Skip to Content

Polecats

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

Moderator: RosemaryH

leopardspotter
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:30 pm

Polecats

Unread postby leopardspotter » Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:06 pm

No other animal can excrete a smell as bad as the polecat can :shock: : when in danger it fluffs out and raises its bushy tail, then presents its rear and squirts a foul-smelling excretion from its anal glands that lingers for days at its enemy. If the excretion is sprayed in the eye, it can cause blindness. :cam:

Has anyone seen one of these very rare animal :?:

Image
{Resized by BGS}

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9944
Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2013)
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:35 pm

We saw an orphan polecat 5 years ago at a private reserve on the garden route. It was cute and slept all day, but at night it would wander around all the guests. Sadly I had tick bite fever at the time and can only remember dimly.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
fevertree
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:06 pm
Location: Nelspruit

Unread postby fevertree » Mon Oct 17, 2005 8:33 am

Saw one a few years ago on the H10 ner Mlondozi. Fleeting sighting, but long enough to ID it nonetheless.
A Leopard in a Fevertree, one day......

User avatar
Johann
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 939
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:29 am
Location: Stuck in Gauteng

Unread postby Johann » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:49 pm

Seen on two occcasions but back in the 80's. Can't tell where at all, only know it was in KNP.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

wildjohn
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Venetia, Limpopo

polecat

Unread postby wildjohn » Sun Nov 13, 2005 2:25 am

rare in KNP it appears - dont hear much of night drives actually seeing them much.

Greater addo, and Kgalagadi may be best parks to see them - so reports suggest. I have seen most in Free state grassland and karoo habitats.

wj

User avatar
lam
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Port Elizabeth

Unread postby lam » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:42 am

I think I might have seen one at Addo. Scratching in the rubbish outside the openair restaurant near the campsite ablutions. All I saw was something dark with a stripe. Unfortunately, I had no torch with me and my toiletry bag was of little help with the identification.
Kruger - July

User avatar
Salva
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:41 am
Location: The country of compromises

Unread postby Salva » Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:21 pm

SO claims she saw one near Satara last november. She didn't know about the existence of such an animal so she thought her mind was playing tricks on her (skunk in Africa????).

When later we were looking in a mammal book she said that was the animal she saw. Not enough for a tick, I know, but still...
U lacht en U heeft gelijk dat U lacht maar het is niet om mee te lachen

User avatar
bucky
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1539
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Location: Gauties .

Unread postby bucky » Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:54 am

I think it could be mistaken for a white tail mongoose , which is far more common , and also nocturnal .

Never seen a polecat myself :(

User avatar
Wild about cats
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2437
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Location: SA
Contact:

Unread postby Wild about cats » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:09 am

Striped Polecat/Zorilla Ictonyx striatus

Mass: M: 0,6 - 1,5kg. F: 0,42 - 0,9kg
Life span: About 10 - 12 years
Predators: Virtually all carnivores larger or the same size as the polecat.
Spoor: Front - 3cm and hind: 4cm
Calls: Contact calls include a high-pitched yapping. Alarm call includes screams and growls

Description
Th black fur is long and silky. There are 4 white stripes which extend from the back of the neck to the tail. The face has white markings. Good swimmers, climbers and diggers. Juviniles are a greyish colour. They have a round, pointed muzzle.

Behaviour
Nocturnal, foraging alone. The home range is marked with anal gland secretions, although only the core area is defended as territory. They dig their own burrows in soft-soils or any place they can find that is abandoned.

Reproduction
In South Africa, they breed in summer. 1 - 3 cubs are born after a gestation period of 36 days and weigh 10-15g each. The average interval is 1 year between births. Cubs are born nearly hairless and pink, being totally helpless for 1 week, crawling by 2 weeks. Juvinile colouration is is atained by 3 weeks.

Diet
Carnivores. Eat insects and rodents, birds, lizards, eggs and snakes. Larger prey is immobilised by constant attacks, being bitten repeatedly all over the body. The polecat then begins feeding from the head or neck. Water independant.

Habitat
Open grasslands, especially short grassed. Avoid moist forest. Rare within Kruger. Sightings are more common down South. They have been reported in Maleane mountain bushveld and in Mopane bushveld habitats.

Information from A Field Guide To the Mammals Of The Kruger National Park by Hieke Schutze.
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2015

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14

Letaba Ladies, 3rd Edition - '14 - '15

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9944
Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2013)
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:16 am

Some of my party saw one on our trip to Addo recently
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
madach
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 769
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:55 pm

Unread postby madach » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:51 pm

I saw one just outside Twee Rivieren gate (on the Ashkam road, not in the park) last April.


Return to “Mammals”