Facts About Ferrets
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
Ferrets are the third most popular pet in the US after dogs and cats.
Despite their family relation to weasels, skunks and badgers, ferrets are clean, quiet creatures, easy to take care of and fun to play with. Proper spaying or neutering adds years to their lives and descenting or spraying with a product made for ferrets removes the animal’s musky odor that most owners say isn’t that noticeable anyway. If you’re considering adopting one as a pet, here are some facts about ferrets to help you make the decision.
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10. Long history
While they seem to be a recently popular pet, ferrets have actually been domesticated for 2500 years. Some speculate they were around even earlier as pictures of animals on leashes that strongly resemble ferrets have been found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.
Ferrets are crepuscular, which means they’re most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. Otherwise, they sleep up to 20 hours a day.
8. By any other name
You can call them ferrets if you haven’t been properly introduced. Otherwise, an unspayed female ferret is called a “jill” and a spayed female is called a “sprite.” On the other side, a neutered male is a “gib” and an unneutered one is a “hob.” Lucky baby ferrets who aren’t yet old enough for the surgery are “kits.”
To tell the sex of a ferret, feel for the bottom of the ribcage. If it’s a male, it will have a small opening halfway between this point and the tail. Females have an opening right below the anal opening.
6. The skinny
Depending on its size, a ferret can crawl through a hole or tunnel as small as an inch in diameter.
The average lifespan of a ferret is 5 to 7 years, but with good health care and feeding some can reach 10. The record is about 15 years.
4. Hunting companion
British hunters chasing rabbits and other small prey used trained ferrets to flush them out of their burrows – a technique that is still practiced today.
3. Coat color
All ferret babies are born white, deaf and with their eyes closed. Their natural coloring starts coming in at about three weeks. Their eyes open and they begin to hear in about 34 days.
2. Health stats
A ferret’s heart beats at a very speedy 200 to 250 beats per minute. Their body temperature should be around 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit and they take 33 to 36 breaths per minute.
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Ferret comes from the Latin word “furonem” which means thief. Ferret owners find this fact out quickly as they love to steal small objects and hide them in their cages.
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