Ferrets belong to the Mustelidae family of mammals, which also includes weasels, otters, and badgers. Misconceptions about these carnivores exist in plenty. Some people think they are rodents, while some think they are closely related to rabbits and guinea pigs. Then there are some scientists, who opine that they are the distant cousins of some breeds of dogs and cats. Ferrets have been domesticated by humans since ancient times. In fact, they have become quite popular as house pets today, which is what makes the misconceptions about them even more surprising.
Ferret Facts and Information
Ferret Facts and Information
- Ferrets were trained as hunters by humans to keep a check on the growing population of rabbits and rodents in many countries.
- Female ferrets are called gibs, while males are known as hobs. Baby ferrets are called kits. In the northern part of the United States, spayed female ferrets are known as sprites and neutered males as gibs. A group of ferrets is known as a 'business of ferrets'.
- Males are larger in size than females. They measure 15 to 16 inches and weigh 2 to 3.5 lbs. Females ferrets, on the other hand, are 13 to 14 inches in length and weigh up to 0.75 to 2.5 lbs.
- Ferrets spend around 18 hours of the day sleeping. They have a poor eyesight, but a good sense of smell and hearing.
- The name ferret comes from the Latin word "furoneam", which means "thief". Ferrets are smart mammals that steal anything they can lay their paws on and hide it in their home.
- Ferrets rarely cause allergies. People who are allergic to cats and dogs can opt for ferrets as domesticated pets.
- Ferrets are not territorial reserve. They actually gel very well with other ferrets as well as cats and dogs.
- Ferrets are classified as domestic animals; they are largely dependent on humans for their wellbeing. Ferrets cannot survive in the wild. A loose ferret will die of starvation if left in the wild.
- The colonial navy of Massachusetts has a ferret as its mascot.
- Ferrets are quite playful in nature.
- They have a lifespan of 6 to 8 years.
- Ferrets love to squeeze and hide in small places. They are natural predators of mice and other rodents.
- Ferrets can easily live in a cage, but they need at least 3 hours of playtime outside the cage everyday.
- Black-footed ferret, native to North America, is an endangered species.
- It is 20 to 24 inches long and can weigh up to 2½ pounds.
- It has a yellow body, dark tail tip, and black feet. The throat, forehead, and muzzle are white in color, and there is a black mask around the eyes and nose.
- Their breeding season runs from March to April. Females give birth 3 to 6 young babies and raise them without any help from the male.
- Baby ferrets are born blind and helpless, and are covered with thin white hair. The young ones are dependent on their mother for 42 days and remain with her till autumn, after which they learn to live independently.
- Black-footed ferrets have an excellent sense of hearing, vision, and smell.
- The main prey of these ferrets are prairie dogs. Since the decline in number of prairie dogs due to a government eradication program, black-footed ferrets have also decreased in number.