Nearly half way through out summer opening, and arguably the main stars of the Centre so far have been our polecat kits! Whitstable and Oriel, our main pair of polecats, successfully bred once again this year and Oriel gave birth to 4 kits a few months a go. Over the last few weeks they have slowly been getting bolder, and the last couple of weeks in particular have seen them become very brave and adventurous in their enclosure often out and about exploring and playing.
If you are thinking of coming to see them, they can be active any time of day... but seem to peak in two periods. First thing in the morning and in the afternoon around the badger talk time (3.30pm).
It is well worth the time to spend watching them if you can, especially when they are in their playful and mischievous moods. They will chase each other and mum, much to her annoyance, pounce on each other and just have a general rough and tumble session. Great fun to see, especially when they lose balance and end up rolling down the hill being chased by a sibling.
It may be tricky to see from the photographs, but the four kits are recognisable from each other. Not only in their appearance, but also in their personality. All four are pictured below...
This little beauty is exactly that... a beauty! Some of you may have been coming to see us long enough to remember a female polecat called "Velvet" we used to have here. She was the most beautiful polecat I have ever seen, a real stunner, and this little one here look like she may rival her when older and mature. Really dark and sleek with high contrast in her coat, a little stunner already!
This lad is the spit of his dad, Whitstable... but not just in looks, in behaviour too. Sooo laid back without a care in the world, and a real mummy's boy often hanging around Oriel and still trying to suckle from time to time.
The other two youngsters are quite similar in appearance, although one does have a slightly lighter face and undercoat. They are quite different in behaviour though. The little one above is very playful, and usually the one jumping around with her brother and chasing each other... not afraid to give back as much as she gets from him.
Of course we can't forget mum, Oriel above, who is still with them and doing a great job making sure they have enough food. She will look a little thin over the summer having weaned four kits and making sure they have all they need before looking after herself, but she won't take long to put the weight back on over the end of the summer.