8 Difference Between Polecat and Ferret (With Table)

What is the difference between Polecat and Ferret?

Polecat and ferret belong to the Weasel family. Most polecats can be found living wild in Western Eurasia and North Morocco and some are bred in captivity as domesticated polecats.

The domesticated polecats are soul ancestors of domesticated ferrets. As the two share an ancestor, it is difficult to tell the difference between them.

The main difference between polecats and ferret is that polecats have larger heads while ferrets have smaller heads.

difference between Polecat and Ferret

Comparison Table (Polecat vs Ferret)

Characteristics Polecat Ferret
Size They are larger. They are comparatively smaller.
Head They have larger heads. They have comparatively smaller heads.
Appearance They have a long and lean body. They have long, sinuous bodies with small ears.
Dark fur They have dark fur on the face that extends to the nose. The dark fur does not extend to their nose.
Paws They have dark-colored paws. They have one or more white-colored paws.
Behavior They prefer a more solitary life. They are much more social and enjoy the company of others.
Pungent musky smell They secrete a pungent musky smell which can tell them apart. They do not secrete the smell.
Markings They are dark brown with lighter brown stripes across their face and pale yellow underbody fur. They come in a variety of colors including fitch which looks like pole cats’ markings.
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What is Pole Cat?

Polecat belongs to the weasel family. The name is used with several species with broad similarities. They have dark mask-like marking across the face.

The polecat can be found living in the wild in Western Eurasia and North Morocco. Although nowadays many are bred in captivity as domesticated polecats.

They are generally larger with large heads. They have dark fur on their face which extends to their nose. They have dark-colored paws and have muscular, longer, and leaner bodies.

They prefer a solitary life. They only come together during mating season and the males go away leaving the females to take care of the young ones. Some species of polecat may delay the implantation process. This gives them chance to mate any time they want.

They feed on small birds and animals, fish eggs, and reptiles. They are carnivores hence they only survive on meat. They are nocturnal hence they are active during the night. They have poor eyesight but have a strong sense of smell which enables them to move around.

What is Ferret?

Ferret belongs to the weasel family of animals. Domesticated polecats are soul ancestors of domesticated ferrets. It is believed that they were first domesticated 2,500 years ago and the aim was to hunt rabbits.

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Ferrets are much smaller and have small heads as compared to polecats. They have dark fur on their face but it does not extend to their nose.

They tend to have a light patch of fur under their throat and have one or more colored paws. Their bodies are longer.

They are more social and they enjoy the company of human beings and other ferrets. They are sexually dimorphic predators.

They mate in a particular month, that is from January to March. Once mating is done, the males get separated from the females and the females are left the responsibility of taking care of the young ones.

They are carnivores. They entirely depend on meat for survival. They feed on small birds and animals, fish, fish eggs, and reptiles. Although they are carnivores, they also like sweets like bananas, raisins, and peanut butter.

Main Differences between Polecat and Ferret

  1. Polecats are large in body size while ferrets are small in body size.
  2. Polecats have large heads while ferrets have small head.
  3. Polecats have dark fur on their face that extends to their nose while ferrets have dark fur on their face but it does not extend to their nose.
  4. Polecats have dark-colored paws while ferrets have one or more colored paws.
  5. Polecats have long and leaner bodies while ferrets have long, sinuous bodies with small ears.
  6. Polecats live solitary life while ferrets live a social life.
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Similarities between Polecat and Ferret

  1. They both belong to the same family.
  2. They are both carnivores.
  3. They both belong to the same ancestor.
  4. Both are very sensitive to smell.
  5. A ferret can be referred to as a domesticated polecat.

In Conclusion

Polecats and ferrets share a common ancestor and this makes them look similar both in appearance and behavior-wise.

They belong to the same family and are both carnivores. A ferret can also be referred to as a domesticated polecat.

However, the two are different from each other both in appearance and behavior. Polecats are larger and have large heads while ferrets are smaller and have small heads.

The main feature that makes polecats be different from a ferret is the size of their bodies and their size of their heads.

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