There's no doubt whatsoever that ferrets are some of the most amusing creatures to keep as pets. They are inquisitive, playful and they love all sorts of interaction with their owners, which is why they are such nice animals to have around the home. The more ferrets are handled, especially at a young age, the more they love human contact.
Below are a few fun facts about ferrets as well as some of the funny things they get up to which you may not already know about!
- Ancestors of domestic ferrets were found in Europe, Asia as well as North Africa
- Ferrets were domesticated over 2000 years ago
- The black-footed ferret is native to North America where they are found on the Great north plains
- Ferrets are mammals and are related to weasels
- They come from the family called Mustelidae, genus Mustela and species M.putorius
- Ferrets are carnivores and must eat meat to survive
- Male ferrets are larger than females
- Ferrets like to sleep a lot and spend most of the time in a deep sleep only really waking up as the sun goes down
- Ferrets can measure anything from 14 inches to 24 inches long – that's including their tails
- They have unusual mask like face markings and their coats are pale yellow, brown or white
- White ferrets have red eyes
- Ferrets weigh anything from 1lb to 5.5lbs (500g to 2.5kg)
- The natural lifespan of a ferret is anything from 5 to 10 years
- Their natural habitat are grasslands
- Ferrets are very social creatures, they're gregarious and love company
- Ferrets are very easy to train
- Working ferrets are trained to drive other animals like rats and rabbits out of their holes
- A male ferret is called a Hob
- A female ferret is called a Jill
- Babies are referred to as Kits
- A group of ferrets is known as a “business”
- Ferrets were introduced into America in the 17th century
- Ferrets, like skunks can release a nasty smell, although this is not so bad as a skunk!
Ferrets can be fussy little eaters and there are many foods owners should not offer their pets to avoid them getting ill. Domesticated house ferrets like to hide their food in little caches that you may find when you move a piece of furniture or lift a cushion on a sofa or armchair. In the wild, ferrets will eat small animals and they are very good predators with tremendous hunting skills.
Here are some more fun and interesting facts about ferrets
- In the 1970s a sport called “ferret legging” was all the rage in Yorkshire. Men took part in competitions to see who could keep these poor creatures down their trousers for the longest. The men were not allowed to be drunk and the ferrets used in the sport had to have all their teeth!
- When ferrets are asleep, they can give the impression of being lifeless, even dead. This is known as “ferret dead sleep” and no matter what owners do to wake their pets up – nothing seems to work which if you don't know about it can be very worrying! When ferrets go to sleep, they go into a very, very deep sleep so they can recuperate from all the excitement of their waking, playful hours. Ferrets soon wake up when they are good and ready, so they can start playing again!
- Ferrets have a habit of digging their food out of their bowls which many owners find a little mystifying! The reason they do is because by nature these funny little creatures love to burrow. Ferrets are in fact, born to dig so if you want to see them have a lot of fun, offer your pet a bowl full of delicious ferret pellets and watch them go to town!
- Ferrets love to nip their owners toes and the reason they do this is to grab your attention so you'll play with them. Ferrets have very thick skin which means when they do this to each other, it's not painful at all. However, humans don't have such thick skin, so occasionally a ferret nip can hurt! The best way to try and prevent your pet from doing this is to tell them “NO” and offer them a ferret chew straight away instead!
- Ferrets can make some strange noises, one of which sounds like they are “hissing”. This noise means they are angry or scared. If you adopt a new ferret and they hiss at you, your new furry friend is giving you a fair warning! If you do need to touch your pet, make sure you wear a good strong pair of gloves to avoid being bitten and then gradually make friends with them – in their own time, not yours!
- House ferrets can be naughty, little thieves! You may find lots of things go missing if you keep a house ferret or two in your home. Ferrets by nature are real hoarders and they love to steal things which they can hide in a secret place! They will steal jewellery, keys and anything other items they can carry!
- Ferrets have a habit of wagging their tails and they do, it means they are happy or excited. Owners who experience this behaviour should feel very privileged because it is not as common with ferrets as it is with dogs!
- Ferrets have a habit of rubbing their bottoms along the floor when they have used their litter box. This is their way of telling the world they were there!
- Ferrets make some amusing clucking sounds when they are happy or excited. Sometimes this can sound as if they are chuckling which is often referred to as “dooking”.
- When ferrets are frightened or if they feel threatened at all, they will puff out their tails just like a cat does!
- Sometimes, house ferrets can be seen to run into walls and they do this simply because often they lose all coordination. In fact, they can be quite clumsy little critters and to top this, they don't have very good eyesight!
- People who keep house ferrets may also see them run backwards into a corner with their tails puffed out! This behaviour usually occurs when something has spooked them. The other reason they may do this is to go to the toilet – although they will not puff out their tails when it's for this reason
Unlike other domestic pets like rabbits or guinea pigs which are herbivores, ferrets need to practice their hunting skills so they stay happy and healthy. This is why it's so important to interact with a pet ferret as often as you can. Ferrets are great fun and when they are awake, can certainly bring a lot of laughter into a home with their crazy little antics!