The full area includes enrichment, like landscape drainage pipes — or “tubes” — and overturned flowerpots. The tubes act as tunnels, mimicking the prairie dog tunnels wild black-footed ferrets use to live, hunt and raise young in. All our adult black-footed ferrets have items like these to hide and play in. We’re so excited the kits are now big enough to use and navigate them on their own.
The kits are also ready to get their first live rat! In the wild, black-footed ferrets primary food source are prairie dogs. The kits that are released into the wild will need to know how to hunt them. As a form of enrichment for adults with kits and to help start the potential preconditioning process for the kits, we provide a live rat at least once a week.
At this stage, Potpie is the primary hunter of the live rat. The kits may observe her, but their involvement in the hunt is more gradual over the next month or so. The hunt itself is very quick. Black-footed ferrets hunt prairie dogs in a similar fashion in the wild, in burrows. Webcam viewers are most likely to see the dead rat on the den cam than any of the hunt itself on the new cam.