European Polecat – Карельский зоопарк

European Polecat

Class: Mammals

Order: Carnivores

Family: Mustelids

Weight: 0.65 – 1 kg

Height: Approximately 20 cm

Body length: 29 – 46 cm

Coloration: The adult polecat’s fur consists of black-brown guard hairs with yellowish underfur. The belly, legs, chest, throat, and tail are almost black. The head, which is relatively short and broad, features a distinctive mask-like pattern: the lips, cheeks, forehead, and ear edges are white, while the rest of the face is black.

Age of sexual maturity: 7 to 12 months

Gestation period: Approximately 46 days

Lifespan: Up to 6-8 years

Habitat range: Polecats prefer small forested areas and individual groves mixed with fields and meadows, avoiding continuous taiga forests.

Diet: The polecat’s diet mainly consists of voles and mice. In summer, it often catches frogs, toads, young water voles (males catch them on the surface, while the smaller females catch them in their burrows), as well as snakes, wild birds, large insects (e.g., locusts). Occasionally, the polecat eats hamsters, ground squirrels, jerboas, and shrews. Forest polecats may also consume fish.

Did you know?

  • Polecats can sleep up to 20 hours a day.
  • A polecat’s heart beats at a rate of 200-240 beats per minute.
  • If necessary, a polecat can dig a 5-meter burrow in just 1 hour.