Do you have a pet ferret? If so, you’re certainly not alone. There are about 5-7 million pet ferrets in the U.S. As your Marion, IA area vet, I list some cute facts about these fun little pets below.
Most of the world’s celebrity pets are dogs and cats, with the occasional horse or dolphin. However, a few ferrets have made it into the public eye. At the top of the list are Kodo and Podo, who starred in 1980’s fantasy film Beastmaster . Another adorable ferret had a starring role in Jennifer Aniston’s rom-com Along Came Polly.
Don’t let those cute faces fool you: these little guys are notorious for having sticky paws. In fact, the very word ‘ferret’ means ‘little thief’ in Latin. As it turns out, ferrets have been on the wrong side of the law for centuries. Pickpockets used to train them as ‘assistants.’
Ferrets don’t always fall into a life of crime. Some have been used to help run wires through pipes. Genius!
None of Your Business
Did you know that a group of ferrets is called a business? (You might also use words like adorable and entertaining .)
Ferret Family Tree
Ferrets belong to the weasel family, which is formally known as mustelids . Aside from the weasel itself, some of ferrets’ other close kin are polecats, sables, otters, minks, and fishers.
Ferrets can learn to do much more than lift the occasional wallet. They can also be litterbox trained!
Ferrets have been cracking us up for quite a long time. These little guys first pop up in a text from Aristotle that was written around 350 BCE. They may even have been around in ancient Egypt, though that hasn’t been officially proven yet. However, they’ve only recently become popular as pets here in the U.S.
Wild ferrets have shown some pretty interesting characteristics. They’ve been observed working with falcons, and retrieving prey for them. They also sometimes undulate in a way that can actually entrance their prey. (They may or may not have learned this from cobras.) Pet ferrets also dance: they sometimes puff out their tails and sway back and forth when they feel happy. If your little buddy is dancing, pat yourself on the back!
Please contact me, your Marion, IA area veterinarian, with questions or concerns about ferret care. I’m here for you!