Species of the month
Some facts about this mammal:
Body length: 27–38 cm.
Tail length: 12–22 cm.
Weight: 260–520 grams.
Habitat: Dry open spaces; sometimes found in bushes and forest edges of semi-arid areas.
Distribution: From southeast Europe to Russia and China.
Diet: Chiefly feeds on rodents, occasionally on small birds, lizards, fish, frogs, snails, and insects.
Surviving number: Unknown.
Conservation status: Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)
First described: By the German naturalist and explorer Johann Anton Güldenstädt in 1770, originally named as Mustela peregusna.
Vormela peregusna wears a very special perfume: when it is threatened, it throws its head back, displays its coloring and emits a noxious defensive odour. If all this doesn't have the desired effect, it just drops down and plays dead. This elusive hunter employs offensive strategies as well, such as approaching and attacking from the side. By using such techniques, it can overcome prey larger than itself during its forays at dusk, dawn, and throughout the night. The Marbled Polecat has nevertheless more trouble than it can handle in one realm: its steppe habitat is shrinking in Europe and Asia making this species' status vulnerable.
See also: Species of previous months