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Black-footed ferret facts for kids

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Black-footed ferret
Mustela nigripes 2.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Black-footed Ferret area without borders.png
Black-footed ferret range (three small areas on US territory)

The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), is a type of weasel. It is also called the American polecat or prairie dog hunter. It is native to central North America. It is an endangered species.


The black-footed ferret has a long, slender body with black lines on the feet, ears, parts of the face and its tail. The neck is long and the legs short. The toes have sharp claws. The top and bottom of the feet are covered with hair, even to the soles. The fur on its feet hides the claws.

Males are 500–533 millimetres (19.7–21.0 in) long. Females are usually 10% smaller than males. It weighs 650–1,400 grams (1.43–3.09 lb).

Distribution and Habitat

Before, the black-footed ferret's range was from southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan south to Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In 2007, the only known wild black-footed ferret population was found in the western Bighorn Basin near Meeteetse, Wyoming. Since 1990, black-footed ferrets have been reintroduced into the following places: Shirley Basin, Wyoming; UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Montana; Conata Basin/Badlands, Buffalo Gap National Grassland, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota; Aubrey Valley, Arizona; Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Wolf Creek in Colorado; Coyote Basin, and Grasslands National Park, Canada.

Before, the black-footed ferret lived in lots of habitats prairies with short grass, prairies with different types of grasses, desert grassland, shrub steppe, sagebrush steppe, mountain grassland, and semi-arid grassland. Black-footed ferrets use the burrows of prairie dog to raise their young ones, stay away from predators, and to keep themselves warm.

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