Black-Footed ferret (Mustela nigripes)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:    and  

General Information

The black-footed ferret is 18 to 24 inches long, including a 5 to 6 inch tail. It weighs only one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half pounds, with males slightly larger than females. The black-footed ferret is well adapted to its prairie environment. Its color and markings blend so well with grassland soils and plants, that it is hard to detect until it moves. It is a slender, wiry animal with a black face mask, black feet, and a black-tipped tail. The rest of its short, sleek fur is a yellow-buff color, lighter on the belly and nearly white on the forehead, muzzle, and throat. It has short legs with large front paws and claws developed for digging. The ferret's large ears and eyes suggest it has acute hearing and sight, but smell is probably its most important sense for hunting prey underground in the dark.

Population detail

The FWS is currently monitoring the following populations of the Black-Footed ferret 

  • Population location: Wherever found, except where listed as an experimental population

    Listing status:  Endangered

  • Population location: U.S.A. (WY and specified portions of AZ, CO, MT, SD, and UT, see §17.84(g)(9))

    Listing status:  Experimental Population, Non-Essential

    • States/US Territories in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  Arizona , Colorado , Montana , South Dakota , Utah , Wyoming
    • US Counties in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
    • Countries in which the this population is known to occur:  Mexico
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
03/11/1967 Mountain-Prairie Region (Region 6) Wherever found, except where listed as an experimental population
08/21/1991 Mountain-Prairie Region (Region 6) U.S.A. (WY and specified portions of AZ, CO, MT, SD, and UT, see §17.84(g)(9))

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
05/16/2003 68 FR 26498 26510 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of Nonessential Experimental Population Status and Reintroduction of Black-Footed Ferrets in South-Central South Dakota
07/18/2000 65 FR 440510 44518 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in North-Central South Dakota
10/01/1998 63 FR 52824 52841 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-footed Ferrets in Northwestern Colorado and Northeastern Utah; Final Rule
05/19/1993 58 FR 29176 29186 ETWP; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in Southwestern South Dakota
05/24/1991 56 FR 23830 23842 ETWP; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Mustela nigripes (Black-Footed Ferrets) in Southeastern Wyoming 56 FR 23830 23842
04/10/2015 80 FR 19263 19275 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in Wyoming
09/11/2002 67 FR 57558 57567 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-footed Ferrets in South-central South Dakota
10/30/2015 80 FR 66821 66838 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-footed Ferrets in Wyoming
08/21/1991 56 FR 41473 41490 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Mustela nigripes (Black-Footed ferrets) in Southeastern Wyoming; 56 FR 41473 41490
06/02/1970 35 FR 8491 8498 Part 17 - Conservation of Endangered Species and Other Fish or Wildlife (First List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife as Appendix A)
12/23/2013 78 FR 77485 77486 Notice of Availability: Revised Recovery Plan for the Black-Footed Ferret
03/20/1996 61 FR 11320 11336 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in Aubrey Valley, Arizona
03/11/1967 32 FR 4001 Endangered Species List - 1967
05/06/2014 79 FR 25883 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews of Nine Species in the Mountain-Prairie Region
01/23/2013 78 FR 4866 4867 Enhancement of Survival Permit Application; Draft Black-Footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement and Environmental Assessment; Reopening of Public Comment Period
08/18/1994 59 FR 42682 42694 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black- footed Ferrets in Southwestern South Dakota
08/18/1994 59 FR 42696 42715 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black- footed Ferrets in North-Central Montana
04/14/1970 35 FR 6069 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Endangered Species Conservation); 35 FR 6069
10/13/2000 65 FR 60879 60889 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in North-Central South Dakota
04/29/1997 62 FR 23202 23211 ETWP; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Population of Black-footed Ferrets in Northwestern Colorado and Northeastern Utah
04/23/2013 78 FR 23948 23949 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Black-Footed Ferret Draft Recovery Plan
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
04/29/1997 62 FR 23202 23211 ETWP; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Population of Black-footed Ferrets in Northwestern Colorado and Northeastern Utah
03/20/1996 61 FR 11320 11336 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in Aubrey Valley, Arizona
08/18/1994 59 FR 42682 42694 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black- footed Ferrets in Southwestern South Dakota
08/18/1994 59 FR 42696 42715 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black- footed Ferrets in North-Central Montana
05/24/1991 56 FR 23830 23842 ETWP; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Mustela nigripes (Black-Footed Ferrets) in Southeastern Wyoming 56 FR 23830 23842
08/21/1991 56 FR 41473 41490 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Mustela nigripes (Black-Footed ferrets) in Southeastern Wyoming; 56 FR 41473 41490
09/11/2002 67 FR 57558 57567 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-footed Ferrets in South-central South Dakota
10/13/2000 65 FR 60879 60889 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-Footed Ferrets in North-Central South Dakota
05/16/2003 68 FR 26498 26510 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of Nonessential Experimental Population Status and Reintroduction of Black-Footed Ferrets in South-Central South Dakota
10/01/1998 63 FR 52824 52841 ETWP; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Black-footed Ferrets in Northwestern Colorado and Northeastern Utah; Final Rule

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
11/08/2013 Recovery Plan for the Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) View Implementation Progress Final Revision 2
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
12/23/2013 78 FR 77485 77486 Notice of Availability: Revised Recovery Plan for the Black-Footed Ferret
  • Notice Recovery Plan Avail.
05/06/2014 79 FR 25883 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews of Nine Species in the Mountain-Prairie Region
  • Notice 5-year Review, Initiation
04/23/2013 78 FR 23948 23949 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Black-Footed Ferret Draft Recovery Plan
  • Notice Draft Recovery Plan Availability
Five Year Review
Date Title
08/13/2014 Black-footed Ferret 5-Year Review

» Critical Habitat

No critical habitat rules have been published for the Black-Footed ferret.

» Conservation Plans

Safe Harbor Agreements (SHA): (learn more)
SHA Plan Summaries
Black-footed Ferret Rangewide Programmatic SHA
Black-footed Ferret Rangewide Programmatic SHA

» Petitions

» Life History

No Life History information has been entered into this system for this species.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.