This little-known species lives in the tunnels of the black-tailed prairie dog and feeds on them as well as other small mammals and ground-nesting birds.
It tends to hunt at night, killing its prey with a single bite at the base of the skull.
Its own predators are primarily owls and other predatory birds.
Since its favorite prey, the black-tailed prairie dog, has been exterminated in many areas, the once-common black-footed ferret has become extremely rare.
It was considered extinct in the wild by 1987 and has since been reintroduced in several areas.
Name: Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)
Family: Mustelidae (Mustelids)
Range: Southwestern Canada to Arizona, Oklahoma, and northwestern Texas
Diet: Prairie dogs, mice, ground squirrels, and other small animals
Head and Body Length: 15 to 18 inches (38 to 45 cm)
Tail Length: 5 to 6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm)
Weight: about 1 pound (0.5 kg)
Life Cycle: Mating in spring; gestation 42 to 45 days, three to five young born
Description: Yellowish-buff fur; pale underparts; white forehead, muzzle, and throat; black mask around eyes; short, rounded ears; long neck; long body; short legs; black feet
Conservation Status: Extinct in the Wild
Major Threat: Loss of food source
What Can I Do?: Visit the Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team for information on how you can help.