Black Footed Ferret

Mustela nigripes

Physical Description

Black footed ferrets are long, thin animals that range from 18-25 inches in length, including a 5-6 inch long tail and weigh from 1 and a half pounds to 2 and a half pounds. Usually the males are larger. They have shirt, shiny fur that is a yellow colour. Their belly is lighter yet their forehead, muzzle, and throat is almost white. They have black face mask, black feet and a black tip on their tail. They have large rounded ears and short legs that they use for digging. They have sharp teeth and strong jaws used for hunting prairie dogs at night. They also have a keen sense of sight, smell, and hearing. Black footed ferrets are also very good climbers.

Home and Habitat

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The Black Footed Ferret lives in underground burrows, and only come out for food at night. They are native to the short grass and mix grasses of the prairies of north american. They once were found in 12 states in the us, and southern Saskatchewan. Now they only live in reintroduction sites.

Role in the foodchain.

^To view a diagram of the food chain click here ^

Black footed ferrets are carnivores that diet is made up of Prairie dogs, ground squirrels small insects and small birds. Their main predators golden eagles, american badgers, and bob cats. They leave their burrows at night to look for its food and eventually hunt it.

Breeding Patterns

These animals mate once a year in the spring time in march or may. The pregnancy is for about 42 days. when the kits [ baby's ] are born there are blind so they have to stay with there mother, they open there eyes around 35 days of birth. They also get there markings on their body at 21 day of birth and go above ground at 70 days of birth. Did you no that since 1986 their has been 8,000 kits born in reproduction sites, that's a massive number.

How did they become endangered?

They became extinct because of farmers who eliminated many prairie dogs populations because their burrowing was destructive to their crops. In the process black footed ferrets were affected because prairie dogs were their main food source. In 1987 about 20 ferrets were captured and bred in captivity. This has now reintroduced the species. As good as it is that the ferret was reintroduced, it come with struggles: for example the black footed ferrets have now very little defense abilities causing them to get eaten.
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What is being done to help the Black Footed Ferret?

research programs are working with the ferrets to track them and cont there numbers to see were they are. They catch them and then give them a chip in there body to see were they are. Also they give them a vaccine that will hopefully decrest the number of deafs.
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What people/groups are working to help Black Footed Ferrets come back?

Black Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation team are one of the biggest organizations that are trying to help the Black Footed Ferret recover. Other organizations include the Government of Canada through Parks Canada, the Toronto Zoo which is the only captive breeding facility in Canada, the Calgary Zoo which is conducting extensive habitat research, the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team, the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation (PFRA) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatchewan Environment, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the WWF US Northern Great Plains Program, Environment Canada and private stakeholders.
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What can you do?

You can help bye researching them yourself and find out about them . Then share what you learned or have found with family and friends, and help raise awareness with us to save these amazing creatures. Also don't forget to go to a zoo near you and see if you can help out.

^Click Above To Watch A Video On Black Footed Ferrets^