European Ferret - Blank Park Zoo

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Scientific Name:   
Mustela putoriusFerret
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Carnivora
Family:
Mustelidae
Feeding Type:
Carnivorous
Range:
Western and Central Europe
Habitat:
Forest, meadows, parks, willages, farms and barns
Diet in the Wild:
Mice, rats, small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians
Diet at the Zoo: 
Meat mixture, Ferret Chow
Longevity:
Approximatley five years, longer in captivity
Description:
Ferrets measure from 14 to 18 inches and weigh between 2 and 4 pounds. They have lithe, flexible bodies, and their fur grows vertically from its body. They have a long tail and because they are a mustelid and are related to the skunk and badger, they have musk glands that produce very strong scents.
Adaptation/Behavior:
Ferrets have a keen sense of smell and hearing. Their lithe, flexible and slender bodies allow them to chase mice and rats in burrows. They also make shrill screams when fighting. They are curious and playful.
Courtship/Breeding
Breeding season is from March to June. The male follows the femaile and they call back and forth. Prior to mating, the male grabs the female by the fur on the nape of her neck. Gestation is about 6 weeks and 2 to 10 kits are born in a nest of hay or moss.
Conservation:
The number of European Ferrets is dwindling. This is due to habitat loss and increase in human activities. They are mostly domesticated. The Black-footed Ferrets were once thought to be extinct in the wild, but they are making a slow comback in Wyoming.
Interesting Facts:
Useful in controlling mice and rats on farms
Vision is secondary to smell and hearing
Domesticated from the Wild European Polecat
Male ferrets are called hobs
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