ferret

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ferret,

name for a domesticated polecatpolecat,
carnivorous mammal of the weasel family. The name refers especially to the common Old World polecat, Mustela putorius, found in wooded areas of N Eurasia and N Africa.
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, Mustela putorius, common in the Old World. It has been used for centuries to hunt rats, mice, and rabbits. Domestic ferrets are found in many color types including albinos, brown, and black. The name is also applied to a related wild species, the North American, or black-footed, ferret, M. nigripes, which inhabits the Great Plains. Once extremely rare, its population is recovering due to captive breeding. Its range nearly coincides with that of the prairie dogs, which constitute most of its diet; it is often found in prairie dog burrows. The severe reduction of the prairie dog population by ranchers is probably partially responsible for the decline of the black-footed ferret, although it was apparently not numerous when the West was first settled by Europeans. Near extinction in the early 1980s, the remaining wild population was captured by 1986 and a successful breeding program begun. Animals were reintroduced into the wild beginning in 1991. Ferrets are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Mustelidae (weaselweasel,
name for certain small, lithe, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae (weasel family). Members of this family are generally characterized by long bodies and necks, short legs, small rounded ears, and medium to long tails.
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 family).

ferret

[′fer·ət]
(ordnance)
An aircraft, ship, or vehicle especially equipped for the detection, location, recording, and analyzing of electromagnetic radiation.
(vertebrate zoology)
Mustela nigripes. The largest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, and a relative of the European polecat; has yellowish fur with black feet, tail, and mask.

ferret

Aircraft used in an ELINT (electronic intelligence) role and equipped with devices for detecting, locating, recording, and analyzing hostile electromagnetic radiation.

ferret

1
1. a domesticated albino variety of the polecat Mustela putorius, bred for hunting rats, rabbits, etc.
2. black-footed ferret a musteline mammal, Mustela nigripes, of W North America, closely related to the weasels

ferret

2, ferreting
silk binding tape
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: A multi-stakeholder reintroduction effort has helped prevent the black-footed ferret from disappearing from the Northern Great Plains.
Today, specializing solely on prairie dogs has become a poor choice for black-footed ferrets (BFFs), who are susceptible to canine distemper, virus, and plague, the latter transmitted via fleas from prairie dogs.
2007, DSL observed an encounter between a black-tailed prairie dog and a male black-footed ferret kit in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota.
Black-footed ferrets look similar to the ferrets that some people keep as pets, but the two are actually different species.
As an illustration of the method application, the sighting records of the black-footed ferret in the state of Wyoming during January 1972 - December 1990 were used (Table 2, Solow 1993b).
In 1979, the black-footed ferret was widely presumed to be extinct after the last few individuals from a population in South Dakota died in captivity without successfully breeding.
"The black-footed ferret reintroduction to Shirley Basin is quite a famous case study," says Doug Armstrong of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, a biologist who studies reintroductions.
"In both 2004 and 2005, the Forest Service proposed prairie dog poisoning campaigns in Conata Basin, South Dakota, which is the most successful black-footed ferret reintroduction site.
Group #2 will be assigned the following animals: skunk, rabbit, black-footed ferret, prairie dog, and assassin bug.
The environmental group is particularly concerned about the black-tailed prairie dog, which is a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the consequent impact on the black-footed ferret, which is listed under the ESA.
The Shirley Basin is home to a host of wildlife, but its most famous resident is the black-footed ferret. The ferret preys almost exclusively on prairie dogs, but the continued loss of prairie dog colonies, principally from poisoning, during the mid to late 80s, meant the ferret numbers dwindled.