Striped Polecat, Ictonyx striatus

The striped polecat (Ictonyx striatus), also known as the zoril, zorilla, zorille, or the African polecat, is a member of the weasel family. It can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa, and the Congo Basin. It prefers a habitat within open areas and savannahs. This species resembles a skunk, and even releases a foul odor when threatened by predators. It is black in color with four white stripes running down its body. It can reach an average body length of 24 inches, with a tail length of up to 7.8 inches. This species is nocturnal, which is a trait typical to polecats, and is solitary with the exception of mating season. A litter that holds between one and three young is born during the months of September to December. The striped polecat appears in the Guinness Book of Animal Records, which states that one individual once held back nine lions from its prey by emitting its unique foul odor. The striped polecat is listed on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

Image Caption: Zorilla on display in the Natural History Museum of Genoa. Credit: Mariomassone/Wikipedia  (CC BY-SA 3.0)