Q. What is a ferret?
A. A ferret (Mustelo Putorius Furo) is of the species Muslidae which includes Stoats, Weasels, Polecats, Otters, Badgers, Mink and more.
Q. Are ferrets wild?
A. No, they have been domesticated for over 2000 years and do not live in the wild.
Q. Where do they come from?
A. The jury is still out on this one, it is thought that they were brought to this country by the Romans possibly a cross between our native Polecat, European Polecat and Steppe Polecat.
Q. Are they Rodents?
A. No ‘Ro’ comes from the Latin to gnaw ferrets don’t need to do this.
Q. How long do they live?
A. 6 to 8 years, but it is not unusual for ferrets to get to 10+
Q. What do you call a group of ferrets?
A. A ‘Business’
Q. What do you call male and female ferrets?
A. A male is called a Hob and a female a Jill.
(Note. a castrated Hob is known as a Hobble & a Vasectomised Hob is a Hobblet)
Q. What are the young called?
Q. How long is the gestation period for ferrets?
A. 42 – 44 days but 42 is average.
Q. How many Kits are born?
A. A litter is usually about 8 kits but can be bigger.
Q. Do they make good pets?
A. Yes they do, ferrets are very playful. It is said they never grow up. Ferrets will sleep up to 18 hours per day so ideal if you’re out for the day or at work.
Q. Do they bite?
A. Any animal will bite if threatened or alarmed; with ferrets it’s normally the result of not being handled from a young age.
Q. Do they smell?
A. All ferrets have a slight musky smell, males in season do smell and this can be reduced by spaying.
Q. Can my ferret live in the house?
A. Yes, some owners have them running free, it pays though to have your house ferret proofed as they have a tendency to get into the most smallest of places. The most common death with ferrets running free is caused by them being crushed behind rocking/motorised chairs.
Q. Do I need a cage?
A. See ferret housing here.
Q. Can I have just one ferret?
A. Unlike its solitary Polecat cousin the ferret is a very social animal it likes to be with others. At the Wessex Ferret Club we encourage a minimum of two ferrets.
Q. Can I have boys and girls?
A. Yes provided they are suitably neutered.
Q. Do ferrets mix?
A. Generally they all get along but places in the hierarchy need to be sorted. Entire Hobs when neutered will calm down, Jill’s can be difficult. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t until you try it out you don’t know.
Q. Where can I get a ferret from?
A. It is not advisable to buy a ferret from a man in the pub or at a market, you need to know where it came from, its history. Buying ferrets this way encourages an unwanted industry we see far too many unwanted ferrets abandoned.
Any good ferret club or organisation will usually have ferrets to rehome. They should also have a rehoming policy that ensures any ferret is going to a good home and will also provide continued support and advice. Check the internet in your area for information.
Q. What about vetinary treatment?
A. Unfortunately vet treatment for any animal can be expensive luckily some companies offer insurance to ward off some of those heavy bills. it is important that you try and find a vet that is experienced with ferrets’, we call ferret friendly.
Q. Do ferrets suffer from the cold?
A. Extreme low temperatures can be a problem but ferrets will cuddle together and provided you’ve supplied plenty of warm bedding it shouldn’t be a problem.
Q. What about heat?
A. This can be more problematic as ferrets do not have sweat glands they will often pant when this happens it’s normally a sign the animal is in distress and needs urgent attention. To counter heat stroke in hot conditions it’s essential that the animals are kept in the shade and provided with plenty of water. Cage fans are available a do give a little cool air.
Note: Spraying water on a ferret can have the effect of trapping heat in.