Polecat

Mustela putorius

The polecat is a member of the weasel family (Mustelid) and is a carnivore. It has a distinctive black mask around the eyes, with dark brown fur and black legs and tail. It is larger than a stoat or weasel, smaller than a domestic cat but almost the same length nose to tail! The male is much larger than the female, with a broader head. The polecat has short legs and a long body, perfect for digging and burrowing. In the wild it would hunt rabbits, rats and mice, and other small creatures. The polecat is the wild relative of the domestic ferret, which was bred for hunting. The Polecat is very rare in the UK now, killed by poachers and farmers protecting their livestock. "Polecat" means "chicken cat" in French, for their habit of going after chickens and eggs. At Wildwood you can see polecats by the badger enclosure. If they are not out playing (chase and play-wrestling are favourites!), you can see them asleep all together in a pile in their dens. The best time to see them out is at feeding time, mid afternoon.

Otter Red Deer