Polecat is the common name for mammals in the order Carnivora and subfamily Mustelinae. Polecats do not form a single taxonomic rank; the name is applied to several species broadly similar to European polecats, the only species native to the British Isles.
Despite the name, polecats, being various caniform mustelids, are more closely related to dogs than cats, which is why they belong to the suborder of Caniformiae.
In Canada, the term polecat is sometimes applied to electric utility linemen.
According to the taxonomic theory proposing two subfamilies within Mustelidae, the polecats are classified as:
- Genus Ictonyx
- Genus Mustela
- Genus Vormela
- Marbled polecat, V. peregusna (Southeastern Europe to western China)
A more recent classification based on genetic analysis suggests that Mustelidae should be divided into eight subfamilies, one of which is the Mustelinae.
| This article includes a list of related items that share the same name (or similar names).
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