Difference Between Pole-Cat and Ferret

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Pole-Cat and Ferret

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


Pole-cats and ferrets have many similarities, but also some clear differences, as well. If you’re interested in adding either of these animals to your home, it’s important to know what sets them apart. The following guide will help you understand the difference between pole-cats and ferrets so that you can find the right pet for your family.

A polecat is actually a type of skunk. Its glands are housed in its tail, which it uses as a defence against predators. The markings on their black body make them seem like they have white stripes running down their back, giving them an appearance similar to that of ferrets or polecats. They are also called stink badgers or weasel dogs because of their habits. They inhabit Europe, parts of Asia, Africa and southern Russia. Their diet consists mainly of insects, small rodents and birds. Unlike ferrets, polecats don't hunt in packs but rather alone or with their mate during mating season. Although they may look cute, these animals can be quite vicious when cornered or threatened by predators. It's not unusual for them to bite if provoked; however, most attacks occur when people try to handle them without taking proper precautions. If you're ever bitten by one of these creatures you'll know why—their bites are said to be extremely painful! Their saliva contains bacteria from their mouths that can cause infection when introduced into your bloodstream via a bite wound. To avoid being bitten by one of these animals you should never approach one unless you know it's tame and handled regularly by humans.

Pole-Cat vs Ferret

If you’re planning on getting yourself a pet, there are two animals that you should definitely consider. The pole-cat (also known as an American ferret) and his cousin, your average domestic ferret make excellent pets. With similar temperaments to domesticated cats, they can be trained in all manner of things; if you have previously had experience with cats it would probably help in training them. However, as a rule of thumb: both pole-cats and common domesticated ferrets should not be kept as pets if there are children under six years old present. This is because their natural instincts may kick in, causing them to bite or scratch. They will also require a large amount of attention from their owners—and regular brushing is necessary for their long hair.

As far as appearance goes, pole-cats tend to be larger than most domesticated ferrets—with most reaching up to around three feet long! They come in several different colours including browns and greys—and do not have stripes like other species of ferret. On top of that, unlike other species of ferret, pole-cats do not have any scent glands meaning they will smell quite pleasant compared to other species! Domestic ferrets usually only grow up to about one foot long—although some individuals may grow larger than others depending on where they come from!

Difference Between Pole-Cat vs Ferret in Tabular Form

Basic Ferret Pole Cat
Define A ferret is a kind of domesticated mustelid, similar in appearance to other members of its family A polecat is any of about 14 species of small carnivores belonging to genus Mustela in subfamily Mustelinae
Body The body of a ferret has a long, sinuous body with small ears. The body of the polecat is long and lean.
Nature Ferrets are gregarious Polecats are solitary.
Appearance Ferret brown patched, silver/smoke, white-faced dumbo (ears down), mitts (white paws), sable marten (black body with brown head and legs), and albino Polecat black-and-white or brown-and-white fur

What is Pole-Cat?

A polecat is any of about 14 species of small carnivores belonging to genus Mustela in subfamily Mustelinae. Polecats are related to minks, ferrets, weasels, and badgers. They typically have black-and-white or brown-and-white fur; they live on all continents except Antarctica. The African polecat may be related to two extinct European species—one of which was larger than a bear—whose fossils were found in France. During the Pleistocene epoch, polecats lived as far north as Alaska and south through Central America; today they have been eliminated from some areas where humans have settled but still inhabit Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Some types of polecats are aquatic, living along streams and lakeshores. Others live in forests or grasslands. Most are solitary hunters that prey upon rodents, rabbits, birds, fish, frogs, insects (including bees), lizards (including snakes), worms (including earthworms), molluscs (such as snails), eggs (of birds and reptiles), carrion (such as dead animals) and garbage. Polecats also will eat fruits such as berries if available. Some species hunt cooperatively in packs like wolves do; others hunt alone like cats do. Because their fur is not thick enough for them to survive cold winters when food is scarce, many hibernate during winter months or migrate long distances to warmer climates for wintertime survival.

Life Span of Pole-Cat

On average, polecats live 3 to 5 years. However, in captivity they can live up to 13 years of age. They are very social animals; therefore, you will need other polecats for company otherwise it may have psychological issues. The best combination is two males or two females. The males tend to fight over territory if there is only one male so if you decide on getting more than one, make sure that all of them are neutered or spayed. You should also give them plenty of space as they love running around and exploring their surroundings. It’s important that your home has several exits because these creatures love being outside where they can play with each other, hide in bushes or trees and run around like crazy! If you do not provide them with an adequate environment, then chances are that your pet will get sick easily as well as develop bad habits such as biting furniture or even people!

Facts About Pole-Cat

The Pallas cat, also known as a manul, is a small wild cat found in remote areas of Central Asia. They live in rocky terrain at elevations of 9,800 feet to 15,000 feet. Although they are thought to be solitary animals, sightings have been reported near human settlements—and two were even spotted recently in Arizona. These cats are short with long legs and slender bodies. There is only one subspecies of Pallas Cat: Hemitilax palmeri pallasi or H. pallasi for short; although there are several populations on each side of its distribution range that have been identified as separate subspecies. The fur of a polecat is coarse and thick. In winter it becomes thicker and lighter in color, while in summer it becomes thinner and darker. It has five toes on each foot (four visible, one hidden) with long claws used for digging burrows, climbing trees, and catching prey. A polecat’s eyesight is poor but its sense of smell is excellent; it uses scent glands near its anus to mark territory. Its hearing is good but not exceptional; some researchers believe that hearing plays little role in hunting behavior because these cats hunt primarily by scent rather than sight or sound (they do not rely heavily on vocalizations). Its teeth are adapted for killing prey such as rabbits by piercing their skull bones.

What is Ferret?

A ferret is a kind of domesticated mustelid, similar in appearance to other members of its family. It is also known as an ermine. Although not closely related to true rats, it is often called the black rat. The name ferret originally was used for one species of European mustelid, but has been popularly expanded to include all pet species of the family Mustelidae which are less than 24 inches (61 cm) in length with tail removed. Ferrets have a long history of association with humans. They have been kept as pets at least since Roman times, and possibly much earlier. They continue to be bred in many colors and patterns; there are more than 40 recognized variations, although only six are commonly seen in most parts of North America today: brown patched, silver/smoke, white-faced dumbo (ears down), mitts (white paws), sable marten (black body with brown head and legs), and albino. In addition to being kept as pets, ferrets are used for hunting rabbits in some parts of Europe where rabbits are considered pests; they also provide fur that can be dyed for use on clothing or furnishings.

Life Span of Ferret

The average lifespan of ferrets is usually 5 to 7 years. That being said, some can live up to 10 or 12 years. They are one of very few pets with an average life span that’s longer than their maximum life span. As for pole cats, not much is known about their life expectancy because they aren’t as popular or socialized as ferrets. They are also harder to domesticate so their average lifespan hasn’t been studied much. However, it’s safe to say that both animals have similar life expectancies. In fact, you could probably even take an educated guess at how long your pet will live based on its parent species. If your ferret is descended from weasels (which tend to live around 2–3 years), then chances are your ferret will die at around age 2–3. But if you adopted a fennec fox (which has a life expectancy of 15–20 years), then you should expect your pet to be around for many more birthdays! Of course, every animal has its own unique personality and health history which will affect how long it lives. Even though these animals may share similar genetics, factors like diet and exercise will play just as big of a role in determining longevity. So keep that in mind when making guesses about longevity!

Facts About Ferret

The ferret is one of those animals that’s fun to watch but can be dangerous if handled incorrectly. Despite their cute appearance, ferrets are natural predators that hunt small mammals like mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, voles and moles. But what does that have to do with humans? Well, because ferrets aren’t very good hunters—which means they need a lot of practice—they often get bored when kept as pets. As a result, pet owners must take extreme caution when around their feisty little friend; some people who own ferrets claim they’ve been bitten by them even though they were just playing around! So how are polecats different from ferrets?  Well, for starters, they’re much bigger than ferrets (some species grow up to 3 feet long!) and live in holes or burrows rather than cages. They also produce a musk odor that keeps other animals away from their territory, which makes them excellent pest controllers for farmers and gardeners. In fact, in some parts of Europe it was common for farmers to keep polecats in barns as mousers. That said, there are several species of these wild creatures that are considered endangered or threatened due to habitat loss. If you see one while out on an adventure hike or camping trip make sure not to approach it—it may bite you!

Main Difference Between Pole-Cat and Ferret in Points

  • Polecats are not domesticated like ferrets and polecats cannot be kept as pets.
  • Though they are common animals throughout Europe, they do not have high enough level of domestication to be kept as pets.
  • They also have shorter tails that don’t allow them to climb much or swim well.
  • This is why it is harder for them to find food in winter months when there isn’t as much open ground for them to run across and look for small animals on which to prey on.
  • As such, they are more likely to die out during winters where snow covers their normal hunting grounds.
  • However, because of their smaller size and lack of fur compared to ferrets, polecats live longer than most other members of their family (3 years).
  • Aferret has a lifespan between 7–10 years. Polecat can reach up to 20 inches long while an afertet can reach up to 15 inches long.
  • Polecat weighs 2 pounds while an afertet weighs 1 pound.
  • The main difference between polecat and ferret is that polecats are wild animals whereas ferrets are domesticated.
  • The main purpose of domestication was so humans could use them as pets but no one can keep a polecat at home due to its wild nature and tendency towards biting people who try to touch it too much.


When it comes to pole-cats and ferrets, there are quite a few similarities between these two animals. Both are mammals, have similar body frames, and are similar in size. Both use their long bodies to curl up into tight balls for protection from predators or cold weather. And both will kill mice if given half a chance (which is probably not good when you’re dealing with house pets). But there are also key differences between pole cats and ferrets that can make it easy to differentiate between these two furry critters; don’t get caught getting your pet confused! Stay informed about what to look for when trying to identify whether your pet is a pole cat or ferret. And, of course, be sure to share your knowledge with friends who might need help telling their pole-cat from their ferret.


Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Pole-Cat and Ferret." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 29 May. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-pole-cat-and-ferret-793>.

Edited by

Share this article