The Ferret: appearance, behavior, care, price

The scientific name of the ferret is mustela putorius furo,  which translated means ‘stinking marten thief’. The name ‘ferret’ does not have a pleasant meaning, but behind this appearance of a ‘flatulent animal’ hides a tameable, sweet and affectionate pet.

In addition to the name, the ferret is assimilated to a thief with a bad smell because of his ‘habit’ of collecting and hiding food. The ferrets unsterilised also give off a very strong odor and not exactly pleasant.

The origins of the domestic ferret are very ancient: the process of domestication of these animals, in fact, dates back to at least two millennia ago and is to be attributed to the Greeks and Romans who began the selection of the ferret starting from a subspecies of European skunk .

In the beginning the ferret was trained to hunt the rabbit, but over the years it became more and more a pet so as to forge a completely symbiotic relationship with humans. Domestic ferrets, in fact, are unable to survive in nature and totally depend on their owner with whom they have an affectionate and complicit relationship.

The ferret: the appearance

The ferret belongs to the mustelid family (the same to which the mink, weasel, stone marten, badger, otter, marten, etc. belong), therefore it is a predator, carnivorous and with mainly nocturnal habits .

Like most mustelids, its body is elongated and tapered , the legs are short and equipped with retractable claws, the tail long and bushy and in general it demonstrates excellent physical agility. The length of a male specimen can reach up to 60 cm for 1.5-2 kg of weight , against 40 for females who weigh on average 500 g-1 kg.

The fur of the ferret is very thick and compact , mainly dark in color , lighter in the undercoat. Watch out for the teeth: Like other mustelids , the ferret has 34 well-developed and sharp teeth, especially the canines which can deliver very painful bites. On average, a domestic ferret lives 7-10 years .

The ferret: behavior

The ferret is a docile, affectionate, sociable and playful pet . A bit like the dog, the ferret gets very attached to the owner and the family , it is not at all wary of strangers or other pets and if trained to obey, it recognizes its name and runs when called; a bit like the cat, it loves sleeping in laundry baskets, plays with balls and other small objects and dirties the litter.

The only drawback is that it is particularly ‘biting’, so you have to pay close attention to children , even if it is unlikely to prove aggressive or dangerous. Even if their instinct leads them to explore and learn about new places, it is necessary to be very careful in taking them out and keeping them under observation, perhaps with the help of the leash, because they tend to get lost easily.

The ferret: nature

Where does Ferret Live?

It is good to clarify immediately that the ferret is not a cage animal . He needs a room or a fenced space dedicated to him, but in general he loves to live the house in its entirety and roam freely exploring every corner of the house. Obviously you will need a litter box with sand for the needs, and certainly will like a doghouse, falling, soft and comfortable, preferably equipped with some play with which to pass the time.

Ferret is a Nocturnal Animal

Remember that like most mustelids, the ferret has rather particular diurnal and nocturnal habits: it alternates long periods of deep sleep with phases of hyperactivity and intense play, especially in the evening hours. 

Ferret smells bad

As for the bad smell, it must be said that it depends on paranal glands that secrete a substance with an unpleasant and pungent smell when the animal is frightened or extremely excited. Rather than removing these glands – a very complex and dangerous operation – it will be sufficient to sterilize the animal.

What does Ferret Eat?

As for nutrition, it is good to remember that the ferret is a carnivore, therefore its diet must be based on raw and tender meat, especially rabbit, chicken and quail .

The ferret: price

The average price of a ferret varies from  $60 to $400 , a price that can be lowered a bit if you go to a specialized breeding. There it will also be possible to buy an example of the well-known American variety Marshall , whose cost can even exceed $700.

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