Zo*ril"la (?), n. [Sp. zorilla, zorillo, dim. of zorra, zorro, a fox: cf. F. zorille.] Zool.

Either one of two species of small African carnivores of the genus Ictonyx allied to the weasels and skunks.

[Written also zoril, and zorille.]

⇒ The best-known species (Ictonyx zorilla) has black shiny fur with white bands and spots. It has anal glands which produce a very offensive secretion, similar to that of the skunk. It feeds upon birds and their eggs and upon small mammals, and is often very destructive to poultry. It is sometimes tamed by the natives, and kept to destroy rats and mice. Called also mariput, Cape polecat, and African polecat. The name is sometimes erroneously applied to the American skunk.

 

© Webster 1913.

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