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Mustelids: The Weasel Family
Mustelids are mammals that belong to the weasel family. Mustelids include 65 species (and 25 genera) of weasels, badgers, ferrets, fishers, grisons, martens, otters, polecats, stoats, minks, tayras, wolverines, and more. The earliest mustelids appeared during the early Oligocene Epoch, roughly 35 million years ago.

These fearless carnivores (meat-eaters) live in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North and South America. The smallest mustelid is the least weasel, weighing 1.2 to 2.4 ounces (35-70 gms); the biggest mustelid is the South American giant otter, weighing 60-90 pounds.

Anatomy: Mustelids have well-developed anal scent glands wich produce a potent repellent smell. They have 5-toed feet with claws. Most have a long body, small, rounded ears, small eyes, and short legs.

Classification: kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Carnivora, Family Mustelidae (weasels, ferrets, minks, skunks, otters, badgers).

Click on a mustelid for a printout of it.


BADGER

The badger is a nocturnal mammal with a black-and-white striped face.


ERMINE

Also known as the stoat or the short-tailed weasel, this tiny, ferocious mammal lives in cold areas.


FERRET

Ferrets are a type of weasel.


MINK

Minks are small, short-legged members of the weasel family that live in wet environments.


OTTER

An otter is a playful marine mammal.


OTTER, RIVER

River otters are streamlined, aquatic mammals from North America.


SEA OTTER

Sea otters are marine mammals with very dense, waterproof fur.


WEASEL

Weasels are small, furry mammals with short legs.

WOLVERINE

The Wolverine is a ferocious type of weasel that lives in cold areas.

ZORILLA

The Zorilla is a skunk-like mammal that lives in Africa.


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