One Small Difference In A Ferret’s Back Bones Gives It A Big Advantage

The ferret is an amazing creature with the extraordinary ability to squeeze into tight spaces without sacrificing the speed needed to hunt its prey. Their backbones were specially created to be more flexible than those of other vertebrates, and their short legs in relation to their body length give them speed even in close quarters.

The ferret has been designed to be an amazingly adaptable hunter. Their bodies can twist and turn in a way that Dr. Angela Horner from the California State University San Bernadino calls “animals in liquid form.” This amazing design allows them to squeeze into tight spaces and chase down their prey into underground burrows.

“This flexibility in their spine,” explains the video, “is due to a unique set of back vertebrae. In other animals, protrusions known as processes on each segment of the spine stop it from moving too far. In ferrets, these processes are thinner, creating flexibility and movement. So their spine can stretch out when they go underground, making their body 30% longer.”