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Polecat by Dave Godden

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Shot using Canon EOS1000D, Lingfield, Surrey, UK
104views as of 23/10/11.

The European polecat (Mustela putorius), also known as the black or forest polecat (as well as a host of other names), is a species of Mustelid native to western Eurasia and North Africa, which is classed by the IUCN as Least Concern due to its wide range and large numbers. It is of a generally dark brown colour, with a pale underbelly and a dark mask across the face. Occasionally, colour mutations, including albinoes and erythrists, occur. Compared to weasels and minks, the polecat has a shorter, more compact body, a more powerfully built skull and dentition, and is less agile in its movements.

It is much less territorial than other Mustelids, with animals of the same sex frequently sharing home ranges. Like other Mustelids, the European polecat is polygamous, though pregnancy occurs directly after mating, with no induced ovulation. It usually gives birth in early summer to litters consisting of 5-10 kits, which become independent at the age of 2–3 months. The European polecat feeds on small rodents, birds, amphibians and reptiles. It occasionally cripples its prey by piercing its brain with its teeth and stores it, still living, in its burrow for future consumption.

The European polecat originated in Western Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, with its closest living relatives being the steppe polecat, the black-footed ferret and the European mink. With the two former species, it can produce fertile offspring, though hybrids between it and the latter species tend to be sterile, and are distinguished from their parent species by their larger size and more valuable pelts.

The European polecat is the sole ancestor of the ferret, which was domesticated more than 2000 years ago for the purpose of hunting vermin. The species has otherwise been historically viewed negatively by humans. In the British Isles especially, the polecat was persecuted by gamekeepers, and became synonymous with promiscuity in early English literature. During modern times, the polecat is still scantly represented in popular culture when compared to other rare British mammals, and misunderstandings of its behaviour still persist in some rural areas.

Shot using Canon EOS1000D, Lingfield, Surrey, UK

Tags

canon, polecat, british, wildlife, animal, mammal

Comments

  • Hovis
    Hovisabout 3 years ago

    Awesome shot Dave,instant fave :))

  • Thanks a lot Hovis :-) thanks for the fave :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • Kim Slater
    Kim Slaterabout 3 years ago

    So cute ;o)) Excellent capture Dave

  • :-) Thanks Kim

    – Dave Godden

  • Franco De Luca Calce
    Franco De Luca...about 3 years ago

    Great shot! Great info!

  • Thanks very much :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • biddumy
    biddumyabout 3 years ago
    Lovely polecat image and interesting info. too!!!
  • Thanks very much :-0

    – Dave Godden

  • Matt Roberts
    Matt Robertsabout 3 years ago

  • Thanks a lot Matt :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • Franco De Luca Calce
    Franco De Luca...about 3 years ago

    15th August 2011

  • Thanks very much Franco :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • Hovis
    Hovisabout 3 years ago

    Congrats on your feature Dave:))

  • Thanks matey appreciated :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • LivWildlife
    LivWildlifeabout 3 years ago

    great shot ! love it

  • Thanks Liv and thanks for the fave :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • Elaine123
    Elaine123almost 3 years ago

  • Wow, this is a popular image :-) Thanks a lot Elaine :-)

    – Dave Godden

  • Elaine123
    Elaine123almost 3 years ago

    not surprised, first you do not see many, it is so sharp and clear, you deserve all these awards well taken Dave :)

  • Thankyou for your kind coments :-)

    – Dave Godden

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