Otters, weasels, ferrets, minks, martens, badgers, wolverines and skunks may seem very different from each other, but they all come from the same sister families known as Mephitidae and Mustelidae. While skunks, a part of the Mephitidae family, are the most famous for their ability to spray stinky musk, every member of its Mustelidae sister group can also produce this smelly liquid. There are 67 different species of mustelids, and they live in habitats in nearly every part of the world. In fact, the only two continents where mustelids do not live are Antarctica and Australia.ZB_Skunks_front_cvr

Because they live all over the planet, skunks and their mustelid relatives are all very unique. Minks, weasels and ferrets all have long, slender bodies that make them flexible runners. While otters have a slim body as well, they also have a strong tail and use both to swim gracefully in fast-moving rivers and vast seas. The two largest members of the mustelid family are the badger and the wolverine. Badgers are born diggers with short, powerful legs and long, sharp claws for burrowing through hard dirt. Wolverines are large, strong hunters capable of climbing trees and tracking prey across long distances. The combination of their strength and stink has even earned them the nickname skunk bears.