With their cute faces, long bodies and boundless joy, it's no wonder ferrets are one of the most popular pets in the United States. In fact, they're right behind dogs and cats regarding popularity. Their gentle, playful temperaments make them an ideal pet for children, too. After reading these fun facts, you'll see why they're loved so much.
Ferrets belong to the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels, minks, badgers, skunks, and otters. Like skunks, a ferret will emit an odorous smell to ward off threats. However, domesticated ferrets are often de-scented when they're spayed or neutered to prevent smelly accidents.
A male ferret is called a "hob," and a female ferret is called a "jill." A spayed female is called a "sprite," and a neutered male is called a "gib." Wild ferrets breed between March and April. A pregnant jill carries her kits for just 35 to 45 days. Ferrets birth litters of one to six kits. The kits only stay with their mother for about 42 days before becoming independent.
Ferrets are strict carnivores and eat everything they can catch, from rodents and frogs to eggs and birds. However, domesticated ferrets eat factory-made ferret chow. Ferrets generally become fixated on their favorite ferret chow and will refuse to try other diets.
A ferret will sleep up to 18 hours per day, but they need at least four hours of socialization outside their cages. Ferrets are playful animals that love attention. When a ferret is excited, it makes soft chattering vocalizations. This is called "dooking." An excited ferret will also bounce and hop around in a joyful dance affectionately coined the "weasel war dance." However, these dances are not aggressive. They are invitations to play.
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