Meet the New Ferrets

Ferrets Dimitri Nadia July 2016We’re excited to introduce ferrets Dimitri and Nadia, two new Education Ambassador Animals at the Zoo! Ferrets are in the Mustelid family along with otters and weasels. Most ferrets are domesticated versions of the European polecat; ferrets have been kept by humans for over 2000 years for rabbit hunting and rodent control.

Although they don’t have a permanent exhibit at the Zoo, Nadia and Dimitri make regular appearances at education programs on Zoo grounds and at outreach programs in the community. Nadia and Dimitri are also presented by docents and teen volunteers in our Conservation Learning Center, so stop by if you’re visiting—you might get the chance to meet one of these ferrets up close. Here are some fun facts about this amazing animal:

  • There is one wild ferret species native to North America: the endangered black-footed ferret. Biologists have been working hard to protect it; although still under threat, black-footed ferrets are making a comeback!
  • Ferrets have very flexible bodies; they can just about fold themselves in half. This is very handy when chasing prey into a burrow since they don’t have to back out.
  • Ferrets are carnivores. In the wild they like to eat rodents, rabbits, and birds.
  • Ferrets have scent glands and can release an unpleasant smell if they feel threatened.
  • Ferrets are popular pets, but it’s important to do your homework before getting one so you know what you’re getting into. They have LOTS of energy, and require lots of attention. They are also great escape artists, and some ferrets are prone to biting. It’s always a good idea to research a pet thoroughly before you commit to taking care of it.
  • Can’t own one yourself? Become a proud Zoo parent; adopt Nadia & Dimitri today! Ferret Dimitri July 2016 (4)