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Ferret and stars in Montana

Montana’s rarest native animal, a black-footed ferret, surfaces on a starry night.

View larger. | Photo taken April 8, 2016 by John Ashley at UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge in central Montana.

View larger. | Photo taken April 8, 2016 by John Ashley at UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge in central Montana. Visit JohnAshleyFineArt.com.

John Ashley submitted this photo to EarthSky He wrote:

Montana’s rarest native animal, black-footed ferrets, are nocturnal sprinters. They spend their days deep down in prairie dog burrows 9-12 feet below ground, only surfacing occasionally during the middle of the night. They cautiously scan the starlit prairie for predators before running a few yards and diving into the nearest burrow.

During the spring breeding season, individual ferrets might move a mile or more – one burrow at a time – over the course of several nights, using scent to search for mates.

Above ground they face predation by coyotes and owls, but their greatest threat is sylvatic plague, introduced from Asia and carried by fleas.

This image is a difficult combination of strobe, light-painting and long exposure.

Nikon D750 with 24mm lens

Adobe Bridge and PS cloud

Thank you, John!

Deborah Byrd

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