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Pole′cat, a carnivourous animal with a long, slim body like a weasel.  Four species inhabit the northern hemisphere.  The common polecat of Europe is dark brown above and black below.  Its fur is of little value.  They sleep by day, and at night plunder poultry-yards and dove-cotes.  They feed also on rabbits, rats, mice and birds.  Very similar species are found in Siberia, Tibet and North America.  These animals emit a foul odor when disturbed.  The ferret is a domesticated variety of polecat.  In the United States the name sometimes is applied to the skunk incorrectly.