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A Ferret’s Adventure : Month One

Black-Footed Ferret “Chai’s” litter of four is beginning to become more active and explore on their own.

Black-Footed Ferret “Chai’s” litter of four is beginning to become more active and explore on their own.

Our ferret kits are growing fast! They are now about one month old. The kits (ferret babies) have quadrupled in size and just last week began to get their black “mask” coloring. They are beginning to crawl on their own and even play with each other.   Their sharp teeth are beginning to come in and they have started to eat some whole food items. The kits are learning to eat whole prey early to prepare them for life in the remnant wild.

The Louisville Zoo houses about 30 adult ferrets in the behind-the-scenes Conservation Center. Every year, there are about 40 to 50 kits born. About one-third of these kits are kept back to become a part of the managed breeding program. The remaining two-thirds are destined for release into the remnant wild on the American Prairie.

As the long days of summer approach, we know baby season is here. Black-footed ferrets, the most endangered mammal in North America, breed only once a year. Their breeding cycle is based on the daylight length. Since all of our ferrets are born around the same time, it sometimes feels like running a summer camp or day care in the summer.

Continue to check back for updates on our ferret families as they prepare for their release into the remnant wild scheduled for this fall.

Video: Mother “Guanella” has a litter of 7 kits!  The kits are beginning to play with each other —mom stands guard and teaches her kits to be careful. Knowing how to spot predators and other threats will be an important skill in the remnant wild.

Read more about the black-footed ferrets