Educational and Nonfiction

For those searching for a more in-depth read on mustelids, these books will assist you with your studies or general curiosity.

English common names for species

There are several pieces of literature below written by English authors. Whenever they refer to an animal simply as a “weasel”, they are almost exclusively referring to England’s native least weasel, especially when using the phrase “stoats and weasels”. Likewise, if a species is simply called a “badger”, “otter“, “pine marten”, or “polecat”, they are most likely referring to the European badger, Eurasian otter, Eurasian pine marten, and European polecat.

Literature by Species


(1) Badgers at My Window by Phil Drabble [ISBN: 9780853801863]

Requires a synopsis.

(2) Badger Behaviour Conservation & Rehabilitation by George E. Pearce [ISBN: 9781907807046]

A fascinating insight into the European badger’s (Meles meles) world. George Pearce has surveyed over 700 sites, visited 1,500 setts, been consulted as an expert in 120 animal cruelty cases and rehabilitated more than 100 badgers. Brought up on a farm, he earned his living as a farmer for 45 years. Until his death in 2015, Mr. Pearce was a badger consultant and one of the foremost experts on the British mammal he admires the most.

(3) The Natural History of Badgers by Ernest G. Neal [ISBN: 9780816014095]

Discusses the habitats, behavior, feeding habits, and social life of the European badger (Meles meles), and examines the relationship between humans and badgers.

(4) No Badgers in my Wood by Phil Drabble [ISBN: 9780718118532]

Requires a synopsis.

(5) When Badgers Wake by Phil Drabble

Requires a synopsis.


(1) Fisher: Life History, Ecology, and Behavior by Roger A. Powell [ISBN: 9780816622665]

Fisher is the first in-depth study of all that is known about this fascinating mammal. Incorporating new research findings from the past decade in this second edition, Roger A. Powell skillfully examines contemporary knowledge of fisher biology, ecology, and behavior and places it in an evolutionary perspective that gives insight into how and why fishers evolved as they did. Included is detailed information on: -the anatomy, reproduction, and development of the fisher; -population dynamics and the history of continent-wide population declines and recovery; -habitat requirements; -food and hunting behavior; -the fascinating predator-prey relationship between fishers and porcupines; -spacing patterns and social organization; -energetics, conservation, and more. This classic reference, now revised and updated, is a valuable resource for biologists and wildlife managers who work with fishers, martens, and other members of the mustelid family, as well as anyone interested in this North American mammal.


(1) Pine Martens (The British Natural History Collection) by Johnny Birks [ISBN: 9781873580325]

A book about Eurasian pine marten (Martes martes) ecology and behaviour in Britain and Ireland. Author Johnny Birks combines the latest research with very personal descriptions, complimented by humorous illustrations that are right on point; as well as high quality photos.

(2) A Richness of Martens: Wildlife Tales from the Highlands by Polly Pullar, illustrator Sharon Tingey, and contributor John Lister-Kaye [ISBN: 9781780276366]

When Les and Chris Humphreys moved to Ardnamurchan 15 years ago, little did they realise they would be sharing their home with some of Britain’s most elusive and misunderstood mustelids. Amongst all the animals and birds that visit their garden, they have formed a special bond with numerous Eurasian pine martens (Martes martes), and have studied them and a cast of other creatures at close range through direct observation and via sensor-operated cameras.

Naturalist and photographer Polly Pullar has known the Humphreys and their Eurasian pine martens for many years. In this book she tells the remarkable story of the couple and their animal friends, interpolating it with natural history, anecdote and her own experiences of the wildlife of the area. The result is a fascinating glimpse into the life of a much misunderstood animal and a passionate portrait of one of Scotland’s richest habitats – the oakwoods of Scotland’s Atlantic seaboard.

(3) I Mårskogen by Jan Rabben and Ole Jakob Vorraa [ISBN: 82-994320-2-2]

A Norwegian only tribute to the shadow of the forest, the elusive Eurasian pine marten (Martes martes), as well as their world and the other inhabitants they share their space with. Jan Rabben and Ole Jakob Vorraa spent seven years gathering the material for the book and gaining the trust of the animals, with stunning results. While the text is both fascinating and personal read for those who know the Norwegian language, the book is recommended to anyone for its large photos alone, giving you insight to the magic of the woods as if you were there yourself.

North American Mink

(1) The New Sport of Minkenry: The Art of Taming, Training, and Hunting with one of Nature’s Most Intense Predators by Joseph Carter [ISBN: 9781500400668]

This book not only tells how the art of Minkenry began, but more importantly, it is a step by step guide to those wanting to train a North American mink (Neogale vison). In this book Joseph shares how to tame, train, and properly care for the animal.


(1) The Adventures of Phokey the Sea Otter: Based on a True Story [ISBN: 9780964860001]

An orphaned sea otter is given a new home at an island off the coast of California, where he plays with harbour seals, divers, and makes long journeys along the coast.

(2) An Otter’s Story by Emil E. Liers

A true story of the lives of two North American river otters (Lontra canadensis), their parents and pups. The story was written by a Minnesota naturalist in the hope that it would clear up some of the misunderstanding about these animals.

(3) Bee a Particular Otter by Daphne Neville, illustrated by Jaquie Govier [ISBN: 9780907537038]

Bee is an Asian small clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) and lives with Daphne Neville, a good friend and supporter of the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF).  Bee travels with Daphne and helps raise awareness in otters.  She is also a companion and is often invited, along with Daphne, to various gatherings and events. This book briefly tells some of Bee’s adventures over the years that she has been with Daphne and contains lovely colour illustrations by Jaquie Govier.

(4) The Life Story of An Otter by John Coulson Tregarthen [ISBN: 9781975748173]

Requires a synopsis.

(5) Otters of the World by Paul & Grace Yoxon [ISBN: 9781849951296]

Having worked for over 20 years on otter conservation of all 13 species, the authors wished to share their experiences of these beautiful animals. People may be familiar with the Asian small-clawed otters, often found in zoos, or the sea otter, well-known for lying on its back cracking open shells, but may not be aware that there are more fascinating species. It is hoped the book will increase public support for the work of the IOSF (International Otter Survival Fund) and awareness of the terrible plight of otters which in many countries are on the verge of extinction. Each species is listed in the IUCN Red Data List and yet little attention is given to their predicament.

(6) Otters: Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation by Hans Kruuk [ISBN: 9780198565871]

This book includes information about all species of otter in North America, Europe and elsewhere throughout the world.

(7) Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell [ISBN: 9781910065099]

This book describes how Maxwell brought a smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) back from Iraq and raised it at “Camusfeàrna” (the name he used for his house at Sandaig near Glenelg), on the west coast of Scotland.

(8) Sea Otters by John A. Love [ISBN: 9781555911232]

Exploring the habits, habitats, and antics of the North American sea otter (Enhydra lutris), the author of The Return of the Sea Eagle traces the problems and perseverance that have marked the history of this thick-furred and beautiful sea mammal. Sea Otters offers a detailed introduction to the behavior, conservation efforts and future threats that endanger this beloved animal.

(9) Tarka the Otter: His Joyful Water-Life and Death in the Country of the Two Rivers by Henry Williamson

The novel describes the life of an Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), along with a detailed observation of its habitat in the country of the River Taw and River Torridge in North Devon.

Note: Be warned that the foreword at the beginning of certain editions will give away details of the ending.


(1) Polecats (The British Natural History Collection) by Johnny Birks [ISBN: 9781873580981]

This book takes notice of the European polecat (Mustela putorius), and their silent recovery in Britain.


(1) The Natural History of Weasels and Stoats: Ecology, Behavior, and Management by Carolyn M. King and Roger A. Powell, illustrated by Consie Powell [ISBN: 9780195322712]

A very well written book that goes to great lengths to explain the truths about stoats and other weasels across the world, as well as their impact in different environments. You will learn about both the positives and negatives, but the book maintains a mostly friendly image of these mustelids.

Despite the high number of pages, this book uses a clear language supplied with illustrations that makes it fun to plow through while still managing to satisfy scientific needs.

(2) Women and Weasels: Mythologies of Birth in Ancient Greece and Rome by Maurizio Bettini, Emlyn Eisenach [ISBN: 9780226044743]

If you told a woman her sex had a shared, long-lived history with weasels, she might deck you. However, those familiar with mythology know better: that the connection between women and weasels is an ancient and favorable one, based in the Greek myth of a midwife who tricked the gods to ease Heracles’s birth—and was turned into a weasel by Hera as punishment.


(1) Demon of the North (originally published in Swedish as Tupu-Tupu-Tupu) by Peter Krott

In the early 1950s Austrian naturalist Peter Krott set out for rural Sweden to conduct one of the earliest formal investigations into wolverine behaviour in a natural setting. Bringing with him three Finnish wolverines he obtained as kits and hand-raised, Krott and his “tupus” (his affectionate pet name for wolverines) soon become the centre of a proxy war waged by local sportsmen against the Swedish government and its game laws.

Demon of the North is as much Krott’s autobiography as it is a monograph of wolverine behaviour, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the Western man’s historical attitudes toward wolverines – once popularly thought to be “in league with the Devil” – and toward other animals in general. A particularly astute reader will notice Krott’s own changing attitudes as the story progresses, and will be stirred by the rare moments his otherwise composed writing style falters and betrays an underlying sensitivity toward animals somewhat uncommon for its time.

Though his stories are perhaps a bit embellished and his understanding of wolverine behaviour is somewhat outdated, this book nonetheless provides a compelling argument against the popular conception of wolverines as beasts of unrelenting aggression. Particularly notable is the inclusion of a number of high-quality photographs that wonderfully illustrate the genuine and mutual attachment between Krott and his tupus. Demon of the North promises to revolutionise a reader’s understanding of these rare animals and is no doubt a worthwhile read for any wolverine fan.

This book can be read on the Internet Archive at Demon of the North.

(2) The Wolverine Way by Douglas H. Chadwick [ISBN: 9780980122749]

Glutton, demon of destruction, symbol of slaughter, mightiest of wilderness villains… The wolverine comes marked with a reputation based on myth and fancy. Yet this enigmatic animal is more complex than the legends that surround it. With a shrinking wilderness and global warming, the future of the wolverine is uncertain. The Wolverine Way reveals the natural history of this species and the forces that threaten its future, engagingly told by Douglas Chadwick, who volunteered with the Glacier Wolverine Project. This five-year study in Glacier National Park – which involved dealing with blizzards, grizzlies, sheer mountain walls, and other daily challenges to survival – uncovered key missing information about the wolverine’s habitat, social structure and reproduction habits. Wolverines, according to Chadwick, are the land equivalent of polar bears in regard to the impacts of global warming. The plight of wolverines adds to the call for wildlife corridors that connect existing habitat that is proposed by the Freedom to Roam coalition.

Contains Multiple Mustelids

(1) Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 1 by Lynx Edicions, illustrated by Toni Llobet [ISBN: 9788496553491]

These are so-called “coffee table books”- huge and heavy books meant for display with large pictures in them. Mustelids are included in the first volume, Carnivores; and while it is not entirely mustelid-centered, we would like to suggest it as an extra addition to the list because the illustrated plates are among the best we have seen. It provides a full guide to all the species within Mustelidae, as well as a nice comparison to all the other families within the order Carnivora.

Children’s Literature | Young Adult Literature | Educational and Nonfiction

Mustelids in Media