Scientific name: Mustela putorius
Known for its bandit-like appearance, the polecat was once so persecuted it was on the brink of extinction in the UK. Thankfully, numbers are now increasing in rural Wales and parts of England.
Average lifespan: 5 years
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutA member of the mustelid family, which includes the stoat and badger, the polecat is roughly the size of a ferret - its domesticated cousin. Brought to the brink of extinction through persecution, the polecat has been undergoing a recovery recently and can be found in rural Wales and parts of England.
Polecats set up home in lowland wooded habitats, marshes, along riverbanks, or even in farm buildings or dry stone walls. They particularly prey on rabbits and may be found in rabbit burrows. They have one litter of five to ten young a year in early summer.