The Iltis - Characteristics

The Iltis - Characteristics

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Surname: European polecat
Other names: Waldiltis
Latin name: Mustela putorius
class: Mammals
size: 25 - 45cm (excluding tail)
mass: 0.3 - 1.5kg
Older: 4 - 10 years
Appearance: brownish, black coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: Amphibians, fish, rodents, birds and their eggs
distribution: Europe, parts of Asia
original origin: Europe
Sleep-wake rhythm: twilight and nocturnal
habitat: unspecific
natural enemies: Birds of prey
sexual maturity: about the age of two
mating season: March - June
gestation: 40 - 42 days
litter size: 3 - 8 kitten
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting about the polecat

  • The polecat describes a several species comprehensive genus within the marten. In Central Europe, the European polecat or Mustela putorius is considered the most common species of marten.
  • The pet ferret was bred from European polecat or steppe nilies.
  • The polecat is found in almost all of Europe with the exception of some areas of Scandinavia and some Mediterranean islands. He also populated large parts of Asia and North Africa as well as through naturalization and New Zealand.
  • The polecat lives primarily in open or sparsely vegetated landscapes such as fields or meadows. If sufficient cover and good food supply are available, it also populates open forest edges and wetlands as well as various landscapes at altitudes of up to two thousand meters.
  • The polecat is unmistakable due to its distinctive coat design. The coat is dark brown or black colored, behind the eyes, on the muzzle and on the tips of the ears, however, pure white. In addition, black spots on the white background make for a striking face mask. The golden red to light brown undercoat shines through the dark top coat.
  • Like almost all marten species, the polecat also has a slender and elongated body. The males reach a total body length (including tail) of up to 65 centimeters and a weight of about one and a half kilograms. The females are much lighter and smaller.
  • Polecats are nocturnal and retreat during the day to their hiding places in rock crevices, underground structures or tree trunks.
  • As loners they are very territorial and mark their territory with anal gland secretions, feces or urine.
  • They are excellent swimmers and divers, but they are not good at climbing.
  • Polecats mainly capture amphibians and snakes, rodents, birds and their clutches as well as fish. In the summer they also take vegetable food in the form of fruit and berries.
  • After mating in spring and a gestation period of about 42 days, the female gives birth to several blind cubs that are weaned after only one month and fully grown at the age of three months.
  • In the wild, life expectancy is about six years, and polecats living in human custody can be more than twice as old.