(1) Martin, from Wilmslow, is particularly fond of the polecat - the mammal from which ferrets evolved - and over two years he has rescued 10 injured polecats and then sent them back into their habitat to breed.(2) Domestic ferrets are generally believed to be descended from the European polecat ; and they were originally used as hunting animals to catch rabbits and rodents.(3) Adult and juvenile gerbils of both sexes give alarm calls and footdrum in the presence of an assortment of terrestrial predators: snakes, monitor lizards, foxes, polecats , weasels, humans and large ungulates.(4) At heart, though, the ferret is a denizen of the countryside, a weasel closely related to the European polecat and the mink.(5) He said the smell was caused by polecats , which have a natural pungent odour, and the dead bird had stunned itself the previous day when it escaped and flew into a window.