Polecat

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(Redirected from European Polecat)
European Polecat
Missing image
Polecat1.jpg



Polecat with "bandit mask" across face.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Mustelidae
Genus:Mustela
Species:M. putorius
Binomial name
Mustela putorius
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The European Polecat (Mustela putorius) is a member of the Mustelidae family, and is related to the stoats, otters, weasels, and minks. They are dark brown with a lighter bandit-like mask across the face, pale yellow underbody fur, a long tail and short legs. They are somewhat larger than weasels, weighing between 0.7 kg for females to 1.7 kg for males, but smaller than otters.

Polecats are native to Britain, mainly nocturnal and usually found in woodlands, farmlands, and wetlands. They often make dens in stream banks or under tree roots. Mainly carnivorous, they feed largely on frogs and voles, but will also catch rats and other small prey. They require a home range of about a square kilometer. In some parts of England, the abandoning of domestic ferrets has led to ferret-polecat hybrids living in the wild that are almost indistinguishable from pure polecats.

Other species of polecat include the Steppe Polecat (M. eversmanni) and the European Mink (M. lutreola). Most zoologists believe that the domestic ferret (M. putorius furo) is descended from the European Polecat, or possibly from a hybrid of the European and steppe varieties. However, others believe the Berber Polecat (M. putorius berberii) to be the ferret's true ancestor.


Other uses

The word polecat is a colloquial term used to refer to the skunks of the Americas which belong to the Mephitidae family

Polecat is an archaic colloquial term for a lineman

The Polecats were a British new wave band of the early 1980s best known for the hit "Make a Circuit With Me."

Missing image
Polecat_Tracks.jpg
Polecat Tracks
da:Ilder

de:Iltisse fr:Putois nl:Bunzing fi:Hilleri sl:dihur sv:Iller yi:אילטיס

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