Glad you find it interesting Heather I'll keep posting more as time allows. It's actually quite common in Sweden for polecats to eat a lot of carrion at times, particularly if nothing else is available in the winter. They eat both large and small carrion, basically anything they come across.
Is polecat (Mustela putorius) diet affected by “mediterraneity”?
Maria J. Santos et al Mammalian Biology Vol 74, Issue 6, November 2009, Pages 448-455
"Polecats mostly fed on mammals (percentage of occurrence (P.O.)=43%) and arthropods (P.O.=49%)."
" These results indicate that polecats are specialists in the consumption of wild rabbits, spatially track the availability of this prey, and may be affected by the decrease in abundance of the prey populations."
"Surveys of eight radiotracked polecats (Mustela putorius) showed that they caught mainly male terrestrial anurans at spawning sites. Agile frogs Rana dalmatina formed 77.5%, whereas common toads Bufo bufo represented only 14.6% of preyed anurans. Throughout the breeding period, male anurans were found to be predominant, representing 64.8% of available agile frog and 60.7% of common toad populations in the four ponds studied."
"The trophic status of the European Polecat Mustela putorius was studied through a review of the diets of 18 different populations in Europe. Rodents represented the principal prey in 10 sites (55.5%) and were a prey of secondary importance in seven sites (38.8%). Anurans prevailed in three sites (17%) but constituted the second food category in eight others (44%). The ascendant hierarchical classification showed a relatively unvarying diet in Europe. The frequency of birds and invertebrates were important in the diversification of the diet, indicated by the value of the food niche index, whereas rabbits were more significant in southern regions. The constant incidence of predation on woodland rodents and amphibians gave a particular status to the Polecat and showed it to be a generalist feeder well adapted to the mid-European region."
Second edit to add this great summary of several diet studies:
Hi I know from my own sightings that in England rabbit , carrion ( salmon in spawning season ) Hare frogs, toads mice, eggs young birds ( chicks ) and even dead lambs are regularly eaten by the wild polecat I have yet to see one wrestle a worm from the ground but nothing surprises me lol take care bye for now crazy lady
My Lady "B" Itchy likes worms I've found her a number of times slurping them up like speg. Perhaps it's more of a personal preference or maybe just a Lady "B"ism I've yet to see any of my other guys go for it ciao
My Lady "B" Itchy likes worms I've found her a number of times slurping them up like speg.
Yuck, sounds like it's a real delicacy to her ;D
My ferrets eat a lot of bugs out in the enclosure. Mostly beetles, snails, slugs, and worms. But also large flies and earwigs. Some of them actually spend hours foraging. Ground beetles are particularly desirable, even though they smell quite strongly when disturbed.
The guys seem to enjoy hunting bugs, centipedes, and other creepies. Crickets seem to be particularly enjoyed, but they don't get eaten or at least they don't appear to be. They just like squashing them I guess they're not really hungry Just hunting for fun. ciao
Seems like they'll pretty much eat whatever meaty thing they come across! This shows how important a varied diet is for them, even if they seem to play favorite with rabbits and voles. Maybe more natural diet would consist of mostly rodents/rabbits with occasional poultry and livestock?
Several of my jills have caught and eaten toads of various sizes over the years. Interestingly, they eat everything but the skin on the back. I emailed Marie in a panic the first time I saw Minx eating one, to make sure it wouldn't hurt them, and she told me the skin on the back had the poison sacs.
I've never seen them show any interest in the bugs and beetles in their outdoor pen, so it could be that they just weren't hungry.
I have to admit, I'd of panicked too, watching one of my guys eating a toad. Surprisingly, that's something they've not encountered yet...we have a lot of them. I've seen what they do to stupid dogs who decide that they've just got to have a taste Yes, all this hunting is done outside in their play area. They seem to find all sorts of things in there. I was a little upset with them when they caught a finch that managed to get caught in the play pen. The fine meshed top (used to keep out predators) kept the poor thing from escaping. I noticed if they're not panicked the finches come and go out through the fencing on the sides. The guys must have surprised this one. ciao
At least that's what Josie thought! She'd scarf them up after a rain. After watching her do that I'd buy some from bait shops. Unless you are 100% certain of the lawn or pasture you might not want to let them eat worms during a walk. The lawn or pasture might be chemically treated.