Analysis of 49 polecat stomachs dissected between 2000 and 2006 in Southern Moravia, Czech Republic.
The diet was dominated by mammals (mainly Rodentia and Lagomorpha) and birds (Galliformes). Other minor components were fish, toads, beetles and earthworms.
Male polecats consumed more mammals (hares, rodents), invertebrates and plant material than females. Female fed significantly more on carrion and fish. In winter, males consumed more house mice (Mus musculus), pine voles, amphibians, and invertebrates than females, while females consumed more voles (Microtus arvalis) and carrion than males.
Animals were collected between 1999 and 2003 by live trapping. 44 polecats; winter 20, spring and summer 8, autumn 12, unknown 4. Analysis of stomach content and faeces collected from the rectum.
Table: Diet composition of European polecat and steppe polecat in Hungary. N=number of items in each taxa, %O=percentage relative frequency of occurrence. Prey weight (w) categories: 1=below 15 g; 2=15–50 g; 3=51–100 g; 4=101–300 g; 5=above 300 g). Prey zonation (z) categories: t=terrestrial, and terrestrial with occasional arboreal; a=arboreal, and arboreal with occasional terrestrial; w=aquatic and water-linked.
Diet composition and habitat use of sympatric polecat and American mink in western France
Thierry Lode, 1993, Acta theriol. 38: 161-166
Analysis of scats collected from a resident radiotracked male polecat between November 27, 1990 and April 9, 1991. The polecat exploited mainly woodland in autumn and winter, but marsh, ditches and ponds in spring.
Total, all seasons: mammals 82% (Norway rat 22.6%, vole 50.8%, muskrat 3.1%, rabbit 0.8%, shrew 5.5%),birds 0.8%, amphibians 14.1%, fish 0%, invertebrates 2.3%
Autumn: Norway rat 22.2%, vole 48.9%, muskrat 4.4%, rabbit 2.2%, shrew 6.7&, birds 0%, amphibians 13.3%, fish 0%, invertebrates 2.2%
Spring: Norway rat 10%, vole 46.7%, muskrat 0%, rabbit 0%, shrew 0%, birds 3.3%, amphibians 40%, fish 0%, invertebrates 0%
Voles (Microtus arvalis, Microtus agretis, Clethrionomys glareolus) and Norway rats (rattus norvegicus) are the main mammal species. The main amphibian species is the agile frog (Rana dalmatina) but toads (Bufo bufo) are also eaten.
The distribution and status of the Mustela Putorius in Britain in the 1990s
Birsk, J.D.S. and Kitchener, A.C. (1999), The Vincent Wildlife Trust, National Museums of Scotland
“A study of english polecat diet was carried out through analysis of stomach contents. Rabbits dominated the diet, occurring in 72% of stomachs which contained prey, and compromising 85% of the bulk of prey remains. Other prey inevitably made minor contribution, with amphibians being the second most abundant category recorded."
" Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus occurred in 75% of scats, while birds, carrion, and brown rats Rattus norvegicus were important secondary items. There was little difference between the diets of males and females."
"Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were the most common prey of ferrets, occurring in 86.7% of scats, but birds (12.4%) and invertebrates (11.3%) were also frequently eaten. Female ferrets ate more non-lagomorph prey items, especially invertebrates and birds than males. No significant dietary differences were found between juvenile and adult ferrets except in summer when juveniles ate more lagomorph prey. There were seasonal differences in the consumption of rabbits, invertebrates, skinks, possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and small and large secondary prey items."
Thank you for posting these Marie, they're fascinating and might give some a few ideas about feeding natural (noting the incident of carrion eating...it not only stands to reason it also explains the perpetual stashing of our little ones )