Mustelids | Mustelidae

Mustelids are a family of carnivorous mammals with long bodies and short legs. Members of the Mustelids family usually live in burrows or crevices and are excellent hunters, especially some weasels which can take down prey larger than themselves. While members of the mustelids family are terrestrial, aquatic, or marine, some have adapted to be skilled at climbing trees. Mustelids can be found on every continent except for Antarctica and Australia and are not found on oceanic islands. Mustelids can be either solitary or live in groups, but all Mustelids have powerful anal scent glands for defense and marking their territory.

What are mustelids?

Mustelids is the mammal family that encompasses 55 species of ferrets, polecats, badgers, martens, otters, wolverines, as well as weasels. Mustelids are carnivores that live in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats around the world, except for Australia, Antarctica, and oceanic islands.

What do mustelids eat?

Most mustelids consume a carnivorous diet, but some species sometimes eat plants as well. Many mustelids feed when the opportunity arises while some prey small mammals. For example, weasels prey rodents, while otters capture fish, crustaceans, and aquatic invertebrates. Some species of mustelids prey on animals that are larger than them.

Do mustelids make good pets?

Some mustelids can make good pets if they have the right owner. For example, ferrets as a pet are easy to exercise, can be litter trained, easy to feed, sociable, and affectionate. While weasels as pets are not suitable for everyone as they can be a risk to other pets and can bite in self-defense if not treated properly.

Mustelids Guides
Browse through our curated Mustelids Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Mustelids. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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10.2”-12.6” | 26-32 cm
9.1”-11.4” | 23-29 cm
23.6”-30” | 60-76 cm
9-26.5 lb | 4-12 kg
9-25 years
American Badger
32.000
29.000
76.000
12.000
25.00
31000
3D
American Badger
6.7”-9.1” | 17-23 cm
3.5”-4.7” | 9-12 cm
12.6”-17.7” | 32-45 cm
.6-2.9 lb | .28-1.3 kg
11-18 years
American Marten
23.000
12.000
45.000
1.300
18.00
8600
3D
American Marten
5.3”-7.9” | 13.5-20 cm
3.9”-5.9” | 10-15 cm
12.2”-18.1” | 31-46 cm
3.1-5.1 lb | 1.4-2.3 kg
3-11 years
American Mink
20.000
15.000
46.000
2.300
11.00
14000
3D
American Mink
3.9”-5.9” | 10-15 cm
2.6”-3.5” | 6.5-9 cm
13”-18.1” | 33-46 cm
1.3-3.1 lb | .6-1.4 kg
4-9 years
Black-Footed Ferret
15.000
9.000
46.000
1.400
9.00
24000
3D
Black-Footed Ferret
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
3.3”-4.3” | 8.5-11 cm
13”-16.1” | 33-41 cm
1.5-4.4 lb | .7-2 kg
5-10 years
Domestic Ferret
15.000
11.000
41.000
2.000
10.00
644000
3D
Domestic Ferret
3.9”-5.5” | 10-14 cm
4.3”-5.5” | 11-14 cm
9.4”-12.2” | 24-31 cm
1-4 lb | .4-1.8 kg
2-11 years
Eastern Spotted Skunk
14.000
14.000
31.000
1.800
11.00
3300
3D
Eastern Spotted Skunk
12.6”-17.3” | 32-44 cm
8.7”-12.2” | 22-31 cm
24”-35.4” | 61-90 cm
15.4-35.2 lb | 7-16 kg
5-15 years
European Badger
44.000
31.000
90.000
16.000
15.00
17000
3D
European Badger
5.5”-6.7” | 14-17 cm
3.9”-4.7” | 10-12 cm
14.2”-16.9” | 36-43 cm
1.2-1.8 lb | .55-.8 kg
6-10 years
European Mink
17.000
12.000
43.000
0.800
10.00
2500
3D
European Mink
4.3”-7.5” | 11-19 cm
2.75”-4.7” | 7-12 cm
11.4”-20” | 29-51 cm
1.5-4.2 lb | .7-1.9 kg
5-14 years
European Polecat
19.000
12.000
51.000
1.900
14.00
9100
3D
European Polecat
Fisher
56000
11.8”-17.7” | 30-45 cm
6.3”-9.4” | 16-24 cm
18.5”-29.5” | 47-75 cm
7.7-13.2 lb | 3.5-6 kg
7-10 years
Fisher
45.000
24.000
75.000
6.000
10.00
56000
3D
Fisher
13.8”-19.7” | 35-50 cm
8.7”-11.8” | 22-30 cm
33.9”-47.2” | 86-120 cm
48.5-75 lb | 22-34 kg
8-20 years
Giant Otter
50.000
30.000
120.000
34.000
20.00
38000
3D
Giant Otter
11.4”-15.75” | 29-40 cm
8.7”-11.4” | 22-29 cm
21.7”-30.3” | 55-77 cm
11-35.3 lb | 5-16 kg
7-26 years
Honey Badger
40.000
29.000
77.000
16.000
26.00
382000
3D
Honey Badger
5.5”-6.7” | 14-17 cm
3.9”-4.5” | 10-11.5 cm
11”-13” | 28-33 cm
1-6 lb | .4-2.7 kg
3-9 years
Hooded Skunk
17.000
11.500
33.000
2.700
9.00
2500
3D
Hooded Skunk
12.6”-15” | 32-38 cm
8.7”-10.2” | 22-26 cm
27.6”-32.7” | 70-83 cm
8.4-24.3 lb | 3.8-11 kg
10-20 years
Japanese Badger
38.000
26.000
83.000
11.000
20.00
1800
3D
Japanese Badger
1.8”-2.75” | 4.5-7 cm
1.6”-2.6” | 4-6.5 cm
5.9”-9.5” | 15-24 cm
1.2-2.5 oz | 35-70 g
2-9 years
Least Weasel
7.000
6.500
24.000
0.070
9.00
12000
3D
Least Weasel
3.9”-5.9” | 10-15 cm
2.75”-3.9” | 7-10 cm
11”-16.5” | 28-42 cm
3-9.5 oz | 85-270 g
3-9 years
Long-Tailed Weasel
15.000
10.000
42.000
0.270
9.00
9500
3D
Long-Tailed Weasel
5.1”-6.3” | 13-16 cm
2.75”-3.9” | 7-10 cm
11.4”-13.8” | 29-35 cm
.7-1.5 lb | .3-.7 kg
4-9 years
Marbled Polecat
16.000
10.000
35.000
0.700
9.00
8800
3D
Marbled Polecat
9.1”-14.2” | 23-36 cm
5.9”-9.8” | 15-25 cm
19.7”-31.1” | 50-79 cm
6.6-13.2 lb | 3-6 kg
10-23 years
Marine Otter
36.000
25.000
79.000
6.000
23.00
1900
3D
Marine Otter
10.6”-16.5” | 27-42 cm
6.7”-10.2” | 17-26 cm
25.6”-41.3” | 65-105 cm
11-31 lb | 5-14 kg
8-27 years
North American River Otter
42.000
26.000
105.000
14.000
27.00
8100
3D
North American River Otter
Red Panda
1100000
11”-13.4” | 28-34 cm
5.5”-7.1” | 14-18 cm
20”-25.2” | 51-64 cm
8-17 lb | 3.6-7.7 kg
8-22 years
Red Panda
34.000
18.000
64.000
7.700
22.00
1100000
3D
Red Panda
Sable
45000
6.7”-11” | 17-28 cm
3.9”-6.7” | 10-17 cm
13.8”-22” | 35-56 cm
1.8-4 lb | .8-1.8 kg
8-22 years
Sable
28.000
17.000
56.000
1.800
22.00
45000
3D
Sable
6.7”-7.5” | 17-19 cm
4.7”-5.5” | 12-14 cm
20.5”-22.4” | 52-57 cm
1.5-3.5 lb | .7-1.6 kg
6-11 years
Sea Mink
19.000
14.000
57.000
1.600
11.00
3000
3D
Sea Mink
Sea Otter
117000
12.2”-18.5” | 31-47 cm
10.2”-15.75” | 26-40 cm
29.5”-45.3” | 75-115 cm
31-99 lb | 14-45 kg
10-23 years
Sea Otter
47.000
40.000
115.000
45.000
23.00
117000
3D
Sea Otter
Stoat
204000
2.6”-4.5” | 6.5-11.5 cm
2.2”-3.9” | 5.5-10 cm
6.7”-12.6” | 17-32 cm
.3-1 lb | .14-.45 kg
4-8 years
Stoat
11.500
10.000
32.000
0.450
8.00
204000
3D
Stoat
6.7”-8.7” | 17-22 cm
5.1”-7.1” | 13-18 cm
11”-15” | 28-38 cm
1.3-3.3 lb | .6-1.5 kg
4-14 years
Striped Polecat
22.000
18.000
38.000
1.500
14.00
1800
3D
Striped Polecat
5.5”-8.3” | 14-21 cm
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
13”-18” | 33-46 cm
4-12 lb | 1.8-5.5 kg
2-14 years
Striped Skunk
21.000
15.000
46.000
5.500
14.00
6300
3D
Striped Skunk
Tayra
21000
10.2”-12.2” | 26-31 cm
5.5”-7.1” | 14-18 cm
22”-27.6” | 56-70 cm
6-15.4 lb | 2.7-7 kg
18-22 years
Tayra
31.000
18.000
70.000
7.000
22.00
21000
3D
Tayra
Wolverine
197000
13.8”-20.5” | 35-52 cm
9.4”-15.4” | 24-39 cm
25.6”-41.3” | 65-105 cm
15.4-61.7 lb | 7-28 kg
7-17 years
Wolverine
52.000
39.000
105.000
28.000
17.00
197000
3D
Wolverine
American Badger (Taxidea taxus)
Illustrated comparison diagram of the American Badger compared to similar Mustelid species

The American Badger, Taxidea taxus, is a North American badger that resembles the European badger, though the two are not closely related; its most identifiable characteristic is its large fore claws and distinctive head markings. They can be found in the western and central parts of the United States, and in parts of south-central Canada. The American badger prefers areas with sandy loam soils that can be easily dug for prey- areas like prairie regions and open grasslands. Its diet consists of pocket gophers, ground squirrels, moles, marmots, prairie dogs, and other small mammals.

The American Badger has a body length in the range of 23.6”-30” (60-76 cm) and total weight of 9-26.5 lb (4-12 kg). American Badgers have a shoulder height between 10.2”-12.6” (26-32 cm), body width of 9.1”-11.4” (23-29 cm), and tail length of 3.9”-6.3” (10-16 cm). The typical lifespan of the American Badger is between 9-25 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of American Badger in front and side poses
The American Badger, Taxidea taxus, is a North American badger that resembles the European badger, though the two are not closely related; its most identifiable characteristic is its large fore claws and distinctive head markings. They can be found in the western and central parts of the US.

The American Badger has a body length in the range of 23.6”-30” (60-76 cm) and total weight of 9-26.5 lb (4-12 kg). American Badgers have a shoulder height between 10.2”-12.6” (26-32 cm), body width of 9.1”-11.4” (23-29 cm), and tail length of 3.9”-6.3” (10-16 cm). The typical lifespan of the American Badger is between 9-25 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of American Badger in front and side poses
American Badger (Taxidea taxus)
Height:
10.2”-12.6” | 26-32 cm
Width:
9.1”-11.4” | 23-29 cm
Length:
23.6”-30” | 60-76 cm
Depth:
Weight:
9-26.5 lb | 4-12 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 3.9”-6.3” | 10-16 cm

Scientific Name
Taxidea taxus
Lifespan
9-25 years

Drawings include:

American Badger side elevation (assorted), front

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Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura)
Scale illustration of an average Hooded Skunk compared to other species of Mustelids

The Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura), is a skunk species, known for its long white tail and ability to spray a strong-smelling liquid whenever it is threatened. The Hooded Skunk’s long body is covered in black fur with a white stripe that extends from its head and it is recognizable by its long and fluffy tail. The Hooded Skunk is native to the Southwestern United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua of North America. Its diet is made up of vegetation, insects, small vertebrates, and bird eggs. The Hooded Skunk is not currently in danger of extinction.

The Hooded Skunk has a body length in the range of 11”-13” (28-33 cm) and total weight of 1-6 lb (.4-2.7 kg). Hooded Skunks have a shoulder height between 5.5”-6.7” (14-17 cm), body width of 3.9”-4.5” (10-11.5 cm), and tail length of 10.6”-17.3” (27-44 cm). The typical lifespan of the Hooded Skunk is between 3-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Hooded Skunk seen from the side and front
The Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura), is a skunk species, known for its long white tail and ability to spray a strong-smelling liquid whenever it is threatened. The Hooded Skunk’s long body is covered in black fur with a white stripe that extends from its head.

The Hooded Skunk has a body length in the range of 11”-13” (28-33 cm) and total weight of 1-6 lb (.4-2.7 kg). Hooded Skunks have a shoulder height between 5.5”-6.7” (14-17 cm), body width of 3.9”-4.5” (10-11.5 cm), and tail length of 10.6”-17.3” (27-44 cm). The typical lifespan of the Hooded Skunk is between 3-9 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Hooded Skunk seen from the side and front
Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura)
Height:
5.5”-6.7” | 14-17 cm
Width:
3.9”-4.5” | 10-11.5 cm
Length:
11”-13” | 28-33 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1-6 lb | .4-2.7 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 10.6”-17.3” | 27-44 cm

Scientific Name
Mephitis macroura
Lifespan
3-9 years

Drawings include:

Hooded Skunk side elevation (assorted), front

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Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Illustrated comparison diagram of the Striped Skunk compared to similar Mustelid species

The Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis), is a species of skunk known for being adaptable to live in different human environments. The Striped Skunk species has a black body with a white stripe that extends from the head, divides at the shoulders, and continues up to the tail. When threatened it produces a chemical defense that consists of a putrid-smelling scent that is sprayed at a distance. The Striped Skunk lives across the North American continent. Its diet is made up of grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, and caterpillars, but it is highly adaptable. The Striped Skunk is not currently in danger of extinction.

The Striped Skunk has a body length in the range of 13”-18” (33-46 cm) and total weight of 4-12 lb (1.8-5.5 kg). Striped Skunks have a shoulder height between 5.5”-8.3” (14-21 cm), body width of 4.7”-5.9” (12-15 cm), and tail length of 7.1”-15” (18-38 cm). The typical lifespan of the Striped Skunk is between 2-14 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Striped Skunk in front and side poses
The Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis), is a species of skunk known for being adaptable to live in different human environments. The Striped Skunk species has a black body with a white stripe that extends from the head, divides at the shoulders, and continues up to the tail.

The Striped Skunk has a body length in the range of 13”-18” (33-46 cm) and total weight of 4-12 lb (1.8-5.5 kg). Striped Skunks have a shoulder height between 5.5”-8.3” (14-21 cm), body width of 4.7”-5.9” (12-15 cm), and tail length of 7.1”-15” (18-38 cm). The typical lifespan of the Striped Skunk is between 2-14 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Striped Skunk in front and side poses
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Height:
5.5”-8.3” | 14-21 cm
Width:
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
Length:
13”-18” | 33-46 cm
Depth:
Weight:
4-12 lb | 1.8-5.5 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 7.1”-15” | 18-38 cm

Scientific Name
Mephitis mephitis
Lifespan
2-14 years

Drawings include:

Striped Skunk side elevation (assorted), front

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North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the North American River Otter compared to similar Mustelid species

The North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis, is a semiaquatic mammal that is unique to North America along its waterways and coasts; it is also known as the northern river otter or common otter. Protected by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur, the mammal is versatile in both the water and on land. A burrow with many tunnel openings is constructed close to the water’s edge, where female otters give birth. Fish is a favored food among the species, but they will also eat some amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), fresh water clams, mussels, snails, small turtles, and crayfish.

The North American River Otter has a body length in the range of 25.6”-41.3” (65-105 cm) and total weight of 11-31 lb (5-14 kg). North American River Otters have a shoulder height between 10.6”-16.5” (27-42 cm), body width of 6.7”-10.2” (17-26 cm), and tail length of 11.8”-18.9” (30-48 cm). The typical lifespan of the North American River Otter is between 8-27 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the North American River Otter viewed from the front and side
The North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis, is a semiaquatic mammal that is unique to North America along its waterways and coasts; it is also known as the northern river otter or common otter. Protected by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur, the mammal is versatile in water and on land.

The North American River Otter has a body length in the range of 25.6”-41.3” (65-105 cm) and total weight of 11-31 lb (5-14 kg). North American River Otters have a shoulder height between 10.6”-16.5” (27-42 cm), body width of 6.7”-10.2” (17-26 cm), and tail length of 11.8”-18.9” (30-48 cm). The typical lifespan of the North American River Otter is between 8-27 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the North American River Otter viewed from the front and side
North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Height:
10.6”-16.5” | 27-42 cm
Width:
6.7”-10.2” | 17-26 cm
Length:
25.6”-41.3” | 65-105 cm
Depth:
Weight:
11-31 lb | 5-14 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 11.8”-18.9” | 30-48 cm

Scientific Name
Lontra canadensis
Lifespan
8-27 years

Drawings include:

North American River Otter side elevation (assorted), front

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Sea Mink (Neovison macrodon)
Illustrated comparison diagram of the Sea Mink compared to similar Mustelid species

The Sea Mink, Neovison macrodon, is a recently extinct mink species that resided on the eastern coast of North America- along the rocky coasts of New England. It was the most related to the American mink. The sea minks’ appearance and behaviors are not well-documented, and it is only described by fragmentary remains. It was said to have produced a distinctive fishy odor, and had red and coarse fur. It was the largest of the minks and was described to be slightly larger than a fox. With a similar diet to the American mink, the sea mink may have preyed on seabirds, seabird eggs, and hard-bodied marine invertebrates.

The Sea Mink had a body length in the range of 20.5”-22.4” (52-57 cm) and total weight of 1.5-3.5 lb (.7-1.6 kg). Sea Minks had a shoulder height between 6.7”-7.5” (17-19 cm), body width of 4.7”-5.5” (12-14 cm), and tail length of 8.7”-9.8” (22-25 cm). The typical lifespan of the Sea Mink was between 6-11 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Sea Mink in front and side poses
The Sea Mink, Neovison macrodon, is a recently extinct mink species that resided on the eastern coast of North America- along the rocky coasts of New England. It was the most related to the American mink. The sea minks’ appearance and behaviors are not well-documented.

The Sea Mink had a body length in the range of 20.5”-22.4” (52-57 cm) and total weight of 1.5-3.5 lb (.7-1.6 kg). Sea Minks had a shoulder height between 6.7”-7.5” (17-19 cm), body width of 4.7”-5.5” (12-14 cm), and tail length of 8.7”-9.8” (22-25 cm). The typical lifespan of the Sea Mink was between 6-11 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Sea Mink in front and side poses
Sea Mink (Neovison macrodon)
Height:
6.7”-7.5” | 17-19 cm
Width:
4.7”-5.5” | 12-14 cm
Length:
20.5”-22.4” | 52-57 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.5-3.5 lb | .7-1.6 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 8.7”-9.8” | 22-25 cm

Scientific Name
Neovison macrodon
Lifespan
6-11 years

Drawings include:

Sea Mink side elevation (assorted), front

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