Saturday, September 8, 2012

Meet Twoflower, the black-footed ferret!

This is Twoflower, a 12-week old female black-footed ferret born at the Louisville Zoo.

Twoflower was named in honor of Sean Astin, who visited the Zoo in July. Sean played the naive tourist Twoflower in the 2008 UK miniseries "The Colour of Magic," based on the Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. He has said in interviews that Twoflower is one of his favorite characters.

Twoflower and her unnamed sister as newborns
Twoflower and an unnamed sister, shown here as newborns, were born on June 15. Their mom is Maize, a 5-year old ferret who has proven to be one of the Zoo's most successful breeders, producing a total of 28 kits since 2008. Twoflower's father is Seabiscuit.

Twoflower will remain at the Zoo where she will be bred next spring. Her sister will shortly be sent to a black-footed ferret "boot camp" where she will learn to hunt prairie dogs before being released at one of 19 reintroduction sites in the Great Plains.

Black-footed ferrets (cousins to the domestic ferret many people keep as pets) are among the most endangered mammals in the world, and were once thought extinct.  A small population was discovered in Wyoming in 1981, and when the numbers continued to decline, the remaining 18 animals were captured and a captive-breeding program begun. The program has been successful to date, with approximately 1,000 ferrets now living in the wild.

Twoflower's mom, Maize, has a corneal scar
The Louisville Zoo is one of a half-dozen black-footed ferret breeding sites in North America. You can learn more about black-footed ferrets at and and more about the Louisville Zoo at

My thanks to Joanne Luyster, Guy Graves, Angelyn Cox, John Walczak and Kyle Shepard at the Louisville Zoo for making this possible and their care for the animals in their charge!

Ferret photos by Joanne Luyster, unless otherwise noted.

Sean meets a black-footed ferret at the Louisville Zoo. Photo by Kyle Shepard.

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