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Mammals

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European polecat

Mustela putorius

Description:
The polecat’s body measures about 40 centimetres, and its tail 15 centimetres. It is brownish black with a yellow to ochre belly. The ridges of its ears are white, and its broad face is black with a white mask ringing the base of its muzzle.

Habitat:
The European polecat lives in low-lying areas such as woodlands, forest plantations, marshes, riverbanks and sea cliffs throughout Europe to the Urals. It often appears in settled areas.

Habits:
Active at twilight and at night, the polecat marks its territory with foul-smelling secretions from its anal glands. When cornered, it squirts this substance at its enemy in self-defence. The polecat climbs well and moves by jumping. It preys mainly on small vertebrates such as rodents, birds and frogs, but sometimes also feeds on insects.

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