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Celebrating our 40th Year of Saving Wildlife!

Visit the Animal Ambassadors 

Winter Hours 10:00 - 4:00


Wildlife Questions: 541-476-0222

Our Mission: Saving Wildlife



Mustela putorius furo

  • Classification: Mammal
  • Lifespan in Captivity: 7-9yrs
  • Lifespan in the Wild: 3-4yrs
  • Length: 1.5ft
  • Weight: 1.5-4.5lbs
  • Range: United States Great Plains, Southern Canada, Northern Mexico
  • Habitat: grasslands, open prairie, forest, mountain
  • Diet: Carnivore
    • Diet in the Wild: rodents, prairie dogs, small mammals
    • Diet at Wildlife Images: ferret kibble, treats

Ferrets have had a very long history beside man, possibly even dating back to 450 BC, although they only became popular as common pets within the last 100 years. The term ‘ferret’ is one we use to describe clearing a hole or rummaging through a space, both of which are attributes to these domesticated polecats. Ferrets have been used as hunters, mousers, vermin control, and companion pets. Brought to the United States on boats in the eighteenth century, ferrets were used by early settlers to hunt rabbits or other small mammals. The USDA recommended the use of ferrets for ‘vermin control’. A farmer could call their local ferretmeister to unleash ferrets on the property, where they would chase the vermin out toward dogs or humans to dispatch. When rodenticides became popular, this practice died out.

Ferrets were also used as transporters. Due to their anatomy and willingness to run through long, dark tunnels, they were ideal in transporting cables through long pipes. Oilmen in the North Sea, telephone companies, camera crews and people working on airline jets have used ferrets for this purpose. The ferret wears a harness where a long thin nylon line is attached. The nylon line is then connected to the cable that needs to be pulled through the conduit. The use of mechanical devices for this purpose has made the ferret obsolete as a transporter.

The black-footed ferret was considered extinct in the wild as of 1987. Due to captive breeding and release programs, as of 2013, over 1,000 ferrets are back in the wild in their original range. They are still considered endangered.

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Visit Us

11845 Lower River Rd., Grants Pass, OR 97526
P.O. Box 36, Merlin OR 97532

Wildlife Clinic
Open 9:00 - 4:00
7 Days/week

Office/Gift Shop Hours
Open 9:00 - 4:00 
7 Days/week

Park Admission
Open 10:00 - 4:00 
7 Days/week

Our Mission: Saving Wildlife

In this pursuit we aim to:

  • Involve people to share in our mission.
  • Educate people about the personal benefits of taking care of wildlife and the environment entrusted to our care.
  • Inspire people to make positive changes improving the world for wildlife.

We Need Your Help

With over 115 animal ambassadors, and over 1,000 sick injured and orphaned animals brought to our center each year - every dollar counts. We rely solely on people like yourself to support the work we do.

We receive no State or Federal funding and depend entirely on private funds to carry out our Mission.