American Polecat/Black-footed Ferret ©sites.psu.edu
American Polecat/Black-footed Ferret ©sites.psu.edu

Order Carnivora

Family Mustelidae

Scientific Name

Mustela nigripes

Other Names

Black-footed ferret, prairie dog hunter

Thumbnail Description

It is most active above ground from dusk to midnight and 4 a.m. to mid-morning. They require 474 to 1,421 prairie dogs per year

Size and Weight

Adults:

BODY-LENGTH: (males) 500–533 mm (19.7–21.0 in)

TAIL: (males) 114–127 mm (4.5–5.0 in)

WEIGHT:  (females) 650–1,400 g (1.43–3.09 lb)

Habitat

Shortgrass prairie, mixed-grass prairie, desert grassland, shrub steppe, sagebrush steppe, mountain grassland, semi-arid grassland

Distribution

Southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan south to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona

Diet

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels, plains pocket gophers, mountain cottontails, upland sandpipers, horned larks, western meadowlarks, sagebrush voles, meadow voles, mountain cottontails

Reproduction

1 – 5

Population

1,000

Lifespan

1 – 5 years

Baby Name

Kits

Speed

Unknown

Home Range

337.5 acres (137 ha)

Predators

Golden eagles, great horned owls, coyotes, American badgers, bobcats, prairie falcons, ferruginous hawks, prairie rattlesnakes

Sounds

Growls

Behavior

Unknown

Conservation Status

Endangered