weasel serves as the parson for Pete's (revealed to himself be the missing Al) and the dame's wedding.
- Naruto gives us the infamous assassin Itachi Uchiha. "Itachi" means "weasel" in Japanese. Subverted in his main role.
- The villain of Billy Madison - an Evil Chancellor type - is described as laughing like a weasel, with a hissy "Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee-hee!" that one of the other characters imitates.
- Bluto in Animal House names one of the pledges to the mischievous Delta Tau Chi fraternity "Weasel." One of the senior members of the frat is named "Otter," although other than being lecherous and something of a Jerkass, he isn't really villainous.
- The Weasleys of the Harry Potter series were intentionally named and created as heroic characters to avert this trope. Quoth Rowling:
"In Britain and Ireland the weasel has a bad reputation as an unfortunate, even malevolent, animal. However, since childhood I have had a great fondness for the Family Mustelidae; not so much malignant as maligned, in my opinion."
- In the Belisarius Series, Valentinian is frequently described as having a wicked look ... and compared to a weasel. Then he fought Rana Sanga in an epic battle — justifying it to himself as, Because I'm tired of being called a weasel — and from then on, to Indians, at least, he was admired as "The Mongoose."
- A Song of Ice and Fire has House Frey, whose members are often described as slimy, self-centered, untrustworthy, and, of course, weaselly, though you'll find the occasional Frey who's actually pretty decent.
- In the live action TV series, Family Matters Eddie Winslow sometimes hung out with a teenage boy named "Weasel," whom his parents believed was a bad influence on Eddie.
- Korra from The Legend of Korra calls Tarrlok a "weasel snake" due to the fact that weasels and snakes are cunning predators.
- Yoshiaki Mogami in Sengoku Basara likes to think of himself as a fox, but everyone else in Japan compares him to a weasel, with good reason.
- Solomon Grundy's henchman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold is named Weasel.
- The title character of the young adult novel Weasel is a sociopathic mercenary who was originally hired by the US government to drive out native peoples so that settlers could take their land. After he did this, Weasel turned on the settlers, killing their livestock for fun.
- Unsourced Quote: "Having a menacing aura is like having a pet weasel. Not many people have one, and when they find out you do, they tend to hide under the couch."
- The Japanese yokai demon ''Kamaitachi'' (litt. Sickle Weasel) is a weasel demon with large, scythe-shaped claws, which it uses to cut passers-by to ribbons. One variety has three small weasels working together: the first one knocks down the traveller, the second one cuts him up and the third one closes the wounds.
- Also in Japanese lore is Raijū(Thunder Beast), a companion of Raijin who is often depicted as a weasel. Normally he is calm and harmless, but gets agitated during thunderstorms and leaps about trees and buildings, scratching them with lightning.
- The mailing list joke "Ferret Property Laws" plays on their reputations as thieves:
1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my mouth, it's mine.
3. If it's in my paw, it's mine.
4. If I saw it first, it's mine.
5. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
6. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
7. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
8. If you are playing with something and put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
9. If I'm breaking or hiding something, all the pieces are mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours, when it's fixed, it's mine.
11. If it looks just like mine, it's mine.
12. If I think it's mine, it's mine.
13. If I let you play with it, it's mine.
14. If I can drag it under the couch, it's mine.
15. If it's out of your reach, it's mine.
16. If it's food, it's mine.
17. If I lose interest in it...it's STILL mine!
- The Norse male name Mörður is derived from the weasel's relative, the marten, and this name has a bad reputation, all the way back to The Icelandic Sagas, where Mörðr Valgarðsson is notorious for his evil ways. The word lygamörður is derived from his name, the English equivalent of which would be lying weasel.