National Ferret Day!

by Mary Grace

Today is National Ferret Day! The ferret is in the mustelid family, like skunks and weasels, and are the type of mustelid most commonly kept as a pet. Here are a few other fun and interesting ferret facts:

-They are known for being playful, inquisitive pets that enjoy chasing, hiding, and stealing things.

-When they are excited, they do what is known as the “weasel war dance” in which they jump around with a lot of sideways hops. They also make a sound known as “dooking” when happy as well!

-An intact male ferret is called a hob, and a male ferret that has been fully neutered is called a gib while one that has simply had a vasectomy is called a hoblet. Female ferrets are called jills when intact, sprites when spayed. Baby ferrets are called kits, and a group of ferrets is a “business” or “busyness”

-If a female ferret is not spayed, then she will be in heat for six months out of the year, and if she does not mate with a male, she may in fact die! This is due to having too many hormones in her system for too long, causing a progressive depression in bone marrow resulting in an oft-fatal condition called aplastic anemia. Get your girls fixed!

-Neutering males can also help with their odor.

-Like deer and chinchillas, they are crepuscular, meaning most active at dawn and dusk.

-There are many cities, counties, and states that do not allow ferrets to be kept as pets; always check the law in your area before you get one.

-There is a sport known as ‘ferret-legging” in which contestants (usually male) drop ferrets into their pants and see how long they can endure the biting and clawing. Yes, this is real; there are even officially held contests.

-Ferrets are carnivores. In the wild, they hunt other animals, such as rabbits and mice. In captivity, they are usually fed raw meaty bones, ferret food or kitten food, and even live prey such as chickens!

-Pet ferrets generally live to about eight years old, though with high-quality care and good luck, some can make it even longer.

-Generally speaking, they should not be allowed around other pets. They will try to kill smaller ones (like hamsters) while larger ones (cats, dogs) will probably hurt them (even if they don’t mean to).

-Ferrets have been used by humans for hundreds of years to hunt rabbits. In 1390, there was a law in England proclaiming that only the wealthy could do this.

Ferrets can be wonderful companions, and the Internet is filled with adorable pictures and videos of them being cute, wacky little “carpet sharks” (as their fans commonly call them). However, like any other animal, they are living beings, and should only be taken into your home if you know for sure that you are prepared to keep one.