Subfamily Lutrinae (Otters)
Subfamily Melinae (Badgers)
Subfamily Mellivorinae (Ratels)
Subfamily Taxidiinae (American Badgers)
Mustelidae is a family of carnivorous mammals, which is perhaps the most successful and diverse group in the Order Carnivora. They range from about the size of a small mouse to the 50lb. wolverine. They include familiar types such as the badgers, otters, skunks, and weasels.
Most animals under the mustelidae have long, short bodies along with their short ears and legs. They generally have slender bodies with the exception of badgers and wolverines. Their skulls are usually elongated like most carnivores. The males usually are 25% larger than the females. Weight varies in this family from 114 mm and 25 g (weasels) to 1 m and 45 kg (sea otter). They all have non-retractable claws that are (in digging species) rather robust. The upper molars often have an hour-glass shape on account of the narrowness of the mid-portion of the tooth. These animals all have a powerful bite and a prostgenoid process which locks the lower jaw into the upper, causing the lower jaw only to move vertically. They also (for the most part) have an anal scent gland which they use for things such as territory marking and defense.
Most Mustelidaes are polygamous and/or pronuos and are sexual in their reproduction. Some are social while others are solitary. They usually breed seasonally. The season is usually 3 to 4 months long. It takes up to 10 months for the uterus to be implanted. Temperature and day length determine when this event occurs. Gestation takes 30 to 65 days. Mustelidaes have one litter per season of various sizes. For example: sables have an average of 2.2 pups a litter, but can have 1 to 7. Mountain Weasels have an average of 8.7, but can have 3 to 14 pups in one litter. Pups in this family are usually born small and blind. The offspring become sexually mature between 8 months and 2 years later.
Habitat: These animals live in a wide varieties of environment such including terrestrial, aquatic, and marine. They reside almost anywhere except the following: Australia, Antarctica, Madagascar, and oceanic islands. The terrestrial ones live on tundra, taiga, deserts/dunes, savanna/grasslands, chaparral, forest, and suburbia. The wetlanders live in marshes, swamps, and bogs. The aquatic bunch reside in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and coasts. Most of which are freshwater. Their actual homes consist of burrows and crevasses. Some, such as martens, have adapted to tree climbing, while others, such as sea otters or minks swim.
Niche: All of the before mentioned animals are carnivorous, although some eat parts of plants. Mustelideans will eat both vertebrates and invertebrates. They keep their diets mainly to small mammals, fish, crustaceans, and non-insect arthropods, some weasles can take on animals larger than themselves.