Ferret Relations: The Steppe Polecat

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This week we are going to look at Steppe Polecats, which are always wild – there is no such thing as a domesticated steppe polecat.

What is a steppe polecat?

Steppe polecats are located in the step region. Like a lot of steppe animals, they are nomadic, so they will follow their prey and move where it is going. Steppe polecats can be found in central and Eastern Eurasia and Central Asia in that step area, although some have been found super high up in the mountains of Nepal. So they’re pretty awesome little creatures which can adapt themselves to different places and different situations.

The steppe polecat is slightly bigger than the European polecat. It’s got a more powerful skull, and that means that it can catch and eat bigger prey. It can feed on things like marmot, which are large ground squirrels. Other smaller ground squirrels and pikas, which are a cousin of rabbits and have smaller ears. So the step polecat has evolved to have much stronger teeth to deal with larger prey. The steppe polecat is a lighter, more yellow colour than the European Polecat.

They have a lighter mask and a black nose. Their legs may be dark with very dark paws. Their mask is sometimes called the white masked ferret or pale masked ferret because of how light their mask is.

Sadly, they are still very much prized for their fur and are often trapped and killed for that reason. However, just like the European polecat, they aren’t considered of concern in terms of population numbers.

Next week we’re looking at the black-footed ferret and the European mink. Check out the video to go with this blog.

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