13 Feb 2013

Featured Animal #1: Ictonyx Striatus/Striped Polecat

Welcome to a new weekly post chapter! Every Wednesday I'll be featuring a species/sub-species of exotic animal that can be kept as pets.
Most of these animals will be animals I breed or will be breeding in the next few years!
I will explain everything from appearance to habitat to pricing. 
So here is featured animal number 1, the Ictonyx Striatus otherwise known as the Striped Polecat.
I've seen a lot of people wanting Striped Polecats (otherwise known as Zorilla or Saharan Striped Polecat) and while uneducated new reporters say these are "the smelliest animal on the planet" they actually smell less than ferrets.
Their anal glands are used to spray their predators extremely similar to Skunks, though the two aren't related. This seems like a very common trait in most Mustelidae with even common ferrets giving off a rancid odour, though I find ferrets do it for the sheer joy of seeing a human writhe in misery rather than a defence thing.
Stats & Pricing 
Striped Polecats can grow anywhere between 50cm to 70cm (including tail) and up to 15cm to the shoulder. These animals are significantly larger than your average ferret and will actually resemble the size of a small dog weighing anywhere from 1.5kg to 7kg.
Males are generally larger than females. 
In captivity they have been known to live around 13 years. So this is a very long commitment like any other animal. 
Suspected reasoning for it's long lifespan in captivity is of course due to the amount of care put into them. They never miss a meal in captivity, they always have shelter and are free from predators.
This will vary depending on how you WANT to keep them.
Captive bred and raised animals stand a much higher chance of being kept as pets for the most part, however I'd always recommend an enclosure (outdoor or indoor) rather than a cage as enclosures that resemble their natural habitat enables them to act and do what comes naturally.
The better the diet, the healthier the animal!
In the wild their diets consist of rodents, poultry, reptiles, scorpions, eggs and insects but there are a few ways to replicate this diet.
My diet plans for these animals include fresh kill and frozen thawed rodents, raw chicken/turkey and raw/boiled eggs. You can feed insects as treats or as their diet but insects provide little to no nutrition.
You should NEVER feed cooked meats on the bone as they splinter and can easily kill your polecat.

Precautions should be taken to prevent your polecat thinking you're a predator.
In the UK descenting any animal is illegal except if it's for a medical reason so we Brits have to actually work with these animals to prevent getting our butts kicked.
Spraying - this is joint first with biting of things to avoid. Their spray has a smell that can't even be described by those who've experienced it and it's actually known to cause temporary blindness. These animals have developed such a strong defence tactic as their predators include Lions, Hyenas and other big animals that are all fighting for food.
Biting - Striped Polecats have 34 teeth for pure meat grinding and bone crunching. This is definitely something to avoid and if you intend to handle your polecat regularly, captive bred is your only option.
Wild caught animals will bite and spray and generally make your life miserable if you're looking at one of these critters for a pet.

Any animal from Pretty Pets World is captive bred. All babies are captive bred and raised by us.
Single Males: £650
Single Females: £750
Babies (8 weeks+): £500(males)/£600(females)
Sub Adults: £600(males)/£700(females)
Pairs can be arranged by negotiation.
PLEASE NOTE: These animals will not be sold as pets to families with children.
They are NOT family pets, they are wild animals and only people experienced in exotic mammals need apply.

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