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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)




Black-footed Ferret | Mustela nigripes photo
Adult Black-footed ferret Male in Outdoor Pen at the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center

Photograph by Paul Marinari, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

Black-footed Ferret | Mustela nigripes photo
Black-footed Ferret

Photograph by Tami S Black, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

Black-footed Ferret | Mustela nigripes photo
First Litter of 3 Black-footed ferret Kits born at the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center

Photograph by Paul Marinari, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

BLACK-FOOTED FERRET FACTS

Description
The Black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. It has yellowish-buff fur with paler underside. The forehead, muzzle, and throat are white. The feet are black and there is a black mask around the eyes.

Size
Length: males 53cm, females 50cm. Weight: males 0.9kg - 1.1kg; females 0.65kg - 0.85kg

Environment
They live in the abandoned burrows of prairie dogs on savanna and grassland. Black-footed Ferrets are mostly nocturnal and seldom seen.

Food
Their main food is prairie dogs. They sometimes eat other small mammals such as mice, ground squirrels.

Breeding
One to six (average three to four) young are born after a gestation period of 35 - 45 days (average 43 days). The young stay in the burrow for about 42 days. The young are usually born in a prairie dog tunnel. Female ferrets have three pairs of teats.

Range
The Black-footed Ferret became extinct in the wild by 1987. It has been reintroduced to the wild in northeastern Montana, western South Dakota, and southeastern Wyoming

Notes
By 1987 Black-footed Ferrets were thought to be extinct in the wild. Captive animals were bred in an effort to save the species, and in 1991, some were reintroduced in Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Conservation Status
The conservation status in the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals is "extinct in the wild".

Classification
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Mustelidae
Genus:Mustela
Species:nigripes
Common Name:Black-footed Ferret


Relatives in same Genus
  Ermine (M. erminea)
  Long-tailed Weasel (M. frenata)
  Least Weasel (M. nivalis)
  American Mink (M. vison)