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  1.   1.  Speech
  2.   2.  Uses
  3.   3.  Native Types
    1.   3.1  Fisher
    2.   3.2  Marten
    3.   3.3  Mink
    4.   3.4  Otter
    5.   3.5  Weasels
  4.   4.  Non-Native Types
    1.   4.1  Badger
    2.   4.2  Wolverine

Mustelids are a large and diverse family of carnivorous mammals, making up about 56–60 species across eight subfamilies. They vary greatly in both size and behavior, from the small, burrowing stoat to the medium-sized, arboreal fisher to the larger, semi-aquatic river otter. Despite the vast variances, mustelids are characterized by their long bodies, short limbs and ears, strong odor, and thick, valuable furs.

Mustelids are active year-round and can be found throughout the 'Souls territories. Because of how diverse this order of mammal is, where any one of these mustelids can be found will depend on their habitat, behavior, and food source. See individual sections for more specific information about the distribution of these animals.

1.  Speech

According to our Speech Guide, this creature speaks Low Speech naturally. It is therefore not able to communicate with Luperci in its natural state. However, this creature is listed as having the ability to comprehend high speech, and may be able to learn to speak broken high speech.

2.  Uses

  • Partnership: With their ability to comprehend High Speech, Luperci and mustelids could find partnerships to be mutually beneficial, particularly when hunting common prey.
  • Companionship: If not working together for a common cause, or being killed for meat and fur, some mustelids may instead tolerate companionships with Luperci.
  • Food: While rodents might make for an easier meal, predation by Luperci would not be unheard of among most mustelids.
  • Fur: Mustelid fur was once prized by humanity for its softness and warmth. While Luperci, by and large, don't need extra furs for warmth, they may still find value in the furs of these animals.

3.  Native Types

3.1  Fisher

Fisher (Martes pennanti)

  • Description: Closely related to, but larger than, the marten, the fisher is a medium-sized mustelid with a body that is long, thin, and low to the ground. The fisher's fur, which ranges from deep brown to black, changes with the season and differs slightly between sexes. From the face to the shoulders, fur can be hoary-gold or silver due to tricolored guard hairs. The underside of a fisher is almost completely brown except for randomly placed patches of white or cream-colored fur. In the summer, the fur color is more variable and may lighten considerably.
    • Diet: Fishers are omnivorous and feed on a wide variety of small animals and occasionally fruits and mushrooms. They show a preference for the snowshoe hare and are one of the few predators able to hunt porcupines. Despite their name, fishers seldom eat fish.
    • Habitat: Although fishers are competent tree climbers, with females denning in hollow trees, they spend most of their time on the forest floor. They have been found in extensive conifer forests typical of the boreal forest, but are also common in mixed-hardwood and conifer forests.
  • Range: Across 'Souls. They prefer riparian forests to other habitats, keeping to areas with continuous overhead cover greater than 80% coverage and avoiding areas with less than 50% coverage. They are therefore prolific in the Miramichi Watershed, Gaspesia, and Ethereal Eclipse areas.

3.2  Marten

American Pine Marten (Martes americana)

  • Description: The American pine marten is a long, slender-bodied mustelid, about the size of a mink, with relatively large, rounded ears, short limbs, and a bushy tail. Their long, silky fur ranges in color from pale yellowish buff to tawny brown to almost black, with their head usually lighter in color than the rest of their body while the tail and legs are darker. American marten usually have a characteristic throat and chest bib ranging in color from pale straw to vivid orange.
    • Diet: Opportunistic predators, the American marten's diet will vary depending on the season and availability of prey. They seem to have a preference for voles, however they tend towards larger prey, such as snowshoe hares, in the winter.
    • Habitat: The marten lives in mature coniferous or mixed forests, allowing female martens plenty of options for natal and maternal dens. Denning sites could be anything from the branches, cavities, or broken tops of live trees, woody debris, rock piles, or squirrel nests. Weather may impact American marten activity and individuals may become inactive during storms or extreme cold, making Luperci sightings less likely during these extremes.
  • Range: Martens were not found in mainland Nova Scotia prior to the apocalypse, but they were found in the now-defunct Ashes and Ashes prior to the 2008 fire. Existing populations have since have moved into the forests of Sticks and Stones, especially the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, and can be found in other heavily forested territories within New Brunswick, such as the Miramichi Wilderness and Gaspesia.

3.3  Mink

American Mink (Neovison vison)

  • Description: A semi-aquatic mustelid, the American mink has a streamlined shape that helps it to reduce water resistance while swimming. It is larger in size and has a stouter form that is more reminiscent of martens than of other members of its genus (weasels and stoats). The subspecies within 'Souls is the Eastern or Little Black Mink (N. v. vison) and it is the smallest of its kind. Predominantly black in coloration, the Eastern American mink's pelt is the silkiest, making it one of the most valuable during the time of humanity.
    • Diet: In addition to rodents, the American mink also preys on fish, crustaceans, frogs, and birds. It is a formidable predator of muskrats, which are chased underwater and killed in their own burrows.
    • Habitat: American mink can be found in undisturbed, rocky coastal habitats with broad littoral zones and dense cover. As long as it is close to water, the American mink is not fussy about its choice of den, which typically consist of long burrows in river banks, holes under logs, tree stumps, or roots and hollow trees.
  • Range: All of 'Souls, but concentrated in the Northern Tides and Sticks and Stones regions especially.
American mink
Credit: gynti@Flickr

3.4  Otter

North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)

  • Description: The North American river otter is a stocky animal with short legs, a muscular neck no smaller than the head, and an elongated body that is broadest at the hips. The river otter is physically well-equipped for aquatic life, with short ears, powerful legs, fully-webbed toes, and a tapered tail. These qualities give the river otter a streamlined profile in water, but reduce agility on land. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur.
    • Diet: Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), freshwater clams, mussels, snails, small turtles and crayfish. The most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and catfish.
    • Habitat: River otters establish a burrow close to the water's edge in river, lake, swamp, coastal shoreline, tidal flat, or estuary ecosystems. The North American river otter is more social than most mustelids. In all habitats, their basic social group is the family, consisting of an adult female and her progeny.
  • Range: Found throughout 'Souls in areas with suitable water sources. There is a particularly well-established family unit on a small island in the southeastern quadrant of Moosehead Lake in the Western Forefront region of 'Souls.
North American river otter
Credit: Unknown Source

3.5  Weasels

Long-Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)

  • Description: Larger than its cousin, the stoat, the long-tailed weasel sports a similarly colored pelt of brown with lighter underparts (ranging in hue from white to yellowish to buff) in the summer and pure white, with the exception of its distinct black tail-tip, in the winter. Unlike the stoat, long-tailed weasels lose the fur from their soles during the summer months, leaving their little feet naked.
    • Diet: Long-tailed weasels prey primarily on rodents and lagomorphs, although they will occasionally climb trees to raid nests and may hunt reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects.
    • Habitat: The long-tailed weasel dens in ground burrows, under stumps, or beneath rock piles. Rather than dig its own, it generally takes over the pre-dug dens of its prey species and, much like the stoat, lines its nest chamber with rodent fur and straw.
  • Range: Found only in the New Brunswick territories of 'Souls, such as the southernmost extremes of the Western Forefront and Northern Tides regions.

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

  • Description: The stoat, also known as the short-tailed weasel, has an elongated neck and a nearly cylindrical trunk. The subspecies native to 'Souls, the Ricardson's stoat (M. e. richardsonii), is larger than other subspecies but is still smaller than the long-tailed weasel. Like the long-tailed weasel, the color of the stoat's fur changes from sandy-brown with white undersides in the summer months to entirely white (except for the black tail-tip) throughout winter. Unlike their weasel cousin, however, the soles of the stoat's feet remain furred regardless of the season.
    • Diet: Stoats typically prey on rodents and lagomorphs, but they will also climb trees for birds' eggs and chicks. Where its territory overlaps with the larger long-tailed weasel, the stoat hunts smaller rodent species and young cottontails.
    • Habitat: Although they nest in burrows scattered throughout their territory, stoats prefer to use the burrows of the prey they've killed rather than dig their own. They often line their nest chamber with the pelts and underfur of their rodent prey.
  • Range: All of 'Souls, but concentrated in the Northern Tides and Sticks and Stones regions especially.
Credit: Unknown Source

4.  Non-Native Types

These species are often mistakenly thought to be native to 'Souls but their natural ranges do not overlap with on-board territories. As such, these mustelid species should not be freely referenced within 'Souls.

4.1  Badger

American Badger (Taxidea taxus)

  • Description: Identifiable by their huge fore claws and distinctive head markings, the American badger has the typical stocky, low-slung bodies and short, powerful legs characteristic of most other mustelids.
  • Range: Being fossorial carnivores, American badgers prefer grasslands, fields, and prairies with little tree cover and sandy loam soils, allowing them to more easily dig their burrows and catch their prey. They are typically found throughout south-central Canada, northern Mexico, and throughout the western and central United States, avoiding maritime Canada altogether.

4.2  Wolverine

Wolverine (Gulo gulo)

  • Description: Armed with powerful jaws, sharp claws, and a thick hide, wolverines are remarkably strong for their size and are renowned for their ferocity and versatility. A light-silvery facial mask is distinct in some individuals, and a pale buff stripe runs laterally from the shoulders along the side and crossing the rump just above a bushy tail. Some individuals display prominent white hair patches on their throats or chests.
  • Range: Preferring the boreal forests and cold tundra of the far north, wolverines are not native to maritime Canada and would very rarely, if ever, venture south enough to be sighted within 'Souls territories.

Categories: Fauna | Resources