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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 Axe 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.)
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 wolverines. Mongooses are saved -- ironically not by the fact that they're completely unrelated to weasels, but by being famous for fighting snakes.
- One of the Budweiser Frogs' nemeses was a weasel.
- This Mountain Dew commercial features a chainsaw-brandishing ferret.
Anime and Manga
- Naruto gives us the infamous assassin Itachi Uchiha. "Itachi" means "weasel" in Japanese. Subverted in his main role.
- 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 by Weekly the weasel in Blacksad; he's well-known as The Pig Pen and a Loveable Sex Maniac, but harmless and basically a decent guy.
- 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.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the villainous Judge Doom uses weasels as his enforcers.
- 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 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Buckminster is completely crazy, but he's not an evil weasel.
- In the Christmas Special Christopher the Christmas Tree, the Woodland Creatures come to Christopher specifically for protection from "the foxes and the weasels".
- 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.
- 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 they're the heroes, although stoats are mostly villains.
- The Weasleys of the Harry Potter series were intentionally named and created as heroic characters to Averted Trope 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."
- 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.
- Averted in The Wainscott Weasel, in which the protagonist himself is a weasel and the species is mostly viewed as sympathetic, if a bit rowdy at times.
- Lampshaded in Howliday Inn, in which a weasel character (simply known as the Weasel) deliberately acts against the "weasels are evil and sneaky" stereotype.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- In The Berenstain Bears Spin-Off Bear Scouts series, an underground society of Always Chaotic Evil weasels, led by Weasel McGreed, are occasional villains.
- 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.)
- 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
- 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 the game Conkers Bad Fur Day are the subjects of the Panther King(who is supposedly the games main villain), as such they have a large role in the game. The Panther King's Weasel subjects include the weasel mafia, Two Fat and Skinny guards wielding medieval weaponry, and armored bank security guards with modern weapons. The most prominent weasel characters are the Professor, an evil scientist who creates the Tediz and a 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 their current Panther king seized power in the past by cutting off the legs of their old weasel king(implied to be the legless weasel professor).
- Sneasel and Weavile of Pokémon are dark/ice sickle weasel Pokemon. Buizel and Floatzel avert this.
- Also averted by Mienfoo and Mienshao, both of which are Fighting types (that fight with honor).
- 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.
- Tabletop RPG Dungeons and Dragons had the Dire Weasel, which bites people and attaches itself to them before killing them by blood loss from the wound.
- Regular weasels are also Wizard familiars, and (surprise, surprise) give a bonus to Bluff checks.
- 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 got The Weasel Queen. She's not exactly wicked, just mad (then again, in Girl Genius most named people aren't quite sane).
- 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.
- Weasels are reasonably common pets in the world of Echo Bazaar, and weasel-fighting (whether between common-or-garden animals or purebred Araby Fighting-Weasels) is a popular sport of the lower classes.
- 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 averted by I Am Weasel, because the weasel there is a sophisticated protagonist.
- Don't forget the weasel from a few Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.
- The evil weasels who take over Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows.
- Heffalumps and Woozles from Winnie the Pooh.
- Weasels appear as Pete's henchmen in the 1990 Mickey Mouse adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper.
- It is in fact incredibly rare to find any weasels that aren't antagonists in Disney comic books. In fact, I only know of one- a nameless weasel in the first issue of the Roger Rabbit comic book.
- The Weavils on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Weasel from The Animals of Farthing Wood was generally a bitch, but 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 Complete Monster, a Knight of Cerebus and even more evil than the semi-villain Tyrannicus, who was a tiger.
- 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.
- Wacky Weasel from Bonkers.
- Skulk from The Little Flying Bears.
- Snout and Ollie from Toad Patrol.
- 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 actuially a bit of a Woobie.
- 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."
- There is a micro-bikini company by the name Wicked Weasel
- The japanese yokai demon Kamaitachi (litt. Sickle Weasel) is a weasel demon with large, scythe-shaped claws, which he uses to cut passerbies to ribbons. One variety has three small weasels working together: the first one knock down the traveller, the second one cut him up and the third one close the wounds.
- 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.