Introducing The Amazing Black-Footed Ferret
The black footed ferret is a shy species native to North America. Most are found in the western and southern region of the continent, but climate does not strongly affect their activity or nesting as their fossils have been found in Alaska.
These fuzzy creatures aren’t that large at all, being roughly the size of a shampoo bottle. Black footed ferrets are nocturnal, which means they do most of their hunting and scampering at night and sleep the day away. They are territorial and the males tend to attack each other for mates, food, or dominance.
Black Footed Ferrets Facts
- Ferrets can run from 5-7 miles per hour.
- There are about 1000 black footed ferrets in the wild and captivity today.
- Female ferrets must reproduce or their estrogen levels will skyrocket, causing them to perish. If you own a domestic ferret, have a male partner for your female or neuter them.
- Male ferrets tend to be larger then the females.
Wild Ferrets VS Domestic Ferret
Most would not think there is a difference due to their physical appearance, but there a surprising amount of distinctions between them. The first being their environment. Domestic ferrets are just what their name says: domestic. They absolutely cannot survive in the wild and should be found immediately if they somehow wander off out of curiosity. Wild ferrets on the other hand thrive in the wild. They live off the land, create burrows for their young, and do not mind eating meat instead of cat food. Therefore, if you see a black footed ferret shambling along the dirt, leave it be!
What Is A Black Footed Ferrets Diet?
The black footed ferret’s diet consists mainly of prairie dogs. In fact, due to a shortage of prairie dogs around the 1960’s, the ferrets almost went extinct. Luckily, they were brought back and the population between the two species currently remains semi-stable. Black footed ferrets are also known to eat small birds, mice, meadow larks, squirrels, and even insects.
What Is The Best Habitat?
Black footed ferret habitats tend to live in grassy regions where they can dig burrows or find unoccupied prairie dog burrows. Ferrets usually choose non-mounded burrows over mounded ones. Burrows serve as protection for newborn ferrets and as a place to sleep during the day. Adult ferrets also eat their food in the holes so they can properly feed their young. Black footed ferret habitats are insulators, keeping them warm during the winter and cool during the summer.
Can You Own One?
While it is assumed that wild and domestic ferrets are technically the same and can both be owned as pets, it is not correct. It is perfectly legal to own a domestic ferret, but wild ones, like the kw black footed ferret, are illegal to own. They are still considered an endangered species and even though their numbers are very slowly increasing, they must still be protected by preserves and kept in the wild.