The ferret is a domesticated mammal that belongs to the carnivorous Mustelidae family of animals, along with otters, badgers, skunks and weasels. The ferret is a very close relative of the polecat. It is likely that ferrets were first domesticated thousands of years ago, as they were commonly used for rabbit or rat catching. Although ferrets are still used for rodent catching today, they are increasingly kept simply as pets.
A pet ferret that is properly fed and cared for can live for up to 12 years. The average length of a ferret is 20 inches, including a five-inch tail, although males are significantly larger than females. They sleep for around 14 to 18 hours a day and are most active around dawn and dusk.
Ferrets are very energetic and make very entertaining pets. A couple of common myths are that ferrets give a nasty bite (if properly handled, ferrets shouldn't bite at all) and are very smelly (like a skunk, they can secrete odour via their anal glands when scared) but this isn't necessarily the case as long as they are handled well and neutered at a young age.
Ferrets are quite similar to cats in that they bond very closely with their owners and will really enjoy a cuddle. Provided that you socialise your ferret properly and provide him with the right care and environment, he will make a lovely family pet.
Domestic ferrets come in a variety of different colours including:
Ferrets can live for up to 12 years, are you sure you are fully committed to caring for a ferret for that amount of time?
A ferret needs plenty of space to run about and climb as they are very active and like to charge around.
Ferrets should be kept in pairs or ideally small groups of three or four. They love to have another ferret who they can play with and cuddle up to for a sleep.
Have you considered the costs involved in owning a ferret? Setting up suitable accommodation for your ferret can cost hundreds of pounds, then there's neutering costs, food, annual vaccinations, flea treatment, vet check-ups, pet insurance, money for purchasing new toys and the cost for microchipping too.
Ferrets benefit from regular walks out on the lead so they can stretch their legs and run about. They also need daily health checks and cleaning out. That's a big time commitment.