-What are Ferrets?-

....................................................................
[ general | diet | FAQ | myths & misconceptions | ferret stats | get "ferret for dummies" ]
....................................................................

Just what are these lovable little creatures called ferrets? Find out that and more right here!

GENERAL
The ferret is in the weasel and otter family, in the Order Carnivora. They are related to otters, weasels, polecats, stoats, black-footed ferrets, martens, badgers, and wolverines. They are not rodents! The ferrets latin name, mustela putorius furo, means spear-shaped stinky little theif. Ferrets are spear shaped. Some may consider them stinky, but others (like I) actually like their smell. I think it sort of smells like buttered pop-corn! As for thief, this is deffinately true. Ferrets love to steal little things such as keys, socks, and anything else that they can get their little mouths on! In fact, a common name for the ferret is "Bandit".

DIET
Ferrets are obligate carnivores. They cannot survive without a source of meat, whether it be from kibble or real meat. Ferrets do not get any nutritional value from vegetables or tofu. Most domesticated ferrets living in the USA consume a diet of ferret kibble and duck soup. A lot of owners also feed a variety of meat. When looking for a good kibble, make sure it has a good source of protien and fat. Learn more about picking the right food here.

FAQ
Can ferrets see colors?: Ferrets see only in red and blue. They have limited sight.

Do ferrets make good pets for children?: It depends on the child. Ferrets do require a lot of maintenence and love. See "my schedule" to learn more. Ferrets are perfectly fine to be around children or babies.

Will my ferret get along with other pets?: It depends on the ferret. Some ferrets get along with dogs and cats. Ferrets should not come in contact with small rodents, birds, snakes, reptiles, and other various animals.

Can I own ferrets in an apartment?: Yes, if the apartment allows ferrets. Ferrets actually do good in apartments because it is just the right amount of space for them.

Do ferrets like to cuddle?: Yes and no. Every ferret is different. Some love to cuddle, and others want nothing to do with it.

How much do ferrets cost?: The ferrets itself ranges in price. I've seen some for $50 and I've also seen some for $400. You will just have to look around and see how much they cost in your town.

Can you train ferrets?: Yes. They are just like any other trainable animal. It just takes practice, practice, practice.

Do I have to take ferrets for walks?: No. Although some ferrets will love an occasional walk (in a harness).

Do ferrets live in a cage?: Yes and No. They are not like small rodents and can just thrive in a cage without ever being taken out. Although most owners cage their ferrets when they are not home, some just let them stay out in a ferret-proofed room.

MYTHS & MISCONCEPTIONS
Ferret are rodents: No! The ferret is in the order Carnivora. A lot of carnivores eat rodents! Plus, they are much cuter!

Ferets are vicious biters: I'm not going to say that they never bite, because that is not true. Ferrets may bite for many reasons. Just like puppies some young ferrets may nip at their owners. With proper care these young ferrets can quickly be taught not to bite their owner. Some ferrets are more tempermental than others and will bite. The more love you give the more your going to receive. Again, with proper care these biting habits can easily be taken care of. Lastly, there are some ferrets nicknamed "Toe Sharks or Ankle biters" that just love to bite the foot. My ferret Duncan likes to do this. I just think it's funny and don't see it as a problem at all. It's what being a ferret owner is all about, taking everything as a joke.

Ferrets are dangerous, wild animals: No. Ferrets have been domesticated for years, and are very loving creatures. The most dangerous that a ferret can be is when one passes away, which will break up your heart.

FERRET STATS

  • Life Span: The average life span of a ferret is between 6-8 years, although some ferrets live up to 12 years old!
  • Full Grown: 1 year old.
  • Old Ferret: 4 or 5 years old.
  • Mature Weight: (Female) 3/4 of a pound-2 1/2 pounds (Male Nuetered) 2-3 1/2 pounds (Male Unaltered) up to 6 pounds.
  • Length: (female without tail) 13-14 inches long (male without tail) 15-16 inches long. The tail is 3-4 inches long.
  • Sleeping Time: Healthy ferrets will sleep 18-20 hours a day.
  • Claws: nonretractable.
  • Eyesight: poor (the only colors they see are red and blue).
  • Sense of Smell: much more superior than the human sense smell.
  • Hearing: much more superior than the human sense of hearing.
  • State at Birth: Deaf, Naked, Blind, and Dependent.
  • Domesticated: Yes.

GET "FERRETS FOR DUMMIES"
"Ferrets for Dummies", by Kim Schilling is by far the best refrence book for any ferret owner! Every ferret owner including myself swears by this book. If you plan to get a ferret or 2 or you already have a ferret or 2 run, (don't walk) to a bookstore and pick up a copy now! You can also purchase this book at amazon.com or sometimes Petco carries Ferrets for Dummies.