In the article I will look at the exterior, character, habits and way of life of a forest ferret, and show how it looks. It is also called the black polecat. I'll tell you about the population, habitat, reproduction and feeding patterns of these animals. Enumerate the natural enemies of the ferret. Let me explain why ferrets are listed in the Red Book and how they are protected.
Description and characteristics of a wild forest ferret
Forest ferrets have a flexible, elongated and not very large body. Due to the short and thick paws with five fingers and sharp claws, they are characterized by external disproportionality.
On average, the length of the body is 40 cm in females and approximately 50 cm in males. The weight of the ferrets also differs by gender: in males - 1000-1700 grams, in females - 650-950 grams.
Black Koryam characterized by an elongated neck, neat oval head with an elongated muzzle, slightly flattened closer to the nose. On their "face" is a distinctive pattern that looks like a black mask and a white nose. On the head also found a place for themselves small ears wide at the base. The eyes are also small, reminiscent of brown beads.
The total number of teeth in a ferret - 28-30 pieces, of which:
- 4 canines (a pair for each jaw),
- 12-14 incisors,
- 12 premolars
These animals have a long (up to 6 cm) shiny brown fur-black color, which takes a darker and more saturated color in the area of the paws, tail, back and muzzle. The most majestic part of the polecat is the big and bushy tail. Its length in an adult individual can be from 8 to 18 cm.
On average, the body length is 40 cm in females and approximately 50 cm in males.
Next to the tail of the beast are special glands that, in case of danger, emit a fetid caustic secret.
In the wild, their life expectancy is relatively small - about 3-4 years.
The habitat of these animals has spread throughout Eurasia and the north-western part of Africa. They can be found in Russia, Ukraine, China, England and other countries.
Some time ago, black trochees were brought to New Zealand in order to reduce the population of rats and mice. As a result, ferrets settled down there and successfully spread.
From the name it is clear that the forest zone is the predominant place for living in trois. You can meet them:
Also, Hori prefer to be located near water bodies: lakes, rivers and swamps.
The animals are very attached to the place chosen for living, as they are sedentary. They are not acceptable thick taiga and open terrain. In extreme cases, they may settle close to people.
The animals are very attached to the place chosen for living, as they are sedentary.
Lifestyle and nutrition
In most cases, they occupy the mink of a hare, badger or fox, less often they dig on their own.
Forest ferret begins its hunt closer to the night. During daylight hours, either a danger or a strong famine can force him to get out of the hole.
In these animals, plant food is poorly digested, which is associated with a low level of amylase in the body. Everyday dish for them are rodents (mice, voles, moles, hamsters and nutria). Also, they are not averse to eat wild birds, gophers, toads, snakes, fish, lizards and hares.
A key way to hunt ferrets is to stalk the victim at night near the entrance to the shelter. Sometimes they also have to run and catch their dinner. Often, hunger causes animals to eat food waste and carrion.
Often, ferrets are harmful to farmers. At night, they choke chickens and feed on their eggs. However, in the same place they are beneficial - they destroy rodents, toads, snakes and large insects (locusts).
Character and habits
In males, the territory is spread over about 2.5 hectares, while in females it is two times smaller and often adjacent to the territory of its male. To indicate their possessions around the perimeter, they put foul-smelling tags.
During the fight with the enemy (even if he surpasses the ferret in size and strength), he bravely repulses. In the same way he does with his victims. For example, if a ferret attacks a nest, then, having been completely satisfied with one bird, will crush all the others.
Wood polecat leads a solitary lifestyle. He communicates with relatives and other representatives of his species only in spring, during the mating period.
He communicates with relatives and other representatives of his species only in spring, during the mating period.
Reproduction and care for offspring
Thoughts on the continuation of the species in these animals arise from the beginning of April to the end of May.
In the female black polecat pregnancy lasts 1.5 months. As a result, 4-6 cubs are born. A month later, they begin to see, and all this time they eat mother's milk. The feeding of solid food in babies begins at 2.5 weeks, with meat - from 4 weeks, and at 7-8 weeks they can already hunt on their own.
Under the care of the mother, the children are until late autumn, and sometimes until spring. She, sparing no effort, protects them from dangers and cares about them.
Forest hori love water and know how to swim. And often there khori meet a representative of his family - mink. To which periodically woo. The descendants of such "marriages" are called "honorics."
Red book and security
Due to the race for valuable fur and urbanization, the main enemy of these animals is man. The population size has significantly decreased after the arrival of fashion fur products from this animal. However, the situation is gradually changing. Black ferret brought in the Red Book.
Black ferret - a valuable decoration of our nature and fauna. And so that this wonderful animal always remains on Earth, we need to reconsider our views on the love of fur products.
Appearance of black ferret
The ferret has an appearance typical of all members of the mustelid family: a squat body with short limbs, at the ends of which there are long claws.
The animal has a very flexible, elongated body. Depending on the habitat, ferrets vary in size.
Males are from 35 to 46 cm in length, females are one and a half times smaller - 29-39 cm. Accordingly, the tail length in the male is 12-17 cm, in the female - 29-39 cm.
Ferrets - brisk little animals.
The weight of an adult animal is from 1 to 1.5 kg. in males, the weight of the female reaches 650-800 grams.
The color of the ferret's fur in wintertime is black-brown with a whitish-yellow undercoat, which is not equally located on different parts of the body - the hind legs and back of the undercoat are completely covered with dark guard hairs.
The ferret’s neck, chest, and belly are black or black-brown, and the fur on its paws is either black or black with a brown tint. The fur color on the face of the ferret resembles a “mask”. The hair around the eyes and along the top of the nose is brown, and around it is white. The tips of the animal's round ears have a white rim.
In summer, the fur changes to coarse, short and sparse. In the warm season, the undercoat is gray-brown and sometimes poorly developed.
A couple of forest ferrets.
Forest Ferret Behavior and Nutrition
The habitat of the black ferret - forests, groves, interspersed with fields and meadows. A typical place for a ferret to hunt is the edge of the forest: on the one hand, the open space needed for hunting, on the other - the proximity of the forest in which to hide.
Ferrets swim well, however, other members of the family do it better, for example, minks. The black ferret uses the foxes or badger holes left to make a den, he himself digs a hole very rarely. The animal can make itself a shelter in an outhouse, for example, in a barn, a bathhouse, as well as in a cellar or a woodpile of firewood.
Often, such proximity to the human farm provokes the ferret to attack domestic animals - various birds and rabbits. Therefore, villagers often suffer damage and do not like ferrets.
Ferrets are excellent micelles.
But they respect this small predator for the extermination of mice, which form the basis of its nutrition. In the diet of ferrets also includes snakes, toads, frogs, birds, small hares, large insects and carrion. In winter, when ferrets suffer a lack of food, they are noticed ruining hives.
Black ferrets hunt mostly at night, during the day only a strong hunger can get out of the ferret's hole. His favorite food - various mouse-like rodents, ferret guards guard near the burrows or catches on the run. When he catches the victim, he kills with a bite in the neck. Ferrets are aggressive and fearless hunters attacking prey that surpasses them in size. Each black ferret lives on its territory, but does not mark it and often shares with other representatives of the species of its gender.
Family of ferrets on vacation.
The ferret breeding season begins in April-May. 40-43 days after the onset of pregnancy, offspring is born.
The number of cubs varies from 5 to 10. They are absolutely tiny and helpless - they weigh only 10 grams, 55-70 mm long, blind and deaf. A week later, newborn ferrets become covered with white silky fur; at the age of one month, the color of the coat changes to a gray-brown.
The mother feeds the babies with milk for up to 3 weeks, and they are considered adults at the age of 3 months. A characteristic feature of females of the black ferret is their dedication and courage, with which they protect their offspring.
Young ferrets become sexually mature at the age of one.
Black Forest Ferret
The black ferret lives in Europe: from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Urals in the east and from southern Norway and Sweden in the north to the Mediterranean and Black seas in the south. This is a lone night hunter. Today, in many parts of Europe, it is rare, because as a result of land reclamation, many of its habitats were destroyed. The length of the body is 38-46 cm. Mass: 500-1500 g. The forest ferret has a long, narrow body with short paws and a bushy tail. Its wool consists of a dark brown or black awn through which a soft and thick yellow undercoat appears. A characteristic feature is the mask on the face, which is formed by wide, white stripes that distinguish the forest ferret from its African relative. In search of prey, he goes under the cover of darkness. The hunting area of the male covers an area of about 2 500 ha. The animal furiously protects its borders from the invading enemies. Plots of females are much smaller and often overlap with each other. The forest ferret marks the borders of the territory with an oily, yellowish substance that is secreted by the anal glands. This is a kind of "chemical weapon" of the animal in case of danger.
Male ferrets 1.5 times heavier than females. They hunt large prey, and small animals are left to females. Due to this, animals can avoid fodder competition. Many forest ferrets die under the wheels of a car. Skunk is a close relative of the ferret. He also has anal glands, secreting a secret with a very sharp smell. It is so unpleasant that it can paralyze the enemy’s respiratory system for some time. In winter, the ferret's coat color changes from dark brown to silver gray.
The closest relatives are African and steppe or light ferrets. The forest ferret prefers moist places, but it appears in forest areas next to human dwellings. Hunters do not like him for predator addiction to poultry meat, and foresters appreciate the ferret for hunting small rodents.
The ferret hunts rats, mouse-like rodents, rabbits, rabbits, birds, frogs, and also toads that are inedible for many animals, lizards and snakes. This is a small but very dangerous predator. Often he kills all the offspring of his victim, and eats only a small part of the prey. The rest he hides in the vaults. The ferret eagerly makes robber attacks on the coop, where he kills chickens until people hear. The mating season of forest ferrets falls on February-April. Forest ferrets usually breed only once a year. A special marriage ritual lasts about an hour. The male during “matchmaking” bites the female by the neck, but the female patiently endures such cruel treatment. This ritual enhances the activity of the male genital organs and ensures successful fertilization. At the end of the mating game, the animals mate several times. The female builds a nest well hidden from prying eyes of dry grass and moss. 40-43 days after mating, she gives birth to 5-10 young. Only the female takes care of the babies. In the first days after the young are born, the female leaves the nest only for a short time in order to eat and help out. Animals never defecate in the nest, so it always remains clean. Milk feeding lasts one month, at the end of this period, the female brings small pieces of meat to the babies, which the young begin to eat before the end of lactation. At the age of one month, youngsters open their eyes, and for the first time they leave the nest. At three months they can take care of themselves, but they are still with their mother.
In many parts of Europe, the number of forest ferrets has decreased dramatically. Previously, he was a frequent visitor to the villages, but later, as a result of land reclamation, many places suitable for his habitat were destroyed.
Horseradish is a relatively small fur animal. The length of the calf male can reach 50 centimeters, and the females - 40 centimeters. In this case, the tail has up to 20 centimeters. The famous fur of these animals has black-brown tones, from the sides it is painted in chestnut color. Above the small and black eyes of these animals there are yellow and white specks, the muzzle has the same color.
What do ferrets eat?
As mentioned above, ferret is a typical predator. He will never, of his own free will, eat vegetable food. These supporters are eagerly eating rats and mice, as well as poisonous vipers. It is curious that the bites of snakes do not harm these animals. In order to have a hearty and glorious meal, the ferret has to hunt, showing uncommon cunning, endurance and agility.
But not always the above-described qualities and skills work with a bang. Sometimes hunting does not bear any fruit. It is curious that the animal is not particularly worried about this: the ferret calmly eats snails, grasshoppers, steals delicious honey from wild bees, dives into the reservoirs for fish. Only in exceptional cases, these creatures go to grass, eating berries and grass.
Thunderstorm chicken coops!
Horus (a photo of this predator is presented in the article) is the real thunderstorm of chicken coops and the whole bird farm! Not far behind him and ermine, and even weasel. No wonder about the raids of these animals in rural areas have already folded legends. In addition, these predators of the Cunha family not only destroy chicken coops by eating eggs, but also take five or even more chickens with them overnight.
In nature, an adult ferret prefers to live alone. These animals are difficult to see in the pack, because their morals and character will never allow them to get along together on the same territory. Zoologists describe pugnacious ferrets as an interesting phenomenon of wildlife: two males, not dividing the territory between themselves, begin to attack each other, bounce, bite, squeal from pain, scratch and tumbling (see photo below).
Pregnancy have trochees
Pregnancy in females occurs up to three times in one year. In one litter is usually obtained up to 12 ferret. Cubs are born completely defenseless and blind. The female feeds them with milk for two weeks. At the end of this period, the young begin to eat vegetable food, and then - the usual food.
How does the Russian forest ferret live?
Black or forest feces is a typical inhabitant of Eurasia. This animal was domesticated by humans in Russia. This form has its name - ferret, or polemus-albino. If we talk about the genetics of this animal, then this species is perfectly and freely crossed, giving different color variations.
Forest ferrets are widespread in western Europe, but even there their habitat is gradually decreasing. There is a huge population of these animals in Great Britain, most of Russia (with the exception of the Caucasus), in North Karelia and the Lower Volga region. Scientists studying these animals believe that lately they have been able to settle in the forests of Finland. In addition, the forest ferret inhabits territories in northwestern Africa.
Little about the steppe ferrets
Another representative of this family is the steppe polecat, or white ferret. Representatives of this species are the largest ferrets on our planet. They are distinguished from their relatives by a high, but rare fur coat. Because of this, a thick but light underfur appears through their wool.
Steppe ferrets are widespread in western Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic, in the steppes, forest-steppes and semi-deserts of Russia (from Transbaikalia to the Middle Amur). You can meet them in Central and Central Asia right up to the Far East. Zoologists say that over the past few decades, the range of this species of trochee has expanded to the west and a little to the north. Steppe ferret tries to avoid forests and settlements.
What feed steppe ferrets?
Like all marteners, the steppe polecat is a typical predator. He hunts for hamsters, gophers, small rodents. С удовольствием поедает лягушек, ядовитых змей и птиц. В летний период степные хори могут охотиться на беспозвоночных животных: жуков, стрекоз, червей, пауков. Те степные создания, которые обитают близ водоемов, приловчились вылавливать водных животных, например, речных полевок.
Как и все остальные хорьки, эти создания причиняют немалый вред домашнему птицеводству. It is worth noting that such a reputation often spoils the life of the animals themselves, because sometimes they are accused of what they did not do at all. This is because steppe ferrets can be substituted by their own kindred - weasels and martens. Outside of the settlements, these creatures are of great benefit, exterminating rodents.
Man and man
The friendship between man and ferret is not a legend invented, but the real truth. Young animals taken from the burrow are quite easy to tame. This was used by some hunters who invented practical use for them in hunting: they use them in pursuit of rabbits instead of dogs.
Nevertheless, the ferret, the photo of which is repeatedly present in our article, is a predator, and therefore a person should be extremely careful and careful in dealing with him. It must be remembered that the wild temper will never leave these animals. The average lifespan of these creatures in nature is 3-4 years, at home - up to 7 years.