Mustelids (aka Mustelidae)


Mustelidae refers to a family of fur-bearing carnivores, characteristically possessing well-developed anal scent glands, and the animals in this group are called mustelids.

It has one of the biggest variety of species in the order Carnivora, as well as being one of the older ones. This group has about 25 existing genera with about 70 species (and 47-73 extinct genera).

Most of the ferret’s kissing cousins (like the black-footed ferret, polecat, etc) are listed in the Genus Mustela. It’s a pretty big group, with 16 species listed under that umbrella.

Mustelids are an incredibly diverse family and the animals range in size from tiny (the least weasel 35-70g) to the size of a medium dog (the giant otter 35-40kg).

Most mustelids are slender with a long body on short legs, a long tail and short, rounded ears set low on their heads. Sound familiar?


So, if you want to follow the taxonomy (ie the orderly classification of animals) of the ferret, it will progress like this :

Mustelidae Mustelinae Mustela Putorius Furo

Click on the Mustela link below and follow the trail to Mustela putorius furo.

As and when I get around to adding more mustelid information, then more links will be alive so please check back often.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Carnivora

Family: Mustelidae

Subfamily Lutrinae (Otters)

  • Genus Amblonyx (Oriental Small-Clawed Otter)
  • Genus Aonyx (Clawless Otter)
  • Genus Enhydra (Sea Otter)
  • Genus Lontra (Marine Otter)
  • Genus Lutra (Old World River Otter)
  • Genus Lutrogale (Smooth-Coated Otter)
  • Genus Pteronura (Giant Otter)

Subfamily Melinae (Badgers)

  • Genus Arctonyx (Hog Badger)
  • Genus Meles (Eurasian Badger)
  • Genus Melogale (Ferret Badger)
  • Genus Mydaus (Stink Badger)

Subfamily Mellivorinae (Ratels)

  • Genus Mellivora

Subfamily Taxidiinae (American Badgers)

  • Genus Taxidea

Subfamily Mustelinae (Weasels, polecats, wolverines, ferrets, etc.)



Skunks (Mephitinae) used to be classified as mustelids until new DNA tests showed that they belonged to their own family, called Mephitidae.


Interesting article about mustelids …

Weasels Are Built for the Hunt



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