Fun Polecat Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Domestic polecat facts are extremely interesting.

Polecats, whose scientific name is Mustela Putorius, are mammals that fall under the mustelids species. The polecat is believed to be an ancestor of the ferret.

If this is to be believed, it would explain to some extent the reason why polecats and ferrets look alike and share a lot of similarities between them. A male polecat's size is around 12.9 -17.7 in (32.7-44.9 cm) whereas a female polecat's size is 12.5 in-15.3 in (31.7-38.8 cm).

Polecats produce a strong foul-smelling odor that they use to mark their territories. They have a dark head with white stripes on them and a thick, short tail.

They also have round-shaped ears. Some polecats have pale yellow and brown colored fur on the body.

There are various kinds of polecat including the European polecat, steppe polecat, striped polecat, and marbled polecat. Among these categories, ferrets, weasels, and American minks are related categories of the polecat. European polecats also can be seen in the wild areas of western Eurasia and North Africa.

They have dark spots on their face, brown fur, and a pale colored underbelly. Among the usual prey that polecats like to eat, they seem to have a particularly soft spot for hunting rabbits.

This is why they can often be found in rabbit burrows, hunting for potential prey. The European polecat also displays an affinity to hunt down reptiles and amphibians.

If you are growing fond of reading amazing phenomena about possums you can also check out the weasel and the striped polecat.

Polecat Interesting Facts

What type of animal are polecats?

Polecats are mammals that fall under mustelid species. They are scientifically known as Mustela Putorius.

What class of animal do polecats belong to?

Polecats are mammals and they give birth to between 5-10 babies at once.

How many polecats are there in the world?

There are an estimated 46,000 polecats in the world, which includes European polecats and marbled polecats.

Where do polecats live?

Polecats live in wild areas such as wooded places near riverbanks and farms in Britain. They move to farms in winter. Sometimes they can be found in rabbit burrows because they love hunting and eating them.

What is a polecat's habitat?

They are usually found inhabiting woodland habitats, near farms and riversides. Sometimes they are found near plantations, sea cliffs, and dry stone walls.

Who do polecats live with?

Polecat usually lives alone. They are solitary animals. They are also nocturnal in nature which indicates that they stay up at night and hunt for food.

How long do polecats live?

Polecats live around 14-15 years in captivity and up to five years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction system of the polecat is interesting. The male polecats are usually larger in size than the female polecats.

While reproducing, the male polecat grabs the female polecat by the neck. The male polecat's testicular size starts to grow steadily and reaches the maximum size and thus the mating starts. The mating season usually starts from February and continues through July to August.

Female polecats give birth to a litter of up to 10 babies at once. The babies usually stay with their mothers for two to three months before they are free to explore the wild.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, there are five species of polecats that are listed. Among these, the marbled polecat is classified as being Vulnerable. The other four species, namely the Western polecat, Steppe polecat, Zorilla, and the Libyan striped weasel, are all classified as being of the Least Concern.

Polecat Fun Facts

What do polecats look like?

While not apparent from the name, the Libyan striped weasel is also classified as a polecat.

Polecats, being a member of mustelid species, have a dark face with white stripes on them. They have white spots around their mouth. The polecat has dark brown fur on its body and its underbelly is pale.

The fur color varies from light cream to dark brown and sometimes pale yellow. Polecats are related to ferrets. There are various kinds of polecats such as marbled polecats and European polecats.

Marbled polecats look a bit different than the usual polecat, they have yellow fur with black spots on them like tigers. They also have white round stripes around the mouth and ears. The European polecat has short legs, small eyes, and long hind toes.

How cute are they?

Polecats, scientifically known as Mustela putorius, look cute with their round ears and small eyes with dark brown irises. Their short legs make them look even cuter.

How do they communicate?

Polecats usually communicate by screaming in a high tone. They also screech and hiss when threatened.

How big are polecats?

Polecats are usually around 12.9 -17.7 in (32.7-44.9 cm) long. They are five times smaller than a tiger. The male polecats generally tend to be bigger than their female counterparts.

How fast can polecats run?

They can run at a speed of about 15 mph (24 kph).

How much do polecats weigh?

They weigh around 1.1-4.1 lb (0.5-1.8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male species are called hobs and females are called jills.

What would you call a baby polecat?

Baby polecats are called kits.

What do they eat?

They eat birds, eggs, and small rodents. They are also quite fond of eating rabbits. 

Are they dangerous?

While polecats are generally considered to be vicious predators, they are not dangerous to human beings. Among their ample defense mechanisms, they produce a foul-smelling scent which helps them keep potential predators at bay and also marks their territories.

Would they make a good pet?

They are solitary animals and like to live alone. However, if properly trained and domesticated, these furry animals can be kept as pets as they are relatively harmless.

Did you know...

The European polecat is also known as the forest polecat.

The fur of the European polecat changes its color to grey in winter to keep itself camouflaged.

The male polecat is heavier than the female polecat. Male polecats catch bigger animals and eat them. They also catch small animals but do not eat them because they save the smaller animals for female polecats. Male polecats are more territorial than female polecats.

Different types of polecat

The polecat is from the mustelid family. Various species of polecats include European polecats, striped polecats, and marbled polecats. The European polecat can be found in the wildlife of western Eurasia and they are native to North Africa as well.

Comparisons with similar animals

Polecats and ferrets hail from relatively close families based on scientific classifications. Domestic polecats are also sometimes referred to as ferrets. Polecats are more exposed to the wild than ferrets are. Ferrets are comparatively more social and domestic. The European polecat is a bit bigger than ferrets.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the black-footed ferret and the stoat.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our ferret coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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