There is a lot of good information out there about the family Mustelidae, but it is inconveniently scattered about various types of media and often overshadowed by outdated information and sensationalism. Genuine Mustelids aims to provide as many great mustelid resources as possible, all on one visually simple advertisement and pop-up free website.
On this website we focus on the entire mustelid family and not just one species or subfamily. This puts us in a unique position to compare and explain the differences between species, and how some content and terms out there can be confusing or harmfully misleading. Some say ignorance is bliss, but for the sake of clarity and pursuit of truths over myths regarding these mammals we like to question practically everything here. We rarely accept the rationale, “That’s just the way it’s always been”.
What we do
We are building a set of unique resources for those interested in one or more of the following:
• First, we list and provide data on practically every species in Family of Mustelids, with references to scientific literature, publications, and other credible resources. In addition, in the rare occasion where our knowledge is not corroborated by these sources, we offer information based on some of our members’ encounters and experience with mustelids. In such instances, we make only objective assertions.
• Second, based on these data, in Anatomy Tutorials we aim to provide helpful guides for those attempting to visually depict various mustelids, breaking down major physical traits among the subfamilies.
• Third, in Mustelids in Media we provide a unique database of books, films, animation, and games. Here, we list and provide a synopsis of every book that we know of where a mustelid appears as a major character in the story, currently totalling over 100 titles. Further, we list every film and documentary that we know of that primarily features mustelids, and every game that features one as a primary part of the gameplay (while also actually resembling their species), as well as list examples of well-known and obscure animations where mustelids are particularly well-represented. Finally, we give explanation for how some common morphologically inaccurate stereotypes were spread in media. This piece goes into detail about the ways mustelids (particularly weasels) are often anatomically misrepresented and typecast as villains in fiction. While we have no intention of raising hell over such matters, our aim is to simply show content creators that there are other and less stereotypical alternatives when representing these animals.
How we help
Having a website that educates people about real-life mustelids is one thing, but how does a list of fictional media help these animals in the real world? Such content is merely fiction and does not represent reality, right? Fictional media should not reflect on mustelids in the real world but it often does. People have a tendency to form opinions about elusive animals at an early age based on what they have learnt from cartoons, literature, and other media, and if there is a lack of interest in learning more about them, these early beliefs tend to stick with people through adulthood. Sometimes anthropomorphising animals to make them more interesting or relatable can inadvertently perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes, and while the practise itself is by no means “wrong”, it is important to clarify the differences between fiction and real animal behaviour.
We address both science and popular culture
While there are many great scientists and conservation organisations that both help educate people about mustelids and protect their habitat, not enough look beyond their scientific circles to examine terms or labels that can be confusing or misleading to the public, or take advantage of popular culture to spread their knowledge. Realistically, few people who primarily focus on anthropomorphic or mythical content about mustelids are going to turn to large scientific books to learn facts about them. Books are great, but we have to get creative and try to spread knowledge in more than one way.
Even though fictional media is of course rarely scientifically accurate, we cannot ignore the fact that many people’s interest in lesser-known animals is kindled from a favourite childhood or young-adulthood character—such as Kine the least weasel, Tatyana the sable, and Bill the European badger, to name a few. For this reason, we believe combining both fictional media and animal facts to be a great way in helping people learn more about mustelids. We also believe that even those without a zoology degree may make a difference in improving their reputation, since it was average people who perpetuated negative stereotypes in the first place.
We prefer to focus more on sharing knowledge than demonising
Although we are often plain-spoken here, we will not impose our views or seek to demonise, silence, or attack an individual’s moral qualities over mustelid representation. We do not expect everyone to regard mustelids the way we do and support our readers to make their own judgements based on the information we provide. If an individual is unconcerned about mustelids being misrepresented or chooses to perpetuate misinformation, that is their choice. We are here to serve those who do care and are seeking more insight. Any outside content that is accessible via this website that may raise concern over the treatment of mustelids will also be left to the reader’s assessment.
Our website’s content is unlikely to appeal to the majority of viewers, but the majority has never been our focus. From our experience there are many talented mustelid enthusiasts out there who dislike and denounce the way these animals are often misrepresented, but there is also just as much if not more condoning attitudes towards the problem, and not enough sincere effort or commitment to help inspire a change. However, given how deeply rooted some misconceptions about certain species are, sometimes the lack of effort is more attributed to a preconceived sense of ineffectiveness rather than idleness.
Ultimately, our hope is for content creators who understand the issues and are inspired by our website to create improved wildlife documentaries, literature, games, art, animation, and other media about mustelids—to illustrate the information we provide in a way that appeals to their targeted audience. We believe it is these types of media that have the most impact on the public’s perception of these animals.
How to cite our website
We are only a secondary source for all scientific material and would prefer the sources we provide to be cited. To cite any editorial or original content, below is an example of a citation to our website using MLA Format:
Goff, N., Hammond, A., Hanna W., Krummholtz, A., Moody F., Savary, L., & Thijs F. “Page Title”. Genuine Mustelids, Page URL, Date of Access.