Trophic status and feeding habits of the European Polecat Mustela putorius L. 1758

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ABSTRACT

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.

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