The 55 members of the ferret family are called mustelids, from the Latin ‘mus’ meaning mouse and ‘tela’ meaning spear as they look like elongated mice.
The stoat is 15 to 30 centimetres (6 to 12 inches) long, and every winter it grows a brilliant white winter pelt so blend in with the snow. In the summer it is light brown and hunts small mammals, birds and eggs.
There are 11 species of badger worldwide and each is a successful hunter. Though mostly nocturnal, young badgers can be sighted in daylight while playing close to their set.
Otters feed on aquatic animals and have dense, waterproof fur to get through cold winters. They are solitary as adults but mothers raise several young or kits for up to a year before they leave to establish their own territories.
The most fearsome member of the family is undoubtedly the wolverine. With sharp teeth and dagger-like claws, this animal is not to be messed with and is known attack animals several times their size, like the caribou.
Mink dominate the food chain in their natural, and invasive mink are having success in many countries after being released from fur farms. Unfortunately, resident species like voles are suffering a population hit from the hunting skills of invading mink.
Weasels are small mustelids that feed on rabbits and other small mammals. They are the smallest native carnivores in Britain and begin to hunt only 8 weeks of life.