Ferret Info

(Mustela putorius furo)

Domestic ferrets are small, furry mammals whose average size ranges from 1 to 5 pounds at maturity. Scientists give animals classifications to make it easier to study them. The ferret is the domesticated member of the Order Carnivora, Family Mustelidae and GenusMustela. This means that ferrets are meat-eaters and one of the members of the weasel family. A common misconception is that ferrets are rodents. This is absolutely not the case, as rodents are a completely different scientific order. Scientific classifications then break down animals into specific species. The domestic ferret is species putorius, the same as the European polecat, and many people consider the domestic ferret to be the sub-species furo which differentiates the domestic ferret from the European polecat. The ferret is therefore commonly written as Mustela putorius or Mustela putorius furo in scientific binomial nomenclatu.

Ferret Facts

  • What does the word

    • The word “ferret” means “thief” in latin.
  • What animal family do ferrets belong to?

    • Ferrets belong to the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels, polecats, minks, martens, fishers, wolverines, otters, and badgers.
  • What kind of diet do ferrets have?

    • Ferrets are “obligate” carnivores. This means they can only eat meat. They require a high protein, high fat diet.
  • What is the lifespan of a ferret?

    • Ferrets have a lifespan of 6-10 years. This varies a lot by diet and hereditary reasons.
  • How big can ferrets get?

    • Male ferrets can weigh between 2.5 and 5 lbs. Females weigh between 1-3 lbs.  Both can be between 14-22 inches long, although males tend to be a little bit larger out of the two sexes.
  • How quick can ferrets grow?

    • A ferret can reach their full size in 6 months.
  • What kind of lifestyle do ferrets have?

    • A ferret will spend most of the day sleeping. When they are awake, they are very playful and active.
  • Can ferrets live outdoors?

    • Ferrets were originally used for hunting rabbit and other small creatures. However, the domesticated ferret of today can not survive outdoors, and can be easily killed by cats or dogs.
  • How long ago were ferrets first kept as pets?

    • Ferrets were used extensively throughout Europe from the early 1300’s. Some historical documents set that date much earlier. Ferrets were not brought to the New World until the 1700’s. They were very rare as pets until the 1980’s.
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