Do you have a ferret, or do you think you might want one? Want to know more about these fascinating little fuzzbutts? Here are five facts about then that you might not know.
Ferrets have been domesticated for over 2,000 years!
Contrary to beliefs held by many ignorant lawmakers who insist that ferrets should be banned in some cities and states, our ferrets are not wild animals. They are descendants of the European Polecat, and they've been living side-by-side with humans ever since somebody realized they make great companions when hunting rabbits. They chase the rabbits out of their burrows for human hunters, and they receive a portion of the day's catch in return. This practice is illegal in North America, but it's still done to this day in parts of Europe.
Ferrets eat meat, and nothing but!
It amazes me that some folks still think ferrets are rodents. They are obligate carnivores, or in other words, they don't eat their veggies. That's okay, though, because vegetables aren't good for them. They eat the meat, skin, organs, and even the bones of their prey. While most pet ferrets today get some sort of ferret kibble, there is a popular movement among some ferret fans who have switched their fuzzies to an all-natural, all-raw diet. Personally, I think I'll stick with the kibble.
Bathing a ferret too much actually makes them smell worse!
You'd think the opposite would be true, but nope. One complaint people have about ferrets is their unique musk. When you bathe a ferret, its skin is stripped of the natural oils that keep it healthy. The skin then works overtime to produce even more of that smelly oil. That's how they keep their skin moisturized, and until someone creates a skin lotion for ferrets that stops this, bathing a ferret too frequently will make it oilier and stinkier.
Ferrets can be trained to walk on a leash!
A well-trained ferret will actually walk on a leash in much the same way a dog would. While not all of them are so cooperative (some just get far too excited to do anything but wander about and roll in the grass!) some owners have found they can train their ferrets to walk with them. As long as you have a snug-fitting harness, a secure leash, a tag or microchip, and a monthly heartworm preventive, you can take your ferret outside for some fun and fresh air.
Males are often twice or three times as big as females!
Boy ferrets get pretty big, while the girls tend to stay petite. This phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism. Ferrets have evolved in such a way that it must have been advantageous for the males to grow so much larger than the females. As pet owners, that means when we choose, whether we want a boy or a girl ferret, we can take into account that the guys will be bigger, and so while there might be more ferret there to cuddle, they'll also eat and poop more, too!
If you aren't already owned by a ferret (yes, sometimes they own you!) but you'd like to bring home a fuzzy or two of your own, keep these interesting facts in mind. Meet some ferrets first, preferably at a local animal shelter, and be sure to double check that ferrets are legal in your area. If and when you do get one, rest assured that you'll have made a furry friend for life.