Polecats: coming to a garden near you?
Appeared on Space For Nature on December 6th 2004
After near extinction in Britain in the early part of the 20th century, Polecats are making a comeback.
The Mammal Society has recently published figures showing that the Polecat (Mustela putorius) may have undergone a 400% population increase over the last decade: increasing from around 15,000 to around 60,000 animals nationally. The decline of this animal, which reached a low-point before the World War I, was due almost entirely to persecution by man, particularly by game-keepers.
Nowadays those pressures have reduced and the signs are that the polecat will make a strong recovery. At up to 50cm long from its nose to the tip of its tail, this predator of rabbits, birds and frogs, could yet become one of our most spectacular garden visitors.
Other notable figures included rises in the populations of otters (Lutra lutra) and rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), but a fall in the numbers of dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius).
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