Well, I got out of work on time, and the dead polecat was still there, so I stopped the car on my way home and had a look. The genteel folks of Bedfordshire were probably surprised to see a smartly-dressed chap in a pinstripe suit and trilby hat walking down the verge, gingerly carrying a manky dead polecat by its back leg. Well, that was me.
Unfortunately, it had suffered under the wheels of cars. The head area – which is key to identifying polecats – was pretty messed up. However, there was enough to show the dark fur around the eyes and the pale fur around the muzzle – both polecat features.
On this basis I’m calling it a polecat rather than a ferret. And why not? My last dead polecat, only a mile away, was positively identified by the County Mammal Recorder. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be one too. It looks like polecats have re-colonised this part of Bedfordshire.