Sunday, 22 June 2014

Baby Polecats

Mags, one of our female polecats, gave birth earlier this year to a litter of kits. We weren't sure how many as she was keeping them in one of her underground dens, but we thought it may be a lot by the noise coming from her den when the kits were obviously beginning to get hungry.

Well, on Friday, we found out that she has given birth to eight! That may sound like a lot, but it is an average size litter for a polecat, we were still surprised though as in previous years she has only had a small litter.

This is Mags above, a proud mum, and doing a great job in looking after her babies. On Friday the kits all seemed to have decided that that was the day to start exploring... they all came out of their nest, and were looking around on very wobbly feet, all while mum was frantically trying to carry them back in to the nest.

She has since moved them two or three times to different nesting areas, and we were able to count eight different kits on one of these occasions.

Yesterday they were out and about for a short while too, but I think the heat proved a little too much for them, as they quickly retired back underground. I expect to see them more frequently over the coming days and weeks as they mature, and really begin to find their feet. The it won't be long till mum finally gives up, and lets them explore and leaves them to find their own way back to the nest for feed time.

Keep your eyes open next time you are here, or perhaps more reliably your ears... they are noisy little things! Still early days though, so not guaranteed to see them.

For more photos of the animals at the BWC, don't forget to click on the tab above "More BWC Photos"


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