Black-footed Ferret
Photo by Bob Gress
Used by permission

Black-footed Ferret
Mustela nigripes

Federal Status:

State Status:

  • Range: Kansas range map for Black-footed Ferret
    Dark Blue = Counties with designated critical habitat
    Light Blue = Historical records
  • Comments: The black-footed ferret is considered the most endangered mammal in North America. In the distant past, it was highly regarded by the Plains Indians and used in headdresses during religious ceremonies. About 90 percent of this predator’s diet consists of prairie dogs. Prairie dogs have declined greatly and now inhabit only 1.5 million of the 700 million acres they once occupied. As prairie dog colonies shrank in size and number, blackfooted ferrets have suffered local extirpations and the species was even thought to be extinct until being rediscovered in Wyoming. Researchers have found ferrets will travel a maximum distance of 4.3 miles in a night. If prairie dog colonies are not nearby, ferrets become isolated, suffer from inbreeding and become even more vulnerable to diseases. Reintroductions from a Wyoming population have occurred in some states but not in Kansas. The last verified record in Kansas was in 1957.

    - 2013 Update: Black-footed ferrets werr re-introduced at two sites in Logan County in western Kansas beginning in December 2007.  The locations were on large acreages where good-sized prairie dog colonies were present.  The ferrets have thrived in their new situation.

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Other Mammals on the Kansas T&E List

Kansas Wildlife Refuge
Text: Ed Miller and Bob Gress
Range Maps and Web Design: Jim Mason

Questions or comments?  Send Email to Jim Mason Spidey
Or write us at: 
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th Street North
Wichita, KS 67220-2200             Call:  316-683-5499            Fax:  316-688-9555