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BLACK-FOOTED FERRET

 READ BY noah watts

Season 1   |  5 min

In 1840, the most notorious thief on the North American Great Plains was actually a ferret by the name of Noddit.

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noah watts

Noah Watts

Noah Watts is a Native American actor and musician, a member of the Crow tribe, and a descendant of the Blackfeet nation. He bears the Crow name Bulaagawish, which means “Old Buffalo Bull That Leads The Herd.” Noah performed his first major voice acting role as Ratonhnhaké:ton (or Connor), the protagonist of Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

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The Black-Footed Ferret also known as the American polecat appeared in North America’s Great Basin and the Rockies 750,000 years ago.** Indigenous tribes, including the Crow, Blackfoot, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Pawnee, used black-footed ferrets for food as well as religious reasons.*** The black-footed ferret is a nocturnal mammal staying most active above ground from dusk to midnight and from 4am to mid-morning.**** It is also solitary, except when breeding or raising litters.****

 

At one time the black footed ferret was thought to be extinct due to their rapid decline and scarcity.* Habitat loss, human-introduced diseases, and indirect poisoning from prairie dog control measures are the primary causes of population decline.^ The survival of the black-footed ferret depends on prairie dogs, which are the ferret’s main source of prey.^*

*Once Thought Extinct, North America's Rarest Mammal May Bounce Back. Owen. 2014 

**Fossils, Diet, and Conservation of Black-Footed Ferrets (Mustela Nigripes). Owen, Bell, and Mead. 2020

***The Black-footed Ferret. Clarke. 1976

**** ^*Winter Ecology of Black-footed Ferrets (Mustela nigripes) at Meeteetse, Wyoming. Richardson. 1987

^Amazing Species: Black-footed Ferret. IUCN Red List

how can we help?

If you’d like to ensure the survival of the black-footed ferret, learning about this species is always a great place to start. Try visiting a zoo, museum or a nature center which has a black-footed ferret exhibit. You could also research other websites to learn about the species and its prairie ecosystem which it needs to survive. If you’d like to make a donation, please visit www.blackfootedferret.org.

Thanks to our partner Mongabay Kids for creating a kid-friendly article on the Black-Footed Ferret. Learn about why the Black-Footed Ferret became endangered and how it was rediscovered! Check it out here.