No they aren't skunks! Looking very similar to skunks, striped polecats are fairly hardy creatures and make use of a wide range of growls and screams to communicate.
Amazing Facts About the Striped Polecat
- Stripy polecat is also called ‘zorilla’, which comes from the Spanish word ‘zorro’ – ‘fox’.
- They look a lot like skunks, and live all around Africa.
- Striped polecats can live in most habitats, including open grassland, woodland, rocky areas, forests, and deserts.
- They have small stomachs and so have to eat often. Their clawed paws help them dig the earth for their next meal.
- Their faces have a unique face mask colouring, and often includes a white spot on their head, and white ears. The colouring is a warning to predators and anything else that threatens them.
- Striped Polecats like to live by themselves, and only associate regularly with their family.
- They hunt for food at night.
- Striped polecats mark their territory by spraying it, similar to skunks. This protects them from predators. They can use their spray to fend off predators.
- Striped polecats scream in a high pitch to communicate with each other, as well as to scare predators. They use a high to low pitched scream to surrender to their enemies.
Picture Credit: Miroslav Heran
- Type: Mammal
- Lifespan: Not reported (13 years in captivity)
- Size: 24-29 in (60-70 cm) long, 3.0-5.9 in (10-15 cm) tall to their shoulders
- Weight: 1.3-2.9 lb (0.6 – 1.3 kg)
- Habitat: Grassland, woodland, rocky areas, forest, desert
- IUCN: Least Concern
- Scientific Name Ictonyx striatus