Weasels (Family Mustelidae)
Mustelidae or Mustelids (from Latin mustela, weasel), commonly
referred to as the weasel family, is a family of carnivorous mammals.
The Mustelidae is a diverse family and the largest in Order Carnivora,
at least partly because it has in the past been a catch-all category.
The Mustelidae in general are phylogenetically relatively primitive and
so were difficult to classify until genetic evidence started to become
available. The increasing availability of such evidence may well result in
some members of the family being moved to their own separate families,
as has already happened with the skunks, previously considered to be
members of the mustelid family.
Mustelids vary greatly in size and behavior. The least weasel is not
much larger than a mouse. At the other end of the scale, giant otter can
measure up to 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) in total length and sea otters can
exceed 45 kilograms (99 lb).
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