What comes to the mind when you hear the word “ferret”? Beautiful animals. These curious and exciting creatures have gained popularity as pets recently because of their lovable disposition and entertaining behaviors. In this blog post, we’ll go over all you need to know about ferrets, from their history to how to take care of them. Furthermore, you will also learn about breeds of ferrets, their nutritional requirements, and how to keep them wholesome and content. We’ll also examine their social interactions as ferrets are extremely gregarious creatures who like company and play.

Furthermore, this blog article will provide vital knowledge and insights into the world of ferrets, whether you’ve owned one for a long time or are just considering obtaining one as a pet. Prepare to learn all there is to know about these beautiful creatures and understand why they have won the hearts of so many people worldwide!

A little about ferrets

Before we discuss the profound studies about ferrets, we find it better to have an overview of them. Mustela furo, a unique species, is the name given to this animal in the scientific community. The European polecat, from which the ferret descended, is known scientifically as Mustela putorius. Experts consider the ferret a domesticated European polecat or a member of the polecat family.

They are beautiful mammals with short legs, pointed noses, and long, lean bodies, the tiny, hairy animals known as ferrets. Ferrets also make popular pets because of their lively, inquisitive personalities and ability to adapt to confined places. They usually have a length of 20 inches and weigh 1 to 5 pounds.

Because they are social creatures that thrive on human contact, ferrets need much care and playtime to remain content and healthy. Despite being relatively simple, ferrets have special needs, including a specialized diet and routine veterinary exams to check for health problems like adrenal disease.

a ferret is sit on the grass and looking front

The history

Certainly! The exciting history of ferrets goes back to prehistoric times. Since ancient times, people have kept common ferrets as pets and used them to hunt rodents. Common ferrets are a domesticated variety of the European polecat. It is said that ferrets were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians and utilized by the Romans to hunt rabbits.

Ferrets were employed to hunt rats in homes and stables throughout the Middle Ages; even royalty kept them as pets. Domesticated ferrets were sent to America in the 18th century via ship to serve as assistants aboard and ashore.

Contrarily, the black-footed ferret has a considerably sadder past. The black-footed ferret, formerly ranked among the most endangered animals in North America, was officially declared extinct in the wild in 1979. To help rescue the species, a captive breeding effort was started when a tiny population was found on a ranch in Wyoming in 1981.

Thanks to conservation efforts and reintroduction initiatives, about 300 black-footed ferrets are currently in the wild. Overall, ferrets have a long and varied history and have played significant roles in human history as both pets and hunters.

ferret sit on the stone

Ferrets appearances

Discussing the physical appearance of ferrets, they look like a weasel and have minor differences between them. Observing their tail and body size is a way to recognize the difference between them. Because we are discussing ferrets in this blog, a ferret with a slender and long body with a short tail is popular.

A ferret’s average size is 18 inches to 21 inches, and they weigh 0.7 to 2 kg on average. When comparing a male animal with a female, they are large with good muscles and snout. Moreover, they exist in different colors, but brown, white, and black are the most common.

ferret run on the green grass

Breed and types of ferrets

Due to their affectionate and playful personalities, ferrets are a popular choice among pet owners. There are several breeds and varieties of ferrets to consider when selecting one. The domesticated ferret, which has been carefully developed over many years, is the most popular breed of ferret.

Domestic ferrets can reach a maximum length of 20 inches and are often white or brown with black markings. They are wonderful pets for families with young children because of their kind and inquisitive nature.

The black-footed ferret, a wild ferret species endemic to North America, is another well-known ferret variety. They have striking black masks on their faces, and their feet are also black. Compared to domesticated ferrets, they are smaller and more independent. Black-footed ferrets are not acceptable as pets because of their wild nature and are protected by the Endangered Species Act.

In addition to these two varieties, domesticated ferrets come in various hues and patterns, including albino, sable, and cinnamon. Before choosing a ferret, it’s essential to do your homework and speak with a veterinarian to make sure you choose the right breed and type for your needs.

many brown ferret sit together

Ferret behavior

For those with the time and energy to devote to their care, ferrets are little, energetic animals that make excellent companions. They are well renowned for having active and inquisitive attitudes and, when left alone, frequently getting into trouble. Ferrets are small mammals with muscular, short fur that can have a range of colors.

They are clever animals that can learn the tricks to do and even use a litter box. Ferrets are gregarious creatures who prefer company. Although they can be prone to nipping, they may need some training to become accustomed to handling. For anyone prepared to make an effort to care for them properly, ferrets are excellent and amusing pets.

A man's hand in front of a ferret face

Ferret habitat

Habitat is essential for any animal, especially a pet because a suitable habitat guarantees a good lifespan. Talking about the general habitat of these mammals, they are common in North Africa, Asia, and many European countries.

Living in an area with greenery and water is their choice. If you know some ferret breeders, you must have seen them with different ferret habitat ideas so that they can acquire the benefits of breeding. So, if you plan to put them down shortly, consider offering those places like shrub land and grassland.

black ferret sit nd looking some thing

Ferret diet

Diet is more important than habitat, and no one understands it better than ferret breeders because they spend a lot feeding them. You must be thinking about their expenses; ferrets are carnivores, meaning they only consume meat to live.

Though minor, they contain sharp teeth and run at 15 mph to chase and hunt their prey. Breeders should also come to know about their tiny digestive tracts, which means they need a meal after every few hours.

Now, talking specifically about the diet of these animals, one offers them a premium ferret diet containing fats and proteins with a specific amount. They eat small pets, mammals, reptiles, and birds in captivity. Moreover, you can serve them pre-killed or even live mice as healthy food. Usually, birds are the best ferret treats.

Now, let us tell you a strange ferret fact about its diet, all the grown edibles that are handy for humans are as poisonous for ferrets like vegetables, fruits, and grains. It is because they can only digest food with animal protein.

ferret eat something

Can ferrets eat cat food?

Yes, ferrets can eat cat food because it is also high in protein and fats. But it will not benefit ferrets because the protein level does not meet their requirements.

Threats to ferrets

You must be aware that any animal that preys on others is usually food for another animal. This fact also fits very well with ferrets because they are food to many, like dogs, foxes, eagles, etc. Besides these things being a threat to these animals, humans are also becoming a threat in the sense of trapping, hunting and agriculture facts.

black ferret stand on the green grass

Reproduction and ferret life

The breeding season of the ferrets starts from March to early August, which shows that their reproduction weather is summer. If specifying the sexual maturity of these animals, it reaches this level in the 4th to 6th month of age.

At the same time, a female can deliver the baby when it reaches the age of a year or slightly less than it is. A baby ferret, known as the Kit, is white when born and requires three weeks to catch the adult color. Both of the parents raise the babies in their community.

The lifespan of any animal is the primary concern for breeders. If we talk about a ferret’s lifespan, it depends on the environment and the area where it is living. An average lifespan is 8 to 10 years in the wild. While in captivity, if owners offer them good, nutritious food and take care of them, these animals can live for 12 years.

2 black ferret

Ferrets diseases

Like other animals, ferrets can also encounter diseases like diarrhea, heart diseases, and cancers in the early stages of life, tumors, parasites, and digestive issues. Some of these diseases are very dangerous and can prove themselves fatal. So, we recommend going for ferret health insurance as many companies offer these services.

doctor check the ferret

Behavior of an aggressive ferret with other ferrets and humans.

In their daily lives, ferrets are considered friendly animals, but sometimes they become aggressive and territorial. Besides, they live in a community but can fight with their family members, and affect humans too. They hide in a safe place when they find any threat and attack the opposition immediately.

Many people leave their queries on different platforms, asking questions like “Do ferret bites hurt? How to train a ferret not to bite? And many others.” Yes, they bite, and their bites hurt and can become dangerous because they spread germs. Moreover, they can spread rabies if unvaccinated. Last, you can train your animal not to bite by scuffing.

What to do if a ferret bites?

As you have already read, a ferret diet spreads germs that result in severe infections:

  1. Wash the infected area with warm and soapy water.
  2. Visit the medical centre immediately for more treatment.
  3. Contacting the owner and ensuring that the ferret has rabies vaccination is obligatory.

If the answer is negative, go for anti-rabies injections as a priority.

Furthermore, you can take some precautions when you have to spend time with ferrets, like wearing shoes that cover your feet thoroughly, using hand wearers when you need to touch them, etc. But remember to wash your hand after handling any animal.

FAQs

What human food can ferrets eat?

Ferrets in captivity enjoy different human foods like fruits, sweets and dairy products, but better to avoid these foods because of health threats. Meat is a human food you can serve as a ferret’s treat.

Do ferrets get along with dogs and cats?

Yes, these mammals are very friendly and do not hesitate to play with other animals. Likewise, they get along with dogs and cats, but better to keep them away from smaller animals like rodents and birds because ferrets have a nature to prey.

How long do ferrets sleep?

Like koalas, ferrets enjoy the long and deep sleep journey, but the only difference is the sleeping time. A koala sleeps for 20-22 hours, while ferrets are famous for having a short nap of 18 hours daily.

Mongoose vs ferret Are they the same animals?

There are several distinctions between a mongoose and a ferret. Mongooses belong to the Herpestes genus, while ferrets belong to the Mustela genus. Certain species of mongoose far outweigh ferrets, and mongooses have thicker bodies than your average ferret’s slender body.

Are ferrets hypoallergenic?

No, ferrets are not hypoallergenic, as they do not shed their fur like other domesticated animals, but the ferret bite can cause the allergy.

Do ferrets need a friend?

Yes, ferrets need friends to play with and as a companion too. If any of our readers plan to put it, he should consider keeping them in pairs.

Final thoughts

Ferrets are intriguing animals with distinct traits. These creatures are fantastic and get along with other animals but not with animals that may become their prey. They require a rigorous meat diet and continual availability of water to flourish as domesticated creatures. Male ferrets are much bigger than females, indicating they are sexually dimorphic predators. They also have particular habits like the “dook” and “war dance” that may delight their owners. Overall, ferrets can be excellent pets for those willing to meet their specific needs while enjoying their playful personalities.

Hello! Here is Nora Hazel. And I'm an expert in the field of Mongoose. With a deep interest and love for these unique creatures, I have dedicated my career to studying and understanding their behavior, care and welfare. My expertise covers different species of mongoose. I have extensive knowledge of their habitat, social structure, nutritional requirements, training methods and so on.