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about the family Mustelidae, but it is inconveniently scattered about various types of media and often overshadowed by outdated information, myths, and sensationalism. Genuine Mustelids aims to provide as many great resources on the family as possible, all on one visually simple advertisement and pop-up free website. We are not among the many formulaic and AI-generated animal “facts” websites out there. We are real people with a real love for mustelids. Since this is strictly a passion project, we will also never ask readers for payment, donations, or a subscription to view our content.
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 better clarity and pursuit of truths over myths regarding these mammals we like to question practically everything here, and the truth may not always be as exciting or convenient as we have been led to believe.
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 every book that we know of where a mustelid appears as a major character in the story, currently totalling over 150 titles. Further, we list every film and documentary that we know of that primarily features mustelids, every game that features one as a primary part of the gameplay while still 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. Our aim here is to simply show content creators that there are other and less stereotypical alternatives when representing these animals.
Articles are written by several members, so writing styles will vary.
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 certainly can. Some people have a tendency to form opinions about elusive animals at an early age based on what they learnt from rumours, cartoons, literature, and other media, and if there is a lack of interest in learning more about them, these early beliefs can stick with people through adulthood.
Sometimes our habit of anthropomorphising animals to make them seem 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, some are simply out-of-touch with the lay public because they continue to use terminology that is unnecessarily confusing or misleading, or not examine the advantages of popular culture to spread their knowledge. To be fair, given how few non-otter mustelid fans there are compared to others within the family, it is reasonable that few scientists would have a comprehensive understanding of how these animals are viewed by the general public today, outside of the more common academic folklore studies.
And of course, few people who primarily focus on anthropomorphic or mythical content about mustelids are going to turn to scientific books or articles to gain a better understanding of them. We also live in an age where many people uncritically get their information about animals from memes and artificial intelligence (AI) generated content. Scientific literature can be great, however, researchers and educators must be more creative to spread knowledge in ways that reach out beyond their own circles. Conservation and animal welfare are certainly urgent matters, but there are a host of other issues that need to be addressed.
Not only do we include academic content to our sources, but also content of those who simply work with animals. There are many knowledgeable people out there who may not be considered scientists, but their passion and hands-on experience with certain mustelid species would be unwise to overlook. There are also some reputable hunters who speak out against common mustelid myths, and their voices too should be heard if we want to expand our impact.
Lastly, while 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 are passionate and frank, yet do not seek to demonise
One downside to thinking critically, is that it is often misunderstood that you cannot be sceptical or criticise one or a few aspects of something without being one hundred percent against it on the whole. Although we are often plain-spoken here and will address a variety of content we believe to be false, half-truths, or harmfully misleading, we will not impose our beliefs or seek to attack an individual’s moral qualities over said content. We do not expect everyone to agree with us or regard mustelids the way we do, and instead support our readers to make their own judgements based on the quality of the information we provide. 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.
While we may not address certain topics on this website, that does not mean we as individuals of this team do not have our own beliefs and objectives. Members will occasionally contact government and education sites to respectfully request inaccurate or misleading information about mustelids be re-evaluated or revised.
Final notes to other mustelid enthusiasts
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, yet there are also just as many condoning attitudes towards the problem and not enough sincere effort or commitment out there to help inspire a change. However, given how deeply rooted some misconceptions about certain species are, sometimes this is more attributed to a preconceived sense of individual 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 some of the most impact on the public’s perception of these animals.
How to cite our website
We are not zoologists or wildlife biologists. Therefor 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., Holton, S., Moody F., Savary, L., & Thijs F. “Page Title”. Genuine Mustelids, Page URL, Date of Access.