European polecats are nocturnal, although activity levels peak at dusk (2). During the winter they become less active and emerge during the day more than they would in summer (2). This opportunistic carnivore takes a great range of prey including rodents, amphibians, rabbits, eggs, birds, and insects (2); individual polecats can take rabbits much larger than themselves (1).
European polecats are solitary and defend a territory from individuals of the same sex (2). Mating occurs between March and May (2), during copulation males grab the female by the neck and drag her backwards and forwards until she becomes limp, at which point he will mate with her (1). A single litter is normally produced, although a second can occur if the first is lost (1). Typically 3-7 young are produced in late May or early June (2). When they reach 4 months of age the young disperse away from the place of birth, and can breed by the next year (2). Whilst dispersing, the polecats are extremely vulnerable (2).