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Wear patterns of the teeth have been compared in two closely related populations of mustelids, one being of laboratory reared ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) which had been fed a dry pelleted diet, the other of wild polecats (Mustela putorius). The dentitions could be distinguished from each other according to the nature and degree of shearing activity on the carnassial teeth. Such differences appear to be a function of diet texture and this view was supported by a pilot, dietary experiment. The amount of calculus present was heavy in pellet-fed ferrets and virtually absent in wild polecats.