POLECAT (Mvstela pectoria). The length of this animal is about seventeen inches, that of the tail six; the nose sharp-pointed, and the legs short; from its slender great havoc in warrens. In general, this animal resides in woods or thick brakes, forming a shallow retreat about two yards long, terminating under the roots of some large tree: sometimes, however, he takes up his abode in lofts, barns, and unfrequented places, from which he issues at night only in search of prey. The female comes in season in the spring, and produces from three to six at a litter. Polecats are greedy of blood, voracious, and insatiable, as appears by the number of dead carcasses which have been found in a single den. When pursued, a most fetid vapour is emitted —hence the familiar proverb, to stink like a polecat I shape it is admirably formed for insinuating itself into the smallest holes in search of prey. The polecat is very nimble, and will creep up the sides of walls with extraordinary agility. In running, the belly seems to touch the ground. The ears are short, rounded, and tipped with white; the ends of the lower and upper mandibles are white; the head, legs, and thighs of a deep chocolate colour, almost black; the toes are long and separated. The polecat is very destructive to young game and to poultry.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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