Perhaps you’ve been a ferret owner for years. You’ve seen all the antics and tricks, all the mischief and entertainment these little furry creatures can provide. Or maybe you’re more like me, a person who knows very little at all about the fascinating world of ferrets. As a pet owner and animal lover, it is always good to get a little more familiar with any type of domesticated animal. You never know when you might encounter a new furry friend or if a family member may suddenly decide that he or she simply must have a pet ferret.
So, without further adieu, let’s introduce your friend, the ferret.
A male ferret is called a hob. A female ferret is called a jill. A baby ferret is called a kit. A group of ferrets is called a business.
Ferrets play hard, but they also know how to work hard. Some ferrets are used to protect grain storage from rats and mice. Unlike cats, ferrets are able to squeeze into smaller spaces so they can pursue unwanted rodents. Another unusual employment for ferrets is running wires through walls or tough-to-reach spaces.
Ferrets are incredibly deep sleepers. It’s possible to pick up and handle them without waking them up. Ferrets will sleep for around 18 hours each day.
In the wild, cousins of the ferret (stoats and weasels), use an unusual “war dance” to hunt, transfix, and capture prey. This involves jumping and twisting around in a frenzy. A ferret may exhibit similar behavior when it’s playing.
Ferrets can be natural hoarders. Keys, jewelry, anything that catches their fancy. You may have small objects go missing if you have a ferret.
Pet ferrets appear in portrait paintings dating back to the Middle Ages, but it’s pretty certain that they were domesticated before that. Some believe that the Egyptians had domesticated ferrets.
Ferrets are related to European polecats, otters, weasels, mongooses, minks, and many more. They are not rodents. They are not vegetarians either. In the wild, a ferret’s common food source is prairie dogs, rabbits, squirrels, and other small rodents. Domesticated ferrets can be fed meat, but there are also manufactured ferret foods available, much like the dry foods for dogs and cats.
Some states, counties, cities, and other areas have certain regulations on keeping ferrets as pets. If you’re thinking about getting a ferret, check for any regulations in your area.
A ferret’s life span usually falls between 5 to 10 years.
Domestic ferrets require regular veterinarian care and check-ups. Ferrets should be kept current on shots and vaccinations to protect them from diseases. It is also advisable to spay or neuter a pet ferret if they’re not going to be breeding. The female ferret stays in heat for 6 months of the year and male ferrets become aggressive during mating seasons.
Ferrets have a natural scent that comes from their skin oils. These oils help maintain and protect their coats, so ferrets shouldn’t be bathed too often. The ferret musk can be kept at a minimum by regularly laundering the ferret’s bedding. Ferrets also have a scent gland that is employed for defense.
Not all veterinarians are trained in ferret care, so it’s necessary for ferret owners to find a veterinarian who is.
Ferrets are naturally social creatures. They need interaction and companionship. They are also very active (when they’re not sleeping like the dead). A ferret owner will devote time every day to playing with his or her ferret and letting them roam and explore (under supervision). Depending on the situation, a ferret may enjoy having a human family to himself, but in other cases, a ferret may benefit from having another ferret friend or two around for company and entertainment.
Born from their heritage as burrowing creatures, ferrets like to dig and scratch. Without a good digging spot, a ferret may worry away at the carpet or may burrow down into couch and chair cushions.
Squeezing into small spaces is one of the things that a ferret does best. This means that they can get themselves into tricky spots like air vents, dryer tubes, inside the couch or easy chairs, and pretty much anywhere else in your house that isn’t closed off. Many ferret owners essentially child proof their house, and then some, in order to keep their ferrets from getting into trouble.
Ferrets are trainable animals. They can perform tricks and can, with enough time and patience, also be taught to use a litter box. They are intelligent, curious, and definitely clever, especially if they have a sneaky scheme they wish to pull off.