I'm sure of my identification, but had to convince some of the people from Tygerberg (and City of Cape Town). It can easily be confused with a Striped Polecat. It is always best to be as sure as possible of an identification, especially for a rare and somewhat out of range find like this, so questions are welcome (and usually fun to talk about). So, how can I be sure? Easy, the simplest way to tell them apart is by the white facial marking of the Striped Polecat, which the African Striped Weasel does not have (clearly visible below). There are other things also, but the facial markings and hair length are the easiest.
Some interesting facts about this little creature is that, together with the Dwarf Mongoose, it is Africa's smallest carnivore. It is a specialist rodent killer, but will sometimes also eat birds and insects. Their short legs and long, thin body is perfectly adapted to follow rodents into their hiding places. It bites it's prey on the back of the neck, rolls sideways to knock it off its feet, clasps it tightly and then thrust vigorously with its hind feet to break the animals spine.
They are good diggers and will dig their own burrows or adapt those dug by rodents. They are very short and their shoulder height is only 5-6 cm. Males are up to 50% larger than females.
African Striped Weasels are predominantly nocturnal and are only occasionally seen in daylight. They are considered rare, but are easily overlooked, due to their small size and nightly habits.
I'm hoping for some more photographs of this guy during week :)
Chris and Tilde Stuart (2008). Veldgids tot Soogdiere van Suider-Afrika. Kaapstad: Struik Uitgewers. 142-143.
Gus Mills and Lex Hes (1997). The Complete Book of Southern African Mammals. Cape Town: Struik Winchester. 203.
John D. Skinner and Christian T. Chimimba (2005). The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cape Town: Cambridge University Press. 505-507.