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Ferret (Black-footed)

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Mustela nigripes
Ferret (Black-footed)


Thought to be extinct in the wild, they were reintroduced in Arizona, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Colorado, and Mexico.


They live on the prairie grassland.

Body Traits

Including their tail, they can reach almost 2 feet long (56cm). They are long and thin with short legs and a yellowish coat with black feet and tail tip. They have a black mask around their eyes. They have sharp claws for digging.


They are active at night (nocturnal) hunting prairie dogs in their burrows and spend the day resting in the prairie dog burrows. They live alone except to mate.


They eat mostly prairie dogs, but also mice, voles and other small mammals.


They are killed by hawks, coyotes and man.

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Females are pregnant for 6 weeks (gestation) when she has 3-6 kits. She cares for them through the summer. In the fall they go out on their own.

Lifespan and/or Conservation Status

They can live for about 12 years in the wild. They are the most endangered mammal in North Ameica.

Ferret (Black-footed)


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mustelinae
Genus: Mustela
Species: Mustela nigripes

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