Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route Adventures South Africa
Zorilla

Zorilla

 

The Zorilla living at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is known as Flower. You may catch her snoring away in her make-shift tunnel during day time and getting very alive at feeding time (sunset). Flower is one character that you do not want to get on the wrong end of, literally. She has a “deadly” defence mechanism by spraying attackers with an extremely smelly substance when cornered or afraid. This is one young lady that even Buksie, the honey badger, has a healthy respect for. Buksie one day decided to pay Flower a visit in her sleeping pipe and scared the daylights out of the little lady. Defending her territory Flower gave Buksie a full blast of her stinky “pepper spray”. Weighing almost nothing and standing 10-15 cm of the ground, Flower is not be messed with by anybody!

The Zorrilla Ictonyx striatus is also known as the Striped Polecat, African polecat, zoril or zorille.

The Zorilla is a member of the Mustelidae family (weasels), which somewhat resembles a skunk. The Columbia Encyclopedia reports that the zorrilla closely resembles the North American skunk... but may be even smellier. The zorrilla secretes a pungent fluid from its anal glands when it must defend itself from predators. A nocturnal animal, it lives in rocky crevaces and feeds on small reptiles and rodents. It's scent deters many animals. Perhaps this is who Phoebe from "Friends" should have been singing about in "Smelly Cat." The zorrilla is also often referred to as a striped weasel.

Habitat and behaviour

The Zorilla is found in savannahs and open country in sub-saharan Africa excluding the Congo basin and west Africa. Like other polecat species, this carnivore is nocturnal. It has several means of avoiding predators - including the ability to emit foul-smelling secretions from its anal glands, playing dead and climbing trees. The animal is mainly black but has four prominent white stripes running from the head, along the back to the tail. The striped polecat is typically 60 centimeters long including a 20-centimeter tail. It lives for up to 13 years.

Zorilla's are nocturnal.

Diet

Zorillas eat rodents such as rats, mice and rabbits.  They also eat frogs, lizards, snakes, birds, bird eggs and beetles.  They do not like vegetables but will eat them when nothing else is available.

Reproduction
 
The striped polecat is solitary, tolerating contact with others only to mate. Young are generally born between September and December, with one to three young per litter.

Did you know?

Like the skunk, the zorilla has an anal scent gland that it can use to spray a strong smelling liquid to keep it safe from predators. The Guinness Book of Animal Records claims a zorilla once kept nine lions at bay while it was scavenging their kill, to illustrate the claim it is indeed the worst-smelling animal. These furry animals are therefor known as the smelliest creatures on Earth!

Zorilla
Zorilla

Zorilla paw
Zorilla paw

Zorilla at night
Zorilla at night

Zorilla up-close
Zorilla up-close

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