Ferrets are, and always have been, one of my favourite critters in existence. When I was younger, I desperately wanted to own one as a pet, and I seriously looked into the matter, you know, with my 14-year-old intelligence and all. Upon reading up on ferrets and what they require if they’re a pet, I discovered that their pens are huge, and even though I begged my mother with all of my might, she simply wouldn’t budge on the matter of converting our basement into a ferret enclosure.
Looking back, bless my mother and her heart for enduring the length of my ferret fort speech and all of my grand plans.
My love for these furry guys continues to prevail to this day, and I thought I would share some joy with all of you by sharing some facts about them with you. This information comes from fda.gov.
- “Ferrets belong to the weasel family (Mustelidae), which includes polecats, stoats, and ermines. Domesticated ferrets most likely descend from the European polecat.
- Ferrets were domesticated about 2,500 years ago. Historically, ferrets were used to hunt rabbits and rodents. Their lean bodies and curious nature make ferrets naturals at getting down holes to chase rodents and rabbits out of burrows. This is the origin of the expression ‘ferret out.’
- From 1860 to the start of World War II, ferrets were widely used in the American West to protect grain stores from rodents. They gained popularity as pets in the 1980s and 90s.
- The name ‘ferret’ is derived from the Latin word furittus, meaning ‘little thief.’ This name likely refers to the common ferret habit of secreting away small items.
- A ferret’s normal heart rate is 200 to 250 beats per minute.
- The average lifespan of a domestic ferret is eight years.
- Ferrets are most active at dawn and dusk.
- An intact female ferret is a jill, and a spayed female is a sprite. An intact male is a hob, and a neutered male is a gib. Baby ferrets (less than 1 year) are kits. A group of ferrets is a business or fesnyng (fez-ning).
- All kits are born with white fur and get their approximate adult color at 3 weeks of age,” the web page explains.
Let’s hear it for the ferrets, my friends.