Black-footed Ferret
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Black-footed Ferret


North America: Midwestern states.


Mainly arid short mixed grass prairies, closely associated with prairie dog towns.


Creamy white to buff or yellowish brown. They have a dark brown mask across the eyes. Also have dark brown cheeks, feet, legs and end of tail. Wild ferrets rarely live more than 3 years, while captive ferrets can live up to 8 years.


Ferrets live in the short grass prairies where prairie dogs thrive. Like badgers, after killing and disposing of their prey, they modify the chambers of their victim\\\\\\\'s burrow and move in.


After a gestation of 42 - 45 days, 1 - 5 (usually 4) kits are born. Sexual maturity is reached after 1 year with both male and female.


Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct until the discovery of a small population in northeast Wyoming in 1981. Biologists captured the last 18 known wild ferrets in 1986, and today about 300 live at six captive breeding centers in North America. Release of their offspring back into the wild occurred in several Western states including Utah in 1999.

Did YOU Know?    
The black-footed ferret is now the rarest mammal of the American prairie because its principal prey, the prairie dog, has been subject to poisoning and habitat destruction.
Black-footed Ferret
Class: mammals
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Genus: Mustela
Species: nigripes
Length: 20 - 24 inches long, including a five to six inch black tipped tail.
Weight: Up to 2.5 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 4 years
Wild Diet: Eats mainly prairie dogs, also other small mammals, ground nesting birds, and snakes.
Predators: Badgers, foxes, coyotes; birds of prey such as hawks, owls.

This is an ssp animal

USFWS Status: Endangered
CITES Status: Appendix II
Where at the Zoo? Discoveryland: Woodland Edge

Learn more about mammals or animals from North America!
Or, cross-reference the two!