Badgers Weasels Skunks and Otters: Mustelidae
Behavior And Reproduction, Mustelids And People, Ermine (mustela Erminea;): Species Accounts, Striped Skunk (mephitis Mephitis): Species AccountsPHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET,
STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
EUROPEAN OTTER (Lutra lutra): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
EUROPEAN BADGER (Meles meles): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
Mustelids, members of the family Mustelidae, may either have a slim, elongated body and long tail like weasels, mink, martens, and otters, or a stocky body and short tail like badgers and wolverines. Some have webbed feet for swimming. Their fur may be uniform in color, striped, or spotted. They may be white, silver, brown, or black in color. The smallest mustelid, the least weasel, is also the smallest carnivore, weighing about 1.76 ounces (50 grams).
Mustelids are found on all continents except Antarctica. They live in such countries as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Mongolia, Great Britain, Ireland, Finland, Algeria, and Morocco.
Mustelids inhabit a wide range of habitats. Sea otters live exclusively in the ocean, while river otters forage for food in water but den (make a den, or place to live) on land. Some live in the desert like the honey badgers, and others in tundra marshes, like ermines. Some take over their prey's dens, such as black-footed ferrets. Others, including skunks and badgers live near humans under abandoned buildings, in golf courses, and in parks.
Mustelids are either true carnivores, such as weasels, martens, and otters, feeding mainly on meat, or omnivores, like skunks, badgers, and tayras, consuming both animals and plants. Their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, reptiles, birds, insects, fruits, roots, and seeds.
The United States classifies the black-footed ferret as Endangered due to habitat loss to agriculture and the declining population of prairie dogs, its main prey. The IUCN lists the black-footed ferret as Extinct in the Wild, and four otters, two weasels, and one mink as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
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