The black-footed ferret is one of the varieties of ferret species, which started diminishing at the onset of the 20th century. Before endangering these were the most preferred pets among the ferrets. They are beloved for their vibrant salt and pepper color.
Black-footed ferrets are also called American polecats, as they belong to central North America and Prairie dog hunter, as their 90% of food is Prairie dogs.
As per the common ferret characteristic, these ferrets are also long and slender. You can notice the black fillings on their feet, eyes, parts of the face, and in their tail. They have an arched broad forehead with a short nose.
The height of the male Black-footed ferret can be separated as their body height and tail height, which is 19.7 – 21 inches and 4.5 – 5 inches respectively. And the approximate weight of these animals is ½ – 1 ½ kilo.
The female black-footed ferrets are 10% shorter than the males. The captive breeds of this species are usually smaller than the wild ones. The average life span of these species is 12 years.
These black-footed ferrets are mostly active from dusk to midnight and early morning to midmorning. Like other ferret species, black-footed ferrets take over the burrows of the prairie dogs for shelter. As these species are vocal animals, they produce sounds to express anger, happiness, fear, and sometimes to warm other animals.
February and March are the mating periods of these ferret species and their gestation period is 42 – 45 days. Every female black-footed ferret can give birth to 2 – 5 kittens per delivery.
As mentioned above, 90% of their food is prairie dogs. White Prairie dogs are the most favorite food of the black-footed ferrets. But the white prairie dogs go into hibernation for 3 – 4 months per year.
During this time the black-footed ferret eats black prairie dogs, rats, squirrels, reptiles, and rabbits. These black-footed ferrets require a prairie dog for 3 – 4 days, which means they need 100 prairie dogs per year.
The reason for endanger
- Black footed ferrets are majorly hunted for their fur.
- Due to human activities, the prairie dogs started the declining phase. This decline reflected in the endangerment of black footed ferrets.
- Two major diseases swept out these black footed ferrets, they are sylvatic plague and canine distemper.
- On date, there are only 400 – 500 black footed ferrets left out on the globe.