Polecat

Scientific Name: 

Mustela putorius

Synonyms: 

Foul-mart.

Description

With white markings on the tips of their ears and the end of their snout, the Polecat has a long body with short legs and two-toned fur which is creamy-yellow at the base and black at the tip, giving a dark brown appearance.

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Weight: 

600-900gms

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Lifespan: 

Possibly up to 5 years with a few older exceptions.

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Distribution: 

Strong populations in Wales as well as the central and southwest regions of England

Habitat: 

A variety of habitats from woodland and grassland areas to coastal dunes and farmland.

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Behaviour: 

Reproduction: 

They disperse from their home in September. Mating takes place between March and April with a gestation period of 6 weeks, the litter numbering between 4-10 young. The babies are light coloured initially, but their fur gradually turns darker and they open their eyes at 5 weeks. The Polecat then selects a fairly solitary existence.

Population: 

Predators: 

The Polecat has few predators, but some are killed by dogs or are poisoned, and some are run over by vehicles.

Status: 

Rarely found outside Wales and the far east of England bordering Wales, but numbers are increasing since trapping has declined.

Did You Know?: 

Polecats have a stink gland near the base of their tail, from which a foul-smelling scent is emitted to mark its territory.

Additional Notes: 

Footprint Description: 

5 digital pads with very distinct, long claw marks. Curved interdigital pad, comprised of 3 fused lobes. 1 small proximal (heel) pad. Sizeable gap between digital and interdigital pads. Hand outline often visible.

Track Description: 

Droppings Description: 

Typical twisted Mustelid appearance. Up to 7cm long, 0.5cm in width. Very strong musty smell when fresh. Contains fur and bone fragments, no fish remains unlike Mink, and sometimes plant material. Uses regular latrines.

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Species: 

M. putorius

Subspecies: 

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