Home > Animals > Mammals > Zorilla

Zorilla   (Ictonyx striatus)
Category: Mammals

 

 

For those of you reading this in North America, the zorilla (Ictonyx striatus), or striped polecat, may look like a skunk. But this striped, African weasel is a distinct species. With sharp teth and claws and a small stomach, the zorilla hunts effectively – and often. This predator is a little over 2' long, under 6" tall, and a terror to nearby rodents, snakes, birds, insects, or virtually any creature it can catch and eat. And if the zorilla comes across a larger, more dangerous animal, it has a way of dealing with those threats as well: a powerful anal spray that can cause irritation, burning, even temporary blindness in an opponent. This hungry and not-to-be-trifled with weasel can be found in virtually all dry climates throughout central to southern Africa.

 

Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Carnivora
Family - Mustelidae
Genus - Ictonyx
Species - I. striatus

 
Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Wake me in 9 months…

There may be times when you are so tired you feel as if you could sleep for several days - but of course that is not possible without dying from dehydration. However, some mammals have such fine control over their metabolisms, they are capable of nodding off for days or even months, in a state called hibernation. This helps an animal survive during cold periods when food is scarce. A prime example is the alpine marmot who can hibernate for up to 9 months of the year: gathering food and adding about 50% more body weight (primarily fat) as summer ends, the alpine marmot seals itself in a deep burrow, heart rate slowing to five beats per minute, breathing as little as once per minute - emerging (far lighter!) in May, when food is once again available!

Learn more >>

 


NAIA - National Animal Interest Alliance Discover Animals is a web-based educational resource offered by the NAIA
To learn more about the NAIA or about other NAIA programs, visit us at www.NAIAOnline.org
if you would like to help, join or support the NAIA or any of its programs please click here >>