Ferrets are sexually dimorphic domestic mammals, which belong to the family Mustelidae and the genus Mustela. They come up to an average length of 51 cm or 20 inches and are regarded as close relatives of the polecat. Due to this, they are very easily able to hybridize with them. This has quite often resulted in feral colonies of ferret polecat hybrids, especially in parts of New Zealand. These hybrids have been perceived to cause damage to the native flora. Ferrets have furs that come in a variety of colors, like black, brown, white or mixed shades. Their use as domesticated pets has been known since a long time and even today, they are used for hunting rabbits in some parts of the world. But more than other purposes, ferrets are being kept simply as pets today. Their friendly and playful nature makes it very easy to train them, especially when they are reared from a very young age. To know some more interesting facts and amazing information on ferrets, read the pointers given below.
Length: 17 to 24 inches (44 to 60 cm), including the tail
Weight: 1 to 5.5 lbs. (500 gm. to 2.5 kg)
Life Span: 5 to 6 years in laboratory, up to 10 years as pets
Diet: Herbivorous (feeds on tall and coarse grasses)
Range: Eastern and Southern Africa.
Habitat: Open savannas and grasslands, near a permanent source of water
Age of Sexual Maturity: 9 to 12 months
Gestation Period: 38 to 44 days
Number of Offspring: 2 per year
Status: Not Endangered
Interesting & Amazing Information On Ferrets
- Ferrets are domestic mammals, with the males being substantially larger than the females.
- The name ferret comes from the Latin word, ‘furonem’, which means ‘thief’.
- Ferrets start making sounds only after they are 6-8 weeks of age.
- In New Zealand, a ferret is the largest mustelid.
- The breeding season for ferrets starts in December and ends in August.
- A female ferret can have anything from 1 to 15 kits in a litter.
- A male ferret is called a ‘hob’, while a female is called a ‘jill’. Also, a spayed female is called a ‘sprite’ and a neutered male is known as a ‘gib’. Baby ferrets, on the other hand, are called ‘kits’.
- The Colonial Navy at Massachusetts (America) has a ferret for a mascot.
- Ferrets generally live for 6 to 8 years, but can also reach the age of 10. They remain very playful throughout their lives.
- The tails for ferrets are uniformly dark in color.
- Small ferrets can fit into holes just over an inch in diameter.
- Training ferrets is very easy, especially when started from a very young age.
- Ferrets make very good pets, as they do not chew or claw on furniture and do not make much noise.
- These cute little animals steal and hide objects as a part of their natural nesting instinct.
- Ferrets sleep an average of 18-20 hours a day, which makes them very easy animals to keep as pets.
- Ferrets are small mammals.
- Ferrets are mainly nocturnal but are allowed to be kept as pets, since most nocturnal animals are not.
- Ferrets go into hiding in places/areas of high rainfall.
- Queen Victoria was very fond of ferrets, particularly the albino variety. She even gave ferrets as gifts to her near and dear ones.
- Ferrets have been known as popular household pets since ancient times. In fact, there are images of ferret-like creatures on leashes on the ancient Egyptian tombs.
- A group or a family of ferrets is called ‘Business’.
- At birth, all ferret kits have white fur.
- A new born ferret is so small that it will easily fit into a small teaspoon.
- While sleeping, ferrets like to crawl to small dark spaces.
- Ferrets have no intrinsic fear of humans.
- Baby ferrets open their eyes after 32-34 days of birth.
- These furry animals are members of the ‘mink’ family.
- Ferrets are often comically referred to as ‘Nature’s Clowns’.
- The ferret is anatomically very different from other small animals of its size, which is why it can get very hard to decipher the sex of a ferret.