They may look like abnormally cute ferrets, and whileVormela peregusna are Mustelids, and members of the same subfamily as Weasels, Martens, and Badgers, but they belong to a genus all their own. They are one of the rarer Mustelids of the world, though their range covers large parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Marbled Polecats can be found in open habitats like grasslands, and steppes.
The Marbled Polecat gets its name from the interesting pattern that shows up on its back. Their face is black and white, but their body is a rich marbled combination of yellows, browns, whites, and reds. They have short muzzles, long tails, and powerful front claws that help them to dig and burrow. When threatened, Marbled Polecats hiss and fluff up their hair, making their bodies appear much larger. They also have some exceptionally stinky glands under their tail that release foul odors.
Normally solitary creatures, Marbled Polecats come together to breed during spring and early summer. At this time the coloration on males is more vivid. Marbled Polecats are one of the species that practices delayed implantation (embryonic dispause). They typically do not give birth for 8-11 months after mating, despite only have a 40ish day gestation period. Up to eight young are born at once, and they grow fast! Females are already at sexual maturity when they are three months old (males take long at about a year.)
Marbled Polecats feed on various rodents, insects, reptiles, and birds. Unfortunately their numbers have been on the decline due to the reduction of their prey, and due to habitat loss.