The Stoney Ferret or Stone Ferret is mainly found in rocky or mountainous regions but unlike its cousins has no claws forcing it to live above ground or in caves. It gets its name from its grey coat and rock like appearance. Able to live months without taking a drink of water it can very hardly compared to its smaller relatives.
Appearance. The Stoney Ferret’s shape is similar to the common ferret as they both have huge similarities to rats, except for the size. Both the male and female are one ped long with no distinctive features between the genders. The ferret has a grey fur that covers its body except on the tail which has no fur whatsoever. The tail, unlike the skin on the rest of the ferret's body, is a tough hide where cracks will appear due to dead skin forming on the tail. This along with the grey colour of the tail makes it look much like a rock, lending this ferret also its name. The ferret has no claws on its feet and instead has large thick pads which allow it to climb rocks with great ease.
Special Abilities. The Stoney Ferret is able to go long periods without a drink, although it must still eat, this is due to its ability to store water in its tail. The tail's dead skin and the thick hide allow the ferret to store water safely for future use in the body. The ferret's thick padded feet are also a noticeable feature as they allow the beast to grip to even the most slippery rocks and further more climb them. Stoney Ferrets have also been seen to work together with common ferret in efforts to find or obtain food; this behaviour is very common and is detailed in the Behaviour section.
Territory. Although mainly found in mountainous regions the Stoney Ferret cam also be seen in rocky sea level areas and prefers those that have shallow caves where it may dwell. The Stoney Ferret has also been known to live in abandoned mines and other similar places.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Stoney Ferret is a solitary animal and can mainly be found foraging for food, which consists mainly of lifting rocks and sniffing the area around in which it lives, otherwise the ferret can be found sunbathing on a rock. When threatened the ferret will rather escape using its ability to climb rocks, but if caught it will try to bite its attacker. If approached by another Stoney Ferret they will call to each other with a series of loud "dooks". After a short time the ferrets will then move to each other and will perform a meeting ritual which involves the ferrets sniffing and grooming each other, especially around the head and ears. Once this has been done the ferrets will go their own ways and may perform the same grooming ritual in the future if they meet again.
This ritual is thought to be done to avoid competition especially between males, it also appears to help females find suitable males before the mating season begins. The Stoney Ferret can sometimes be seen working with a common ferret in order to hunt for food, it is not uncommon to see a Stoney Ferret waiting at the entrance to a rabbit hole whilst a common ferret moves down the hole to flush out any rabbits. Once the Stoney Ferret has caught a rabbit it will share the rabbit with the common ferret in a mutual relationship. Other methods such as the common ferrett climbing trees to retrieve fruit or playing bait for larger animals so the Stoney Ferret may kill it has also been seen. It is thought that relationships such as these go to prove that all ferrets realise their kinship.
Diet. This ferret's diet mainly consists of small animals such at rats and mice, but it will also eat any fruits if they grow where the ferret lives. This diet is extended further when the Stoney Ferret works with a common ferret to procure food, in this case their diet may also include burrowing animals, birds, ped long carnivores and a variety of fruits and roots. The ferret only seems to require only a quarter of its body weight a day to survive.
Mating. The mating season only lasts for 14 days during the spring season, during this time males will mark a territory with scent glands found under their eye. These scents are then picked up by the females which the males search for during the mating season. Once a female has found a male he will mount the female, this mating will take only a few minutes and once done the female will leave the male.
The female will then return to her home and after two months will give birth to a single pup, which is grey in appearance. The mother will leave the pup in a place she deems safe, this along with the pup's colour make it hard for potential predators to find the pup. The pup, only half a palmspan in length at birth, will grow rapidly in the first month after it is born and will stop suckling from its mother within the first 2-3 weeks. After a month the pup will become fully grown during this time it will grow its dense grey fur and rock-like tail. In the following month the mother will teach the now fully-grown pup how to forage for food, she will then force the pup away from her home and the pup will seek a rocky area where it may live.
Information provided by Quegon