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Order Carnivora Family Mustelidae Large canines No diastema Claws not retractile Mustelid glands Short legs Taxidea taxus Order Carnivora Family Mustelidae Mustela erminea (Ermine) http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/ermine.htm Mustela erminea By Julie Perrett

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Order Carnivora Family Mustelidae

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order carnivora family mustelidae
Order CarnivoraFamily Mustelidae
  • Large canines
  • No diastema
  • Claws not retractile
  • Mustelid glands
  • Short legs

Taxidea taxus


Order Carnivora

Family Mustelidae

Mustela erminea



mustela erminea by julie perrett
Mustela ermineaBy Julie Perrett

ID: Short tailed weasel with a black tail tip and white feet. Tail is just over 1/3 body length. Males are larger than females.

Summer - dorsum is dark brown, venter is white or yellowish.

Winter - pure white coat with black tail tip

Total – 240-330mm

Tail – 60-95mm

HF – 30-45mm

Ear – 15-20mm

Weight – 60-150g


mustela erminea
Mustela erminea


Northern part of Western hemisphere. In Iowa found in Northern half of the state.


Found in a wide variety of habitats; woodlands, shrubby areas, lakes, marshes, rocky outcrops, open areas adjacent to woodlands, along wooded streams, and brushy fencerows.



mustela erminea5
Mustela erminea


Small mammals, birds, eggs, fish, frogs, invertebrates and young rabbits.

Hunts both day and night.

mustela erminea6
Mustela erminea


  • Promiscuous
  • Adults are generally solitary with discrete home ranges.
  • Den in old rodent burrows, tree roots, stone walls and hollow logs.
  • Nests are made out of fur, feathers, and grass.
  • Breed in early summer, gestation of 4 weeks.
  • Average litter of 4 to 8; born in April and May


Not considered endangered or threatened


mustela erminea7
Mustela erminea


  • Lifespan of 1-2 years
  • Winter pelt prized
  • Can climb trees and swim
  • Large energy demands
  • Prey killed by powerful blow to the back of neck
  • Parasitized by a nematode that destroys sinuses
  • After mating (summer) development of embryos doesn’t occur until late winter or early spring (an 8-9 month period)
  • Jones, J.K Jr. and E.C. Birney.1988. Handbook of Mammals of the North-central States. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis
  • Kays, R.W. and D.E. Wilson. 2002. The mammals of North America. Princeton University press, Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Bowers, N., Bowers, R. and K. Kaufman. 2004. Mammals of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, New York.
  • Iowa DNR. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 1 November 2004 <http://www.state.ia.us/dnr/organiza/ppd/tespecies.htm>
  • Animal Diversity Web. The University of Michigan and the Museum of Zoology. 1 November 2004 <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mustela_erminea.html>
mustela frenata

Mustela frenata

Long-tailed Weasel

Dawn M Goshorn


  • Largest weasel in Iowa
  • Dorsal brown in summer & white in winter
  • Black tip on tail
  • Total length 350-430 mm, Tail 110-140 mm, hind foot 35-50 mm, ear 15-22 mm and weight 170-240g
  • Females are smaller than males


www.cmc.org/tour/ ecosystems/alpine_f-f.html

  • Statewide
  • Only occurs in America
  • Extends from southern Canada to northern South America
  • Open brushy areas
  • Woodland borders
  • Overgrown fence rows
  • Usually near water

www.ettrickyarrow.bordernet.co.uk/ scenery/ima...


  • 90% small mammals (mice, voles, rabbits)
  • Will attack animals larger than itself
  • Hunt at any time
  • Cache food
  • May climb trees to obtain food


  • Mates in mid summer
  • Delayed implantation
  • Give birth in April or May
  • Average litter 4-8 young
  • Den is constructed from the hair of prey


conservation status
Conservation Status
  • Uncommon
  • Native

www.redpath-museum.mcgill.ca/ Qbp/mammals/Spec...

  • Myth: Sucks blood, but this is untrue
  • May be taken by trappers but fur is not of great value
  • Does not turn white in all areas in southern part of range



Bowels John B., Mammals of Iowa. 1975. Texas Tech Press. Lubbock, TX.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Long-tailed weasel. Available at http://www.iowadnr.com/education/files/lgtlweas.pdf. November 2004.

Jones, J.. Knox Jr., and Elmer C. Birney. Handbook of Mammals of the North Central United States. 1988. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis, MN.

Kays, Ronald W., and Don E. Wilson. Mammals of North America. 2002. Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ.

National Wildlife Federation. Mammals: Long-tailed Weasel. Available at http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesSH.asp?curGroupID=5&shapeID=1032&curPageNum=5&recnum=MA0036. November 2004.

mustela nivalis

Mustela nivalis

(Least weasel)

By: Lisa Hinote

mustela nivalis19
Mustela nivalis

Identification: Smallest weasel; upper body chocolate brown to sandy tan, venter white or yellowish color; patches of brown; tail brown and short, lacking black tip. Winter color is white.

TL: 190-215mm (males),

170-185mm (female)



mustela nivalis20
Mustela nivalis

Distribution: Statewide

Occurs across North America from Alaska to Maine, and as far south as Georgia


mustela nivalis21
Mustela nivalis

Habitat: Can survive in a wide variety of habitats, including open forests, farmlands; prefer marshes, grasslands and shrubby areas and try to avoid deep forests and sandy deserts.

Diet: Carnivores

Voles and mice are most of diet, but also eat insects, small ground nesting birds and their eggs. Have to eat their total body weight daily to survive because of small size and rapid metabolism.

mustela nivalis22
Mustela nivalis

Reproduction: Nests in abandoned rodent burrows of ground cover; produce two or more litters a year; 1-6 young in each litter; young are born naked and blind; female take care of young for about 12-14 weeks.


mustela nivalis23
Mustela nivalis

Conservation: Found statewide but uncommon.

Other: Rarely trapped; Inuit had great respect and the capture of one is considered a good omen. Have glands for defense and marking territory. Do not suck blood.



Anderson, R. and J. Stephens. 2002. Mustela nivalis (On-line), animal diversity web. Accessed October 31, 2004 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mustela_nivalis.html

Bowles, J.B. D.L. Howell, R. P. Lampe, and H.P. Whidden. 1998. Mammals of Iowa: Holocene to the end of the 20th century. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 105: 123-132

Bowers, N., and R. Bowers, and K. Kaufman. 2004. Mammals of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. 120 pp.

Jones, J.K., and E.C. Birney. 1988. Handbook of mammals of the north central states. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

258 pp.

May, P. 2004. Mustela nivalis (On-line), nature ca web. Accessed October 31, 2004 at http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/lestweas.htm.

mustela vison american mink

Mustela visonAmerican Mink

Family Mustelidae

Mink is a Swedish word for stinking animal

mustela vison
Mustela vison


mustela vison27
Mustela vison


long weasel-like body with short legs and a pointy flat face. Dark brown, with a white on chin, throat, chest. Pelage is long, soft, thick and glossy; has oily guard on hairs that waterproof the pelage. Hind feet are partially webbed. Anal scent gland.


TL 460-700mm, Tail 185-210mm, Weight 1-1.7kg ( 8-10 grams )

Females are ~10% smaller than males.


Found throughout the United States, except Arizona. Are in most of Canada, except along the Arctic Coast and some offshore islands.

Throughout Iowa

mustela vison28
Mustela vison


Common, Throughout


Semi aquatic- prefers lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, marshes

and brushy rocky outcroppings.


Summer-- crayfish, frogs, shrews, rabbits, mice, muskrats, fish, waterfowl.

Winter– mainly small mammals.


mustela vison29
Mustela vison


  • Mark Territories with secretion from anal scent glands
  • Nocturnal – mainly dawn and dusk
  • Skilled swimmers and climbers, able to swim underwater 30m and dive up to 5m
  • Dig dens in banks, under tree roots, or abandoned muskrat houses
  • Line dens with dried grass, leaves or fur from past prey
  • Range is linear, following shoreline. Males 2.5-5.5km, females 0.5-3km
mustela vison30
Mustela vison


Mate in mid to late winter, young are born in April or May

Minks have a delayed implantation, which varies gestation period 40-75 days

A litter of 1-10 young, stay with mother until autumn. May begin mating around 10 months

Life span up to 4 years in wild, 10 years captive

mustela vison31
Mustela vison


Trapping Season Nov. 6, 2004 – Jan. 31, 2004

No daily bag limit, No possession limit.

Mid 1960’s there were 7200 Mink ranches, 439 in 1998.

2.94 million pelts

$72.9 million


mustela vison32
Mustela vison


works citied
Works Citied

Jones, J. Knox, Jr. and Elmer C. 1988. Birney. Handbook of mammals of the north-central states. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Arkive. Nov. 2004. Images of life on Earth. http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/mammals/Mustela_vison/more_still_images.html.

Canada’s Aquatic Environments. Nov. 2004. http://www.aquatic.uoguelph.ca/mammals/freshwater/accounts/mink.htm.

Iowa DNR webpage. Nov. 2004. http://www.iowadnr.com/.

University of Michigan museum of zoology. Nov. 2004. Animal diversity web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mustela_vison.html.

eastern spotted skunk spilogale putorius kristin myers
Eastern Spotted SkunkSpilogale putoriusKristin Myers


ID: Black with horizontal white stripes on neck and shoulders; irregular vertical stripes and elongated spots on sides; white spots on top of head; white tip on tail. Virtually identical to the Western Spotted but can be distinguished by range.


Eastern Western




Habitat: Mixed woodlands and open areas, scrub and farmland

Distribution: statewide

Status: common

Diet: Omnivorous; small mammals, grubs, insects, corn, berries

Reproduction: 1 litter of 2-6 April-May born in a woodchuck burrow, a hollow log, under a foundation or any other protected place




Other: Spotted skunks are the most agile of all skunks and can bound and climb trees with ease.

Even skunks themselves cannot stand their odor.

  • http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesSH.asp?curGroupID=5&shapeID=1032&curPageNum=14&recnum=MA0039
  • http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/spilputo.htm
  • http://www.eduscapes.com/nature/skunk/index1.htm
  • http://www.entm.purdue.edu/Wildlife/skunk_pictures.htm
  • http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld/profiles/photos/nt/nt0211aS.html
  • http://www.death-valley.us/article48.html

The Striped SkunkOrder: CarnivoraFamily: MustelidaeGenus Species: Mephitis mephitisBy: Leslie Reedhttp://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu

mephitis mephitis
Mephitis mephitis
  • Identification:Large, robust. Black body w/ white patch on forehead and two white stripes down back; white hairs in bushy tail. Color variable. Ears short, rounded; eyes small. Compare to Eastern Spotted Skunk.
  • TL= 620-790 mm (females smaller) 3-11 lbs.
  • Distribution:Statewide



mephitis mephitis43
Mephitis mephitis
  • Habitat:Anywhere shelter is available: woodland edge and brushy areas, fields, agri. areas, neighborhoods; close to water. Avoids deep woods, marshy areas
  • Dens made in natural cavities, abandoned burrows
  • Many females in winter; males solitary
  • Home range: 40-1,000+ acres
  • Do not hibernate; less active though


mephitis mephitis44
Mephitis mephitis
  • Diet: Omnivorous: small mammals, birds, insects, invertebrates, carrion, eggs, berries, amphibians
  • Reproduction:Breeding takes place in late winter (Feb). Gestation: avg. 2 mo. Single litter of 4-11 kittens born in spring (May). May stay w/ family up to 1 yr.
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Males are polygamous and only meet w/ females to breed
  • Conservation Status: Abundant and stable


mephitis mephitis45
Mephitis mephitis
  • Other:
  • “Mephitis” means “bad odor”
  • Typically raise tail and stomp front feet before spraying (up to 12 ft!) Can smell up to 1 mile away
  • Odor is less offensive than Spotted Skunk
  • Primarily nocturnal, but may be seen during the day


mephitis mephitis46
Mephitis mephitis

Other (continued)

  • Predators: raptors (esp. GHO), larger carnivores, humans
  • High number killed on roads and farms
  • Valuable fur animal
    • Pelts: $2.00, but tremendous amounts taken
  • Some economic importance
    • Rarely eats poultry or destroys crops; controls rodent & insect population
    • Musk, odor removed, used in perfumes
  • Highly parasitized and can carry rabies and distemper
references mephitis mephitis
References: Mephitis mephitis
  • Jones, J.K, Jr. and E.C. Birney. 1988. Handbook of Mammals of the North-central States. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
  • Kays, R.W. and D.E. Wilson. 2002. The Mammals of North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Burt, W.H. and R.P. Grossenheider. 1980. The Peterson Field Guide to Mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY.
  • Davis, W.B and D.J. Schmidly, 1997. “The Striped Skunk” (On-line), The Mammals Of Texas. Accessed November 01, 2004 at http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/mephmeph.htm.
  • Forseth, Alan, 1995. “Striped Skunk” (On-line), bcadventure.com. Accessed November 01, 2004 at http://www.fishbc.com/adventure/wilderness/animals/skunk.htm.
  • The Georgia Museum of Natural History and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 2000. “Skunk” (On-line), Georgia Wildlife Web. Accessed November 01, 2004 at http://museum.nhm.uga.edu/gawildlife/mammals/Carnivora/Mustelidae/mmephitis.html.
  • Wilke, C. 2001. "Mephitis mephitis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 02, 2004 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mephitis_mephitis.html.
american badger family mustelidae taxidea taxus

American BadgerFamily: MustelidaeTaxidea taxus

Charles Weyer

A Ecol 364

Fall 2004

taxidea taxus
Taxidea taxus


  • Short powerful legs
  • Short tail
  • Claws long and curved for digging
  • Shaggy dorsal pelage
  • Ventral yellowish white
  • Medial white strip on face
  • Black “badges” on sides of face
  • TL 60-78cm, 3.6-11.4 kg


taxidea taxus51
Taxidea taxus


  • Western North America from Mexico to Canada
  • Fairly common in Iowa in suitable habitats
  • Not endangered or threatened in Iowa or federally.


taxidea taxus52
Taxidea taxus


  • Open areas, plains, prairies, farmland, and edges of woods
  • Have multiple dens for sleeping, breeding, and storage
  • Single entrance marked by dirt pile


taxidea taxus53
Taxidea taxus
  • Mating in July and August
  • Only time not solitary
  • Embryo in arrested development till December
  • Single litter with 1-5 young in March or April
  • Mature in a year



taxidea taxus54
Taxidea taxus
  • Carnivore
  • Small vertebrates, rodents, carrion, fish, snakes, and insects
  • Sometimes cache food
  • Tunnels after most of its prey



taxidea taxus55
Taxidea taxus


  • Torpor not hibernation
  • Active day and night
  • Pest species to ranchers
  • Humans are worst predator


  • Jones, Knox J. and Elmer C. Birney. Handbook of Mammals of the North-Central States. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis, MN. 1988
  • New Hampshire Public Television. American Badger. Retrieved from:http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Taxidea_taxus.html,accessed on 11/03/04. Last Update Unknown.
  • Shefferly, Nancy. Animal Diversity Web. Taxidea taxus. Retrieved from:http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/americanbadger.htm#1, accessed on 11/03/04. Last updated 2004.