The ferret (Mustela furo ) is a small, domesticated species belonging to the family Mustelidae. The ferret is most likely a domesticated form of the wild European ferret or polecat (Mustela putorius ), evidenced by their interfertility. Other mustelids include the stoat, badger and mink.Show More
Physically, ferrets resemble other mustelids because of their long, slender bodies. Including their tail, the average length of a ferret is about 50 cm (20 in); they weigh between 0.7 and 2.0 kg (1.5 and 4.4 lb); and their fur can be black, brown, white, or a mixture of those colours. In this sexually dimorphic species, males are considerably larger than females.
Ferrets may have been domesticated since ancient times, but there is widespread disagreement because of the sparseness of written accounts and the inconsistency of those which survive. Contemporary scholarship agrees that ferrets were bred for sport, hunting rabbits in a practice known as rabbiting. In North America, the ferret has become an increasingly prominent choice of household pet, with over 5 million in the United States alone. The legality of ferret ownership varies by location. In New Zealand and some other countries, restrictions apply due to the damage done to native fauna by feral colonies of polecat–ferret hybrids. The ferret has also served as a fruitful research animal, contributing to research in neuroscience and infectious disease, especially influenza.
The domestic ferret is often confused with the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes ), a species native to North America.Show Less
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
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Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Domesticated animals are those adapted to live with humans. It is the mutual relationship between animals and humans who have an influence on their...
Domesticated ferrets are small mammals belonging to the same genus as weasels. Ferrets have a typical mustelid body-shape, being long and slender. Their fur has various colorations including brown, black, white or mixed. The males in this species are substantially larger than females.
Domesticated ferrets are found around the world in homes as pets.
Domesticated ferrets spend 14-18 hours a day asleep and are most active around the hours of dawn and dusk, meaning they are crepuscular. They are social and live happily in groups. These are territorial animals, which like to burrow, and prefer to sleep in an enclosed area. Like many other mustelids, ferrets have scent glands, the secretions from which are used in scent marking. Ferrets can recognize individuals from these anal gland secretions, as well as the gender of unfamiliar individuals. Ferrets may also use urine marking for gender and individual recognition. They can also release their anal gland secretions when startled or scared. If excited, they may perform a behavior called the "weasel war dance", characterized by frenzied sideways hops, leaps and bumping into nearby objects. Despite their common name, ferrets are not aggressive; they are joyful and playful. The playing is often accompanied by a unique soft clucking noise, commonly referred to as "dooking". When scared, ferrets will hiss; when upset, they squeak softly.
Domesticated ferrets are carnivores. Their wild ancestors’ natural diet consisted of whole small prey, including meat, organs, bones, skin, feathers, and fur. Domestic ferrets eat prepared dry foods consisting almost entirely of meat, but some owners feed pre-killed or live prey (such as mice or rabbits) to stay closer to their natural diet.
Domesticated ferrets are polygynous and males mate with many females. They usually breed from March and until August. The average gestation period is 42 days and females may have 2 or 3 litters each year. The litter size is usually between 3 and 7 kits. They are born deaf, blind and weigh about 6 to 12 grams. Baby incisors appear about 10 days after birth. The eyes and ears open when kits are 5 weeks old. They are weaned after 3 to 6 weeks and become independent at 3 months. Ferrets become reproductively mature at approximately 6 months of age.
Ferrets have been domesticated around 2,500 years ago from the European polecat. It has been claimed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate ferrets, but as no mummified remains of a ferret have yet been found, nor any hieroglyph of a ferret and no polecat now occurs wild in the area, that idea seems unlikely. Ferrets were probably used by the Romans for hunting. They are still used for hunting rabbits in some parts of the world, but increasingly they are kept only as pets.
Social animals are those animals that interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species (conspecifics), to the point of having a rec...