In the latest installment of the Ice Age movie, you might have might remember Zee, Buck’s love interest. And we learned that she is a Zorilla. 

But wait, What is a Zorilla? 

That is exactly what I am going to discuss here in this article. That how rare of an aminal is a Zorilla. Spotting one in the wild is a once in a lifetime chance if you are that lucky. 

Let’s say you spot one, but how are you going to going to distinguish one from a common skunk? 

Keep on reading to know the answer to all these questions. 


SpeciesIctonyx Striatus
Population SizeUnknown
Life Span13-14 years
Weight0.6-1.3 kg
Length60-70 cm

What Is A Zorilla?

What Is A Zorilla

Zorilla is the common name for the Striped Polecat; it is many other names likely, including Zorille, African Polecat, Zoril, Cape Polecat, and also African Skunk. It belongs to the mustelids family and consists of other animals like a badger, weasel, and also otter. 

Like the skunk, every member of the mustelids family has the unique ability to produce a scent to repel other animals from coming near. These Zorillas are carnivorous animals that are adapted to live in the dry climatic conditions of Africa. 

These animals have a variety of colorations depending on the area they are living in. But on a general basis, they are black on the upside and have a whitetail. They have stripes from the head running down to their back and cheeks. 

Their feet and legs are black in color, with white spots on the head with white ears. Their face mask is also very unique. These masks have a purpose of serving, and that is to warn of potential predators. 

Distribution: Where Are They Found? 

These Zorillas are found all over the continent of Africa, from Southern to sub-Saharan Africa and in Central. From the rocky areas to the grasslands and the deserts, these Zorillas are adaptable in every region. 

Geographic Distribution

SubcontinentsNorth-AfricaSub-Saharan AfricaChadEgypt
Biogeographical RealmsPalearcticAfrotropical
BiomeDesertMoist RainforestsForestSwamp
Climate ZonesTropicalTemperate

Habits And Lifestyle

Habits And Lifestyle

Striped Polecats or Zorilla animal are very active and terrestrial. These are typically solitary or isolated animals, as they like to roam around alone. And the only animals that they associate with are other animals of the same species for the purpose of breeding. 

Being nocturnal animals, they are very active during the night and sleep throughout the day inside burrows. Like other animals, they mark their territory with feces and peeing the area. 

Group NameChine
LifestyleTerrestrial PredatorTerritorialBurrowing
Seasonal BehaviorNon-migrant

Diet And Nutrition

Diet And Nutrition

As I have mentioned before, Zorillas are carnivores animal; hence they feed upon all kinds of small animals and insects. Like snakes, rodents, birds, and insects. 

In many local villages and towns of Africa, these Zorillas are a nuisance, as they steal chickens from the houses of the villagers. 

Mating Habit

Mating Habit

The breeding time for Zorillas is from spring to late summer. The babies are born blind, naked, and deaf. Hence the females are usually the ones who prepare a nest during the mating time. 

The Zorillas are 20 to 30 weeks old; they reach their reproductive maturity. The baby Zorillas are called Kits, and they are protected by the mother until they are old enough to protect themselves. 

Independent Age18 weeks
Reproduction SeasonSpring to Late-summer
Pregnancy time4 weeks
Number of Babies1-5 kits
Male NameHob
Female NameJill
Baby NameKit


Zorillas communicate with each other in a variety of signs and vocal calls. When they are in attack mode or giving a warning, they tend to growl. They have a significant high-pitched shrill scream to indicate aggression with anal spray. 

They have a mating call during the mating season. The younger ones have a specific call set that signifies distress, joy, or the presence or absence of the mother. 

Defense Mechanism

Defense Mechanism

Zorillas or striped Polecats have a very aggressive stance when they are in defense mode. By nature, they are very territorial and aggressive. They spray their territory with a particular anal spray that is released from their anal stink glands. 

This spray blinds the opponent temporarily and results in a burning sensation with irritation. Before they spray this anal spray on their opponents, the Zorillas stand in a deimatic-like stance with an arched back. With their backside facing the opponent and their tail raised straight up. 

Fun Facts About Zorillas

Fun Facts About Zorillas

Here are a few fun facts about Zorillas.

  • They are nocturnal animals. To avoid conflict with other animals, they take shifts in hunting for food. 
  • The males and females walk differently. Male zorillas held their tail high up while females hung theirs down below while walking. 
  • They are very similar to skunks. Zorillas are very closely related to skunks, but they belong from different families. The skunk belongs to the Mephitidae family, while the Zorilla belongs to the Mustelid family. 
  • Their butts smell like burnt hair. When you accidentally burn a little bit of your hair, it gives out a weird smell of sulfur. That is exactly what zorillas behind smells like. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)!

Now that you know what is a Zorilla, you shouldn’t have any more questions, but just in case, here are what others asked. 

1. Is A Zorilla A Skunk?

Ans: No, despite their similar features and defense mechanism, a Zorilla and Skunk are not the same. Although Skunks spray a stinky spray when they feel threatened, Zorillas are even smellier. They even belong to different animal families. 

2. What Is The Stinkiest Animal On Earth? 

Ans: You might wonder if a Skunk is the smelliest animal in the world, but No, it is a Zorilla, which is the smelliest animal in the world. 

3. Is A Zorilla A Predator? 

Ans: Zorillas are carnivorous; hence they are predators of animals. Their diet consists of birds, insects, and snakes. 

Wrapping Up!

Zorillas are very private and isolated animals and trends to keep away from any conflict. They share a close resemblance with skunks in both appearance and defense mechanism but belong to different families. 

These Zorillas are quite ancient animals as they appear in early cave paintings. But still, their population is quite stable compared to other ancient animals.

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Nabamita Sinha
Nabamita Sinha loves to write about lifestyle and pop-culture. In her free time, she loves to watch movies and TV series and experiment with food. Her favorite niche topics are fashion, lifestyle, travel, and gossip content. Her style of writing is creative and quirky.

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