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"Bandito: The Black-Footed Ferret" is the ninth episode of the third season of Wild Kratts, originally airing on PBS Kids on April 9, 2014. Overall, it is the 75th episode of the series. The episode was written and directed by Martin Kratt.
In this episode, Martin wants to try out Aviva's new stone digging machine, but Aviva insists that he does not, because the machine is not done. Impatient, Martin takes it for a test drive at night, but the lack of stability in the machine causes Martin to crash land. The next morning, Martin realizes that he is around an unknown colony of black-footed ferrets. While the rest of the crew tries to find him, Zach Varmitech is plotting to use the ferrets for "Robber-bots" to sneak into the Tortuga and steal all of Aviva's inventions.
The episode begins with a live-action segment, in which the Kratt brothers describe the predator-prey relationship between prairie dog predators and prairie dogs. Afterward, they ask their "What if?" question, and the show transitions into the cartoon segment.
The Wild Kratts are roasting marshmallows over a fire in prairies of North America when Martin sees Aviva's Stone Digger, and he wants to try it out. Aviva stops him and explains that it still needs some adjustments. Martin is impatient, but Chris tells him not to worry. It will be tomorrow before he knows it. Koki says that it will be better to use it to explore the prairie tomorrow. Jimmy also points out that he is tired, so he should be patient and sleep. Martin accepts that he is tired. Later, while everyone sleeps, Martin is unable to sleep because he is unable to wait until tomorrow. He sneakily exits the Tortuga and starts the Stone Digger. The Stone Digger is hard for Martin to control, and it soon crashes. Morning approaches and the Wild Kratts find out that Martin is missing. Aviva finds out that her Stone Digger is also missing. This means Martin took it to test drive it before it was ready. Koki also finds out that Martin forgot his Creature Pod, which means no one is going to be able to get any emergency calls from Martin. Zach Varmitech, on the other hand, overhears them and knows where Martin is but he says he is not going to tell them because he thinks it will be fun to watch them try to search for him and never him. Martin tries to call the crew, but he realizes he forgot his Creature Pod. As he observes, Martin finds a black-footed ferret in the exposed tunnels in the crash site after it bites him. Zach, disgusted by baby animals, decides to take a look at the Tortuga after this. In the meantime, Chris tells everyone that they all have zero clues about which way Martin went and everyone will have to split up in different directions to find Martin. Everyone chooses their adventure vehicle. However, Chris activates Peregrine Falcon power and flies north to find Martin. Koki, Aviva, and Jimmy all head east, south, and west, respectively to find Martin. Zach sees that they left the Tortuga open, which he claims is too good to be true. However, Koki finds out that she forgot to lock down the Tortuga, which she does. Zach is mad and schemes to find a way to get inside so he can steal the Wild Kratts' inventions and technology. Zach decides to check if Martin's done kissing baby animals, but he's not.
Martin names the black-footed ferret Bandito. Martin then meets Bandito's family and sees one of the ferrets hunt prairie dogs through the tunnels. He tells the crew about what's going on, but he again forgets that he forgot his Creature Pod and no one is seeing this. However, unknown to Martin, Zach is the one seeing this and then gets the idea to make "Robber-bots" out of the ferrets so that they can steal Aviva's inventions. Meanwhile, Chris is looking for Martin. Zach finds out that the Wild Kratts are looking for Martin and has to make sure that he is very careful that he doesn't lead them to Martin and his ferrets. He engages his plane's "cloud-camouflage" and lands it near Martin. Eventually, Martin is found, but by Zach. Martin is surprised to see Zach at the same place as him and thinks Zach is going to help him. However, Zach says that he is not going to help him. Instead, Zach is going to take all the black-footed ferrets and leave Martin where he is. Zach then orders his Zachbots to suck up the ferrets from their tunnels, which they do. Martin tells the Zachbots to stop and leave the ferrets alone but gets captured by a Zachbot and tries to get that one to stop but is unsuccessful. Zach tells Martin that he is going to use the black-footed ferrets for his Robber-bots and he also tells him that he has a new impenetrable lockdown mode on his plane so that neither Martin nor any of the Wild Kratts members can interfere with his plans. Martin says he is going to stop Zach before he locks down his plane by turning off his vacuum, but a Zachbot grabs him and stops him from turning it off. However, Zach is puzzled to find out that's not many ferrets. Martin explains to Zach that there are so few because they are very endangered with only 750 in the wild. The colony that Martin found was unknown. Finding it made 756. Zach tells Martin that he is back to 750 and he takes off and camouflages his plane.
Meanwhile, Aviva, on her hoverbike is puzzled when she finds out a hole in the mountain that is the same size and diameter as her new Stone Digger. She goes through it and she also eventually finds Martin at the crash site and she yells at him for destroying her Stone Digger because it was not ready. Martin apologizes to Aviva and says that it was ready and it worked and he also found a new colony black-footed ferrets. Aviva is excited to find out about black-footed ferrets because she loves them and asks Martin where they are. Martin tells her that Zach stole them which is the only problem. Aviva is shocked to hear that because they're so endangered but luckily Bandito is still with him. He calls the rest of the team with Aviva's Creature Pod, explaining to them that Aviva has found him and he also tells them that Zach has stolen the new colony of black-footed ferrets and flown off with them. Chris decides to find Zach and Martin tells Chris that Zach's plane is camouflaged as a cloud. Martin explains to Aviva that Zach was bragging about his new impenetrable lockdown mode on his plane. Martin tells Aviva that they're going to have to salvage the Stone Digger. She growls at him and says that he doesn't know what it takes to put inventions together. Martin also says that they could use some help from Bandito. Aviva accepts and she also agrees to make a Creature Power Disc. Martin tells her the features of the black-footed ferret, so that she puts them in the power disc.
Meanwhile, Zach is ordering his Zachbots to assemble the Robber-bots and put the ferrets in there. He tests to make sure it works, and sure enough, it does. Meanwhile, Chris is trying to find Zach's plane. He dives through every cloud. It takes a while but he eventually finds it. Zach is upset because Chris messed up the plane again and Zach then orders his Zachbots to get him off the plane. He also orders Zachbots to land the plane, so that he diverts all the plane's power in production of the final four Robber-bots. Martin is impatient to test the black-footed ferret powers. Aviva eventually agrees to salvage the drill part of the Stone Digger as a hand-held device. Meanwhile, Zach's plane lands and Chris, who found Zach's plane, sends his location to the two. Chris deactivates and Martin explains to him that Zach has a new lockdown mode which is totally impenetrable. Chris discovers his plane and tries to find a way in. Chris finds out that Zach has improved his lockdown mode and can't find a way in. Aviva says that if they can't find a way in, they can make a way in. Martin says that once they're in, he knows exactly how they'll get around. Back inside the plane, Zach presents his newest invention: the Robber-bots. Zach explains his plan to his Zachbots which is drilling inside the Tortuga and stealing Aviva's inventions. Back outside, Aviva uses the hand-held drill to make a hole in one of the plane's vents. The Kratt brothers activate their Black-Footed Ferret Creature Power Suits, and Aviva helps them get into the ventilation system. Martin, Chris, and Bandito follow the sound to Zach's main part of the plane. Zach tells his Zachbots to listen carefully to his plan and not to ask any questions until he's finished. During that time, they deactivate the Robber-bots, releasing the ferrets. When Zach is finished explaining his plan, he finds out that his Robber-bots are missing. Zach says that they are so sneaky and berates the Zachbots for not saying something. Zach demands them to find out where they are. One of the Zachbots turns on the television and Zach is shocked to see that they sneaked off to hang out with the Wild Kratts. He admits defeat by saying they can have them. Afterwards, the Kratt brothers, the ferrets, and the rest of the team return to the prairie.
The show transitions into the concluding live-action segment, in which the Kratt brothers find black-footed ferrets at night. Afterward, they conclude the episode by saying "Keep on creature adventuring; we'll see you on the creature trail!"
Note: Featured animals are in bold.
Note: Live action animals are linked to Wikipedia.
- When Martin is naming Bandito, he says "I know we already had a raccoon named Bandito, but you're Bandito the black-footed ferret." This is a reference to the Kratt brothers' previous PBS Kids show Zoboomafoo, where one of the episodes featured a raccoon named Bandito.
- This is the first time a Wild Kratts member destroys one of Aviva's inventions. In this case, it's Martin. Although Martin destroyed Aviva's Stone Digger, he and Aviva still reused the drill part of the Stone Digger to make a way inside Zach's plane.
- This is the second time any of Aviva's inventions was destroyed.
- This episode reveals that Zach has invented a new, impenetrable lockdown mode on his plane.
Key Facts and Creature Moments
- A Black-footed ferret can pursue and catch prey in winding tunnels because its long, thin body allows it to twist and turn easily.
- The black patch of fur surrounding a Black-footed ferret's eyes helps reduce glare, making it easier for the ferret to see its prey.