European polecat (Mustela putorius)
Any of several carnivore
s of the weasel
family (Mustelidae), found in Eurasia and Africa. The polecat hunts at night, principally on the ground, feeding on small mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes, and eggs. Species differ in size and colour. The European, or common, polecat (Mustela putorius
), also called foul marten
for its odour, weighs 1–3 lb (0.5–1.4 kg) and is 14–21 in. (35–53 cm) long, excluding the 5–8-in. (13–20-cm) bushy tail. Its long, coarse fur is brown above, black below. In the U.S., skunk
s are often called polecats. Seealso ferret
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.