Ferrets are very interesting and adorable creatures, but how much do we really know about them? As someone who has worked with ferrets in the past, it is easy to say that these long noodle-like creatures are incredibly mischievous as well. They are also very high maintenance and they require a lot of attention. This is definitely one animal that you should do research on before making that kind of commitment. Go ahead and sit back, relax, and even bring a snack; you are about to read some wonderful and incredible facts on our sneaky little friend, the ferret!
One of the biggest questions that I am asked on a regular basis is if ferrets smell bad. The short answer to this question is yes, but in all reality ferrets just have a musty odor to them. Just in case you are wondering, yes their smell can and will transfer to your clothes and even to your hair. Since ferrets are carnivores, when they use the bathroom (number two especially) it does smell fairly bad. This is taken care of by simply cleaning out their litter pan more frequently. You may want to invest in some scented candles and incense as well.
Ferrets do not live naturally in the wild, they are actually a completely domestic species! The only ferret that is naturally wild is the black-footed ferret which is extremely endangered and can be found in North America. Now the Latin name for our domestic friends is Mustela Putorius Furo which when translated vaguely means “stinky little thief“. This has to be one of the most accurate names for any animal that I have encountered yet. Now if these adorable little creatures are not found out in the wild, how did they come to be? It turns out that ferrets are related to the polecat which are much more solitary creatures versus ferrets.
Ferrets are also very intelligent being able to learn how to walk on a leash and to even use a litter tray. However, ferrets are also very stubborn and do not always listen. Even if ferrets are sometimes stubborn, all of the frustration they may bring seems to be forgotten when they start to perform a “weasel war dance“ which shows excitement and playfulness. Now a group of ferrets is called business; can you just picture a bunch of cute fuzzy noodles jumping around? These guys also need daily exercise due to all of their built-up energy. This also means that ferrets sleep a lot, anywhere on average from 14 to 18 hours a day.
Ferrets are built with long slender bodies that can reach up to 20 inches in length including their tail. On average ferrets weigh around one and a half to 4 pounds, but males are usually larger than females. These crepuscular animals, (being most active at dawn and at dusk), have an average lifespan of 6 to 10 years. Not only are these fascinating and intelligent creatures high maintenance, but they can become a very expensive lifelong commitment. Once again, this is one animal to research and make sure you have space and time before bringing one or more into your home.
While it is hard to know for certain, it is believed that ferrets have been domesticated for about 2,500 years. Ferrets were initially bred for hunting down rabbits, mice, and rats back in the day. Nowadays you can no longer breed ferrets unless you have the proper documents to do so because they can easily become an invasive species. This very problem actually occurred in New Zealand after a few ferrets were released into the wild to help control the rabbit population. Due to this possibility reoccurring, ferrets are now sold to the public desexed. An unneutered male is called a hob and an unspayed female is known as a Jill; neutered males are called gibs while a spayed female is referred to as a sprite.
Ferrets also reproduce rather quickly. Once a ferret becomes sexually mature at six months of age, they can find a mate. On average, female ferrets go through a gestation period of 42 days and have anywhere from 3 to 7 kits at a single time. Female ferrets can have anywhere from 2 to 3 litters in a year’s time. Baby ferrets or kits, grow up rather quickly. Kits are usually weaned from their mother’s milk after 3 to 6 weeks and become completely independent at three months of age.
Ferrets or wondrous creatures that constantly make us ask questions from breeding like wildfire to hunting down rabbits to help control the population, we still have so much to learn about these carnivorous critters. What did you already know about ferrets and what did you learn today? Hopefully, our little educational piece has sparked your interest and you left our page with more information then you came here with!