Aster seems to be the quietest of the three, but is curious and loves to play with her brothers. She is named after a purple flower native to the American prairie. Our male kit, Swifty was named by Smithsonian National Zoo Members and is very feisty and vocal. His name is in honor of the swift fox. Quite the opposite, Aspen — named by Zoo Guardians players — is much more relaxed and tends to stick close to Potpie most of the time. His name is short for the “quaking aspen,” which is another native tree to the American prairie.
In addition to getting their microchips, the kits’ two-month exam included their canine distemper vaccines, blood collection and a weighing. Swifty weighed 666 grams and Aspen weighed 645 grams, putting both just under a pound and a half. Aster tipped the scale at 604 grams. All three kits are doing well and appear healthy.
Normally by this stage, keepers would start building relationships and husbandry training with most animals in our care. For example, we train our cheetah cubs to climb onto a scale and stand still for us to do body checks. But, since these black-footed ferrets could be released into the wild, we want them to have as little contact with humans as possible. Black-footed ferrets are also susceptible to many diseases humans and household pets carry, including COVID-19. All our keepers wear protective gear, like masks and gloves, when handling the ferrets.