This superb example of a taxidermied polecat dates from the 1940’s and originates from France.
Did you know?
- The difference between a polecat and a ferret is simply domestication. Escaped ferrets are now unlikely to survive in the wild as they lost the ability to fend for themselves when they were domesticated about 2000 years ago.
- Polecats had an unpopular reputation as they were believed to kill poultry, and in the Middle Ages church wardens paid a bounty for each polecat killed. They actually don’t eat poultry at all, instead hunting small rodents, rabbits, amphibians, snakes, birds and worms in the nocturnal hours.
- During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, polecats were declared vermin and the word ‘Polecat’ was used to refer to vagabonds.
- Up until the mid-19th century polecats were widespread but declined in number due to increased predator control associated with game shooting and by 1915 the polecat had been wiped out from most of Britain.
- The polecat’s Latin name is ‘Mustela putorius’ which means ‘foul-smelling musk bearer’. Polecats release a foul pungent smell from their anal glands when in danger.
This wonderful little chap (although it could be a female!) is not smelly at all! Apart from being slightly dusty, he is in excellent condition, especially considering his age, with just a tiny bit of hair/fur loss to the back of his neck which is shown in the photos. He measures approx. 38cm long
This charming little fellow would make a stunning vintage display piece especially on a fireplace or shelf due to his long stature.
As I have said before, I only deal with vintage and antique taxidermy, so I can be sure that no animal has died for the sake of being in my shop. I believe that appreciating vintage taxidermy also respects the animal’s sacrifice.