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
Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Honey Badger compared to similar Mustelid species

The Honey Badger, Mellivora capensis, is a carnivorous mammal with anatomical similarities to weasels. IUCN classifies the species as least concern due to its wide range and occurrence in a variety of habitats; it is widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. The honey badger’s thick skin, strength, and ferocious defensive abilities wards off any natural predators, and it savagely attacks almost any other species when in an inescapable situation. While its favored diet is honey, the honey badger will also consume insects, frogs, turtles, lizards, rodents, snakes, and many kinds of berries and vegetables.

The Honey Badger has a body length in the range of 21.7”-30.3” (55-77 cm) and total weight of 11-35.3 lb (5-16 kg). Honey Badgers have a shoulder height between 11.4”-15.75” (29-40 cm), body width of 8.7”-11.4” (22-29 cm), and tail length of 5.5”-11.8” (14-30 cm). The typical lifespan of the Honey Badger is between 7-26 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Honey Badger viewed from the front and side
The Honey Badger, Mellivora capensis, is a carnivorous mammal with anatomical similarities to weasels. IUCN classifies the species as least concern due to its wide range and occurrence in a variety of habitats; it is widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

The Honey Badger has a body length in the range of 21.7”-30.3” (55-77 cm) and total weight of 11-35.3 lb (5-16 kg). Honey Badgers have a shoulder height between 11.4”-15.75” (29-40 cm), body width of 8.7”-11.4” (22-29 cm), and tail length of 5.5”-11.8” (14-30 cm). The typical lifespan of the Honey Badger is between 7-26 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Honey Badger viewed from the front and side
Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis)
Height:
11.4”-15.75” | 29-40 cm
Width:
8.7”-11.4” | 22-29 cm
Length:
21.7”-30.3” | 55-77 cm
Depth:
Weight:
11-35.3 lb | 5-16 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 5.5”-11.8” | 14-30 cm

Scientific Name
Mellivora capensis
Lifespan
7-26 years

Drawings include:

Honey Badger side elevation (assorted), front

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Domestic Ferret (Mustela furo)
Scale illustration of an average Domestic Ferret compared to other species of Mustelids

The Domestic Ferret, Mustela furo, is a domesticated European polecat. Ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years, and while some are still used to hunt rabbits, most are kept only as pets. They have typically brown, black, white, or mixed fur. Ferrets sleep 14-18 hours a day, and if caged they need at least an hour of freedom to play. As obligate carnivores with short digestive systems and a quick metabolism, ferrets need to eat frequently. High-grade cat food and prepared dry foods with mostly meat are convenient for ferret owners and provide nutritional value.

The Domestic Ferret has a body length in the range of 13”-16.1” (33-41 cm) and total weight of 1.5-4.4 lb (.7-2 kg). Domestic Ferrets have a shoulder height between 4.7”-5.9” (12-15 cm), body width of 3.3”-4.3” (8.5-11 cm), and tail length of 2.75”-5.5” (7-14 cm). The typical lifespan of the Domestic Ferret is between 5-10 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Domestic Ferret seen from the side and front
The Domestic Ferret, Mustela furo, is a domesticated European polecat. Ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years, and while some are still used to hunt rabbits, most are kept only as pets. They have typically brown, black, white, or mixed fur.

The Domestic Ferret has a body length in the range of 13”-16.1” (33-41 cm) and total weight of 1.5-4.4 lb (.7-2 kg). Domestic Ferrets have a shoulder height between 4.7”-5.9” (12-15 cm), body width of 3.3”-4.3” (8.5-11 cm), and tail length of 2.75”-5.5” (7-14 cm). The typical lifespan of the Domestic Ferret is between 5-10 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Domestic Ferret seen from the side and front
Domestic Ferret (Mustela furo)
Height:
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
Width:
3.3”-4.3” | 8.5-11 cm
Length:
13”-16.1” | 33-41 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.5-4.4 lb | .7-2 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 2.75”-5.5” | 7-14 cm

Scientific Name
Mustela furo
Lifespan
5-10 years

Drawings include:

Domestic Ferret side elevation (assorted), front

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Japanese Badger (Meles anakuma)
Illustrated comparison diagram of the Japanese Badger compared to similar Mustelid species

The Japanese Badger, Meles anakuma, is a carnivorous species of the Mustelidae family. They are unique to Japan and found on woodland and forest habitats of Hunshi, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Shodoshima. The Japanese badger is smaller than their European counterparts; their front feet have powerful digging claws, and the face has characteristic black-white stripes. They are solitary, as they do not form social clans, and they are nocturnal animals that hibernate during the coldest months of the year. Like other badgers, the Japanese badger has an omnivorous diet that includes earthworms, beetles, berries, and persimmons.

The Japanese Badger has a body length in the range of 27.6”-32.7” (70-83 cm) and total weight of 8.4-24.3 lb (3.8-11 kg). Japanese Badgers have a shoulder height between 12.6”-15” (32-38 cm), body width of 8.7”-10.2” (22-26 cm), and tail length of 5.5”-7.9” (14-20 cm). The typical lifespan of the Japanese Badger is between 10-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Japanese Badger in front and side poses
The Japanese Badger, Meles anakuma, is a carnivorous species of the Mustelidae family. They are unique to Japan and found on woodland and forest habitats of Hunshi, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Shodoshima. The Japanese badger is smaller than their European counterparts.

The Japanese Badger has a body length in the range of 27.6”-32.7” (70-83 cm) and total weight of 8.4-24.3 lb (3.8-11 kg). Japanese Badgers have a shoulder height between 12.6”-15” (32-38 cm), body width of 8.7”-10.2” (22-26 cm), and tail length of 5.5”-7.9” (14-20 cm). The typical lifespan of the Japanese Badger is between 10-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Japanese Badger in front and side poses
Japanese Badger (Meles anakuma)
Height:
12.6”-15” | 32-38 cm
Width:
8.7”-10.2” | 22-26 cm
Length:
27.6”-32.7” | 70-83 cm
Depth:
Weight:
8.4-24.3 lb | 3.8-11 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 5.5”-7.9” | 14-20 cm

Scientific Name
Meles anakuma
Lifespan
10-20 years

Drawings include:

Japanese Badger side elevation (assorted), front

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European Mink (Mustela lutreola)
Illustrated comparison diagram of the European Mink compared to similar Mustelid species

The European Mink, Mustela lutreola, is a European native semiaquatic mustelid species. It is also known as the Russian mink or the Eurasian mink. It is slightly smaller with a less specialized skull than that of the American mink, but despite a similar name, the two species are not closely related. The European mink lives in forest streams that are not likely to freeze in winter, and they primarily feed on voles, frogs, fish, crustaceans, and insects. Due to climate change, habitat destruction, decline in crayfish numbers, and competition with the American mink, the European mink is classified as a critically endangered species by the IUCN.

The European Mink has a body length in the range of 14.2”-16.9” (36-43 cm) and total weight of 1.2-1.8 lb (.55-.8 kg). European Minks have a shoulder height between 5.5”-6.7” (14-17 cm), body width of 3.9”-4.7” (10-12 cm), and tail length of 5.9”-8.7” (15-22 cm). The typical lifespan of the European Mink is between 6-10 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of European Mink in front and side poses
The European Mink, Mustela lutreola, is a European native semiaquatic mustelid species. It is also known as the Russian mink or the Eurasian mink. It is slightly smaller with a less specialized skull than that of the American mink, but despite a similar name, the two species are not closely related.

The European Mink has a body length in the range of 14.2”-16.9” (36-43 cm) and total weight of 1.2-1.8 lb (.55-.8 kg). European Minks have a shoulder height between 5.5”-6.7” (14-17 cm), body width of 3.9”-4.7” (10-12 cm), and tail length of 5.9”-8.7” (15-22 cm). The typical lifespan of the European Mink is between 6-10 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of European Mink in front and side poses
European Mink (Mustela lutreola)
Height:
5.5”-6.7” | 14-17 cm
Width:
3.9”-4.7” | 10-12 cm
Length:
14.2”-16.9” | 36-43 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.2-1.8 lb | .55-.8 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 5.9”-8.7” | 15-22 cm

Scientific Name
Mustela lutreola
Lifespan
6-10 years

Drawings include:

European Mink side elevation (assorted), front

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Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
Scale illustration of an average Wolverine compared to other species of Mustelids

The Wolverine, Gulo gulo, is a muscular carnivorous mammal that resembles a small bear; it is the largest land-dwelling species in the Mustelidae family. It is ferocious and strong, and can kill prey many times larger than itself. Its short legs with large, five-toed paws enable them to climb up and over steep cliffs, trees, and peaks. Greatest numbers of wolverines can be found in Northern Canada, Alaska, mainland Nordic European countries, and throughout western Russia and Siberia. Wolverines are scavengers and the majority of their sustenance is from carrion; this is found either by themselves or after another predator finishes it.

The Wolverine has a body length in the range of 25.6”-41.3” (65-105 cm) and total weight of 15.4-61.7 lb (7-28 kg). Wolverines have a shoulder height between 13.8”-20.5” (35-52 cm), body width of 9.4”-15.4” (24-39 cm), and tail length of 5.1”-9.8” (13-25 cm). The typical lifespan of the Wolverine is between 7-17 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Wolverine seen from the side and front
The Wolverine, Gulo gulo, is a muscular carnivorous mammal that resembles a small bear; it is the largest land-dwelling species in the Mustelidae family. It is ferocious and strong, and can kill prey many times larger than itself. Its short legs with large, five-toed paws enable them to climb.

The Wolverine has a body length in the range of 25.6”-41.3” (65-105 cm) and total weight of 15.4-61.7 lb (7-28 kg). Wolverines have a shoulder height between 13.8”-20.5” (35-52 cm), body width of 9.4”-15.4” (24-39 cm), and tail length of 5.1”-9.8” (13-25 cm). The typical lifespan of the Wolverine is between 7-17 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Wolverine seen from the side and front
Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
Height:
13.8”-20.5” | 35-52 cm
Width:
9.4”-15.4” | 24-39 cm
Length:
25.6”-41.3” | 65-105 cm
Depth:
Weight:
15.4-61.7 lb | 7-28 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 5.1”-9.8” | 13-25 cm

Scientific Name
Gulo gulo
Lifespan
7-17 years

Drawings include:

Wolverine side elevation (assorted), front

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