Ferret Facts

Ferret Facts
Ferret is domesticated variety of European polecat. This small mammal belongs to the weasel family. Genetic evidences suggest that ferret has been domesticated 2500 years ago with the goal to facilitate hunting of rabbits. Even though this practice is obsolete in most parts of the world, ferrets are still very popular and often used for vermin control and in the biomedical researches all over the world. Aside from that, ferrets are frequently kept as pets (especially for the past 50 years). They are third most popular type of pets (after cats and dogs) in the USA.
Interesting Ferret Facts:
Ferret can reach 20 inches in length and 1.5 to 4 pounds of weight. Males are much larger than females.
Ferret has short coat that can be pure white or combination of brown, black and white fur.
Ferret has razor-sharp teeth, long, slender body, short legs and tail of medium-length.
Ferrets were used to facilitate spreading of wires in the airplanes, laying of cables in tunnels and wiring of the Large Hadron Collider because of their ability to easily pass through narrow passages.
Scientific name of ferret, "Mustela putorius furo", means "smelly little thief" because of the musky smell produced in the anal glands and natural instinct to steal and hide various things.
Ferret is active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular animal). It sleeps 14 to 18 hours per day.
Ferret have poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell and hearing.
Ferret is a carnivore. Its diet is based on small mammals, such as rabbits and rodents.
Ferret has been introduced to New Zealand during the 19th century to reduce population of rabbits. Unfortunately, ferrets soon switched to the ground nesting birds and they still pose significant threat for the survival of many native species of birds.
Ferret is social creature. It lives in family groups called "business". Groups of ferrets are territorial. They use scent glands to mark their territory and recognize members of the same group.
Ferret performs "weasel war dance" when it is excited. It leaps into the air and sideways and collides with nearby objects. This behavior is usually accompanied with clucking noise and it represents invitation for play.
Mating season of ferrets takes place from December to August. Aside with members of their own species, ferrets can mate with polecats and European minks.
Pregnancy lasts 42 days and ends with 3 to 7 babies (kits). Female can produce 2 to 3 litters per year.
Babies are white colored and very small at birth. They depend on the mother's milk until the age of 3 to 6 weeks. At the age of 3 months, young ferrets are ready for the independent life. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 months.
Ferret can survive 7 to 10 years in the captivity.

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