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WEASEL FAMILY

(Mustelidae)

THE weasel family includes the mink, marten, otter, weasel, fisher, wolverene, sea-otter, skunk and badger, all of which are very valuah'e for their fur. The Russian sable, sea-otter, Hudson Bay sable, ermine, black marten, fisher, Alaska sable, otter and mink, are derived from the animals mentioned above and are among the most expensive furs. Russian sable skins are frequently sold at $500 or more. Area for area, they cost more than silver fox, as some sable skins are only about eight inches long, exclusive of the five-inch tail. The pelt of the wild sea-otter brings a higher price, on the average, than the wild silver fox. The Hudson Bay, or American marten sometimes has almost as beautiful fur as the Siberian, but the finest pelts sell for less than $100. The Canadian weasel, or ermine, is usually inferior to the Russian, often having a yellowish white or gray colour. The most expensive mink pelts are those from the Laurentian plateau. The price of fisher skins has recently advanced greatly and prime skins sell for as much as $75 each. The price of skunk pelts has also advanced and black skins from northern districts now bi ing from $4 to $8 for the finest specimens.

If the domestication of the marten, fisher, otter, mink and skunk, or, in other words, the family of the mustelidae, were accomplished, there is no doubt that a market for more than ten million dollars worth of raw fur annually could be found. The annual production of all American pelts is between twenty-five and fifty million dollars, and the above-mentioned family, with the Siberian marten included, would supply a large proportion of the demand for high-priced furs—probably well over fifty per cent. It is worth noting in this connection that the recently established fur-farming experiment stations in the United States will experiment first with this family of animals. They will probably keep the marten and the mink, these two being considered by experts among the most desirable for domestication.

MINK
(Putorius Vison)

There are two well-known species which resemble each other closely the European mink or marsh otter of Europe (P. lutreola) and the American mink (P. vison). The latter is found over a large portion of North America, the finest and darkest being the small minks of


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