Hello our dear readers. If earlier these animals seemed wild – today you can see people on the street more and more often, which lead not a dog, but a ferret on a leash. However, don’t be fooled by their cute little face. Before starting a ferret, you need to find out what kind of animal it is, what habits it has, what demands it makes, etc. And today we decided to better acquaint you with these creatures. In this article, we have collected the most interesting facts about ferrets.
Its name in Russian comes from the ancient Proto-Slavic form “d’khor”. This form comes from the verb “dyhnuti”, which translates as “smelly”, “emitting a stench.” Therefore, in the Slavic languages, this animal received its name from the unpleasant odor exuded.
Ferrets are mammals belonging to the marten family. In addition to the ferrets themselves, this family includes the European mink, weasel, and ermine.
Most likely, they were first tamed in ancient Greece, about 2500 years ago. Moreover, they were used not as pets, but as assistants during the hunt for rats and rabbits. Thanks to their flexible bodies, they easily penetrated holes and drove out the animals hiding there.
At first glance, ferrets and weasels are practically the same. But this is not the case. Weasels have a slightly larger head than their relatives. Weasels also have darker shades of coat. Ferrets have a light undercoat under the neck that the weasel does not have.
Unfortunately, nature has disposed in such a way that they have very poor eyesight. But they more than compensate for this with their excellent sense of smell and keen hearing.
Like cats, they sleep a lot. On average, they sleep about 16-18 hours a day. The most active hours of their day are usually at dawn and dusk. But if this animal lives with a person, then it most often adapts and adjusts to the schedule of people.
They are predatory animals. In their natural environment, they feed on what they can catch, that is, smaller animals. The basis of the diet of wild ferrets is vole mice and shrews. However, they also do not disdain lizards, frogs and newts.
Ferrets living near villages often steal chickens, geese or their eggs from chicken coops.
They have a fairly large jaw with 36 teeth. The skin is thick. Like skunks, the anus has glands through which the animal secretes a foul-smelling liquid. At the same time, the animal uses these glands only if it is experiencing pain or fear.
They are pretty quiet animals. But, if they need to express themselves, they can use several types of sounds. Ferrets giggle when they are happy, excited, or upset. They hiss when angry and can shriek when threatened or injured.
There is a competition – a ferret-in-pants. This is a competition during which live animals are launched into the trousers of the participant. The winner is the one who keeps the animal in his pants the longest. Although most people can only survive for a few minutes (the animal bites when trying to get out of its pants), in 2010, Frank Bartlett and Christine Farnsworth were able to set the record by keeping a ferret in their pants for 5 hours and 30 minutes.
There are only a few populations of wild ferrets in the world. The largest population lives in New Zealand. They were brought there from the UK from 1879 to 1883 to help control the rabbits that were destroying crops on a massive scale. When the rabbit population declined, wild ferrets began to attack rural chicken coops and steal chickens and eggs from there.
When they are excited, they perform what is called a “battle dance”. It is a series of jumps up, sideways and forward colliding with nearby objects. This battle dance is not a sign of aggression, but an invitation to “play”.
The average lifespan of this pet is about 6-10 years. However, with proper care and nutrition, life expectancy can be extended up to 15 years.
Their babies are born deaf and blind. They begin to hear and see approximately 30-35 days after birth.
It should also be noted that newborns are incredibly small and fit in a teaspoon.
These are the only members of the affectionate family that people have tamed and which have become incredibly popular pets.
They get along best with cats. Dogs should be monitored as some hunting dogs may perceive small ferrets as prey.
They should not be housed in the same cage as rodents, as ferrets may view them as food. There is a chance that natural instincts will prevail, and the rodent will become prey. Ferrets and birds are also not the best pair, as the latter, like rodents, can be considered prey.
They have a very short colon. The colon of these animals is only about 5% of the total length of the gastrointestinal tract. For example, if we talk about cats or dogs, then their colon is about 20% of the total length of the gastrointestinal tract. Because of this, in a ferret, swallowed food passes through the entire digestive tract in just 3-4 hours. Due to such a fast rate of passage of food, the body does not have time to absorb all the nutrients from food. Therefore, in order for the animal to receive the required amount of nutrients, it is necessary to feed it with a balanced diet: at least 80% of food of animal origin and only 20% of plant food.
The typical unpleasant odor emanating from this animal is caused by the sebaceous glands located throughout the body, not the fetid glands located near the anus, as many think.
That’s all for us, dear readers. Thank you for choosing our site to obtain the necessary information.