Animalia > Chordata > Mammalia > Carnivora > Mustelidae > Mustela > Mustela nigripes

Mustela nigripes (Black-footed Ferret)

Synonyms: Putorius nigripes

Wikipedia Abstract

The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), also known as the American polecat or prairie dog hunter, is a species of mustelid native to central North America. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN, because of its very small and restricted populations. First discovered by Audubon and Bachman in 1851, the species declined throughout the 20th century, primarily as a result of decreases in prairie dog populations and sylvatic plague.
View Wikipedia Record: Mustela nigripes

Endangered Species

Status: Endangered
View IUCN Record: Mustela nigripes

EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 5.31
EDGE Score: 3.92


Adult Weight [1]  2.25 lbs (1.02 kg)
Birth Weight [1]  7.4 grams
Female Maturity [1]  1 year
Male Maturity [1]  1 year
Diet [2]  Carnivore (Vertebrates)
Diet - Endothermic [2]  100 %
Forages - Ground [2]  100 %
Gestation [1]  43 days
Litter Size [1]  3
Maximum Longevity [1]  9 years
Nocturnal [2]  Yes

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Badlands National Park II 178535 South Dakota, United States
El Malpais National Monument III 109980 New Mexico, United States
El Morro National Monument V 960 New Mexico, United States
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area V   Texas, United States
Pecos National Historical Park V 6539 New Mexico, United States
Petrified Forest National Park II 44522 Arizona, United States

Prey / Diet

Cynomys leucurus (white-tailed prairie dog)[3]
Cynomys ludovicianus (black-tailed prairie dog)[4]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Aquila chrysaetos (Golden Eagle)2
Buteo jamaicensis (Red-tailed Hawk)1
Buteo regalis (Ferruginous Hawk)1
Canis latrans (Coyote)1
Falco mexicanus (Prairie Falcon)2
Lynx rufus (Bobcat)1
Taxidea taxus (American Badger)1
Vulpes velox (Swift Fox)1


Parasitized by 
Mycobacterium bovis (Bovine tuberculosis)[5]
Oropsylla hirsuta[6]
Oropsylla tuberculata cynomuris[6]
Rhadinopsylla fraterna[6]
Taenia mustelae[7]
Yersinia pestis (Bubonic plague)[5]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Cheyenne Mtn Zoological Park
Dakota Zoo
Fort Worth Zoological Park
Hutchinson Zoo
Lee Richardson Zoo
Louisville Zoological Garden
Phoenix Zoo
San Diego Wild Animal Park
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Sybille Wildlife Research & Conservation Education Unit
Toronto Zoo
ZooAmerica (No. American Wildlife Pk.)

Range Map

North America;



Attributes / relations provided by
1de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
2Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
3Rehabilitation of a species: The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), Miller, B.; Biggins, D.; Hanebury, L.; Conway, C.; Wemmer, C., Ninth Annual Proceedings of the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association, pages 183–192
4Cynomys ludovicianus, John L. Hoogland, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 535, pp. 1-10 (1996)
5Nunn, C. L., and S. Altizer. 2005. The Global Mammal Parasite Database: An Online Resource for Infectious Disease Records in Wild Primates. Evolutionary Anthroplogy 14:1-2.
6International Flea Database
7Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access