A domestic ferret "resting" momentarily.Ferrets sleeping in a pile
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Ferret

In general use, a ferret is a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo), a creature first bred from the wild European polecat or steppe polecat at least 2,500 years ago. more...

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Several other small, elongated carnivorous mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae also have the word "ferret" in their common names, including the endangered black-footed ferret.

History

No one knows exactly when ferrets were first domesticated, but ferret remains have been dated to 1500 BCE. Some say the ancient Egyptians had ferrets, but it is more likely that Europeans visiting Egypt saw cats and thought using a small carnivore to protect grain stores was a great idea.

The ferret was probably bred from the European Polecat (Mustela putorius), though it is also possible that ferrets come from the steppe polecat (Mustela eversmanni) or some hybridization thereof. All three species have unique similarities and differences.

Ferreting

For hundreds of years, the main use of ferrets was for hunting, or ferreting. With their long, lean build and curious nature, ferrets are very well equipped for getting down holes and chasing rodents and rabbits out of their burrows. They are still used for hunting in some countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, where rabbits are considered a plague species and the combination of a few small nets and a ferret or two remains very effective despite technological advances. However, the practice is illegal in several countries, where it is feared that ferreting could unbalance the ecology.

Caesar Augustus sent ferrets (named 'viverrae' by Plinius) to the Balearic Islands to control the rabbit plagues in 6 B.C.

Ferrets were first brought to the New World in the 17th century and were used extensively from 1860 until the start of World War II to protect grain stores in the American West. They first became popular as pets in the mid-1970s, chiefly thanks to Dr. Wendy Winstead, a veterinarian and former folk singer who sold ferrets to a number of celebrities and made many TV appearances with her personal ferrets.

Ferrets as pets

In many ways, ferrets act like kittens that never grow up. They have energy, curiosity, and potential for chaos all their lives, and are always keenly aware of their surroundings. However, they are far more people-oriented than cats, and most actively elicit play with their owners.

As a pet, ferrets rank third in the U.S., behind dogs and cats. Ferrets are sometimes accused of being dangerous to small children, but this claim is false -- proportionally, ferrets do much less harm to children than dogs or cats. Their lifespan can vary widely, but most often falls between six and eight years.

Dangers to ferrets

It has been suggested that ferrets were bred for curiosity; whether this is true or not, their curiosity often exceeds their common sense. Ferrets are very good at getting into holes in walls, cupboards, or behind household appliances, where they can be injured or killed by electrical wiring, fans, and other dangerous items. Many enjoy chewing items made of soft rubber, foam, or sponge, which present the risk of intestinal blockage and death if ingested. Screen doors are no match for a ferret's claws, and dryer vents often become escape routes. Fold-out sofas and recliners are particularly dangerous, since ferrets will often climb inside the springs and then be squashed to death once the chair is put into a reclined position.

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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New Ferret Cage Pet Home Chinchilla Rabbit Hamster Guinea Rat Metal House PurpleNew Ferret Cage Pet Home Chinchilla Rabbit Hamster Guinea Rat Metal House Purple $55.50 Hamster Ferret Rats Mice Hedgehog Chinchilla Pet Exercise 10-inch Clear BallHamster Ferret Rats Mice Hedgehog Chinchilla Pet Exercise 10-inch Clear Ball $24.99
8 In 1 Pet Products Ferretone Skin & Coat Supplement, 8-ounce8 In 1 Pet Products Ferretone Skin & Coat Supplement, 8-ounce $9.74 Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage Black HammertonePrevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage Black Hammertone $137.56
Kaytee Simple Sleeper Cozy HammockKaytee Simple Sleeper Cozy Hammock $11.40 Hamster Rat Hedgehog Chinchilla Ferret Carrier Packet Bag Sleeping Hanging BagHamster Rat Hedgehog Chinchilla Ferret Carrier Packet Bag Sleeping Hanging Bag $0.01
Ferret "Scrappy Blanky" Polar Fleece Blanket 20"x16"Ferret "Scrappy Blanky" Polar Fleece Blanket 20"x16" $13.99 Hamilton Ferret Harness and Lead - Dark GreenHamilton Ferret Harness and Lead - Dark Green $7.99
8-In-1 Pet Products FerretVite Vitamin Paste Vitamin Supplement - 4.25 oz./120 g8-In-1 Pet Products FerretVite Vitamin Paste Vitamin Supplement - 4.25 oz./120 g $7.20 Ferret Bandana - Girl BugsFerret Bandana - Girl Bugs $3.99
Ferret Bandana - Colorful DinosaursFerret Bandana - Colorful Dinosaurs $3.99 8 In 1 Ferretsheen 2-in-1 Deodorizing Shampoo, 10-ounce8 In 1 Ferretsheen 2-in-1 Deodorizing Shampoo, 10-ounce $9.92
Hamilton Ferret Harness and Lead Easy Clasp SystemHamilton Ferret Harness and Lead Easy Clasp System $7.99 Yml Dwarf Hamster, Mice Cage with Color Accessories, Pink - H1812PkYml Dwarf Hamster, Mice Cage with Color Accessories, Pink - H1812Pk $49.99
Hamilton Ferret Harness and Lead - Jungle ColorHamilton Ferret Harness and Lead - Jungle Color $8.99 Marshall Bandits Ferret Treat, 3-Ounce, BananaMarshall Bandits Ferret Treat, 3-Ounce, Banana $4.53
MidWest Homes for Pets Ferret/Critter Nation Cover, New, Free ShippingMidWest Homes for Pets Ferret/Critter Nation Cover, New, Free Shipping $31.93 Living World Deluxe HabitatLiving World Deluxe Habitat $89.99
Marshall Small Pet Camping Set.NewMarshall Small Pet Camping Set.New $23.58 Karlie ferret harness Red checkeredKarlie ferret harness Red checkered $18.71
Furo-Vite Vitamin Boost Chews, Single, Part Fs40-8Jr-N, Marshall Pet ProductsFuro-Vite Vitamin Boost Chews, Single, Part Fs40-8Jr-N, Marshall Pet Products $8.32 List price: Previous Price $10.73 reversible liners for Dcn and Dfn cages plus 3 matching hammocks. You pick colorreversible liners for Dcn and Dfn cages plus 3 matching hammocks. You pick color $60.00
Pawhut Outdoor Triangular Wooden Bunny Rabbit Hutch/Guinea Pig House with RunPawhut Outdoor Triangular Wooden Bunny Rabbit Hutch/Guinea Pig House with Run $85.99 Super Pet Flat-Bac Water Bottle 32 ozSuper Pet Flat-Bac Water Bottle 32 oz $12.85
Super Pet My First Home Tank Topper.NewSuper Pet My First Home Tank Topper.New $45.99 Bandits Freeze Dried Ferret Treats, Pack 2, Part Fdw6600-UBandits Freeze Dried Ferret Treats, Pack 2, Part Fdw6600-U $13.64 List price: Previous Price $17.60
Hartz Bonanza Ferret Diet Balanced Nutrition Food / Treats 4 lb 06/2017Hartz Bonanza Ferret Diet Balanced Nutrition Food / Treats 4 lb 06/2017 $7.48 Was: Previous Price $9.98 Cute Hamster House Hammock Hanging Rat Squirrel Cage Pet Parrot Bird Nest FerretCute Hamster House Hammock Hanging Rat Squirrel Cage Pet Parrot Bird Nest Ferret $11.55
Bandits Freeze Dried Ferret Treats, One, Part Fdw6600-U, Marshall Pet ProductsBandits Freeze Dried Ferret Treats, One, Part Fdw6600-U, Marshall Pet Products $8.83 List price:  00004000 Previous Price $11.39 Kennel-aire "A" Frame Bunny House 29.5"L x 16.5"W x 24"HKennel-aire "A" Frame Bunny House 29.5"L x 16.5"W x 24"H $26.85 Trending at $37.73
Sporty Jogging Vest & Leash Rabbits Ferrets & Other Small AnimalsSporty Jogging Vest & Leash Rabbits Ferrets & Other Small Animals $11.99 Pet Cages for Small Animals Rabbit Guinea Pig Ferret Chinchilla Mouse HabitatPet Cages for Small Animals Rabbit Guinea Pig Ferret Chinchilla Mouse Habitat $92.95
Living World 61858 Small Pet/Hamster/Rabbit Deluxe Cage/Habitat 37.8"x22.4"x22"*Living World 61858 Small Pet/Hamster/Rabbit Deluxe Cage/Habitat 37.8"x22.4"x22"* $35.99 Sheppard & Greene Ferret Cage Smell Good Spritz Deodorizer Baby Fresh Scent 8zSheppard & Greene Ferret Cage Smell Good Spritz Deodorizer Baby Fresh Scent 8z $4.09 Was: Previous Price $4.49
Prevue Pet Products Rat and Chinchilla Cage 495 Earthtone Dusted Rose, 31-.NewPrevue Pet Products Rat and Chinchilla Cage 495 Earthtone Dusted Rose, 31-.New $107.02 Trending at $115.28 Critter Nation / Small Animal Cage with StandCritter Nation / Small Animal Cage with Stand $261.99
Chinchilla Toy Long John Toy and for Hamster Rabbit Guinea Pig ToyChinchilla Toy Long John Toy and for Hamster Rabbit Guinea Pig Toy $7.90 Chinchilla Toy Double Trouble also for Hamster Rabbit Guinea Pig ToyChinchilla Toy Double Trouble also for Hamster Rabbit Guinea Pig Toy $7.90
Kaytee CritterTrail Mini Two Habitat Kit Hamster HabitatKaytee CritterTrail Mini Two Habitat Kit Hamster Habitat $18.39 Ferret Bandana - Cars, Trains, PlanesFerret Bandana - Cars, Trains, Planes $3.99
The Dook Hat A.K.A ~ Birthday Hat For Ferrets PinkThe Dook Hat A.K.A ~ Birthday Hat For Ferrets Pink $8.00 Living World Deluxe Habitat X-LargeLiving World Deluxe Habitat X-Large $88.79
Guinea-Pig-Cage-Hedgehog- Bunny-Rabbit-Chinchilla-La rge-Condo-AccessoriesGuinea-Pig-Cage-Hedgehog- Bunny-Rabbit-Chinchilla-La rge-Condo-Accessories $70.00 The Dook Hat A.K.A ~ Birthday Hat For Ferrets Yellow/SunThe Dook Hat A.K.A ~ Birthday Hat For Ferrets Yellow/Sun $8.00
Ware Manufacturing Home Sweet Home Pet Cage for Small Animals - Colors ma. NewWare Manufacturing Home Sweet Home Pet Cage for Small Animals - Colors ma. New $37.55
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Prices current as of last update, 04/26/17 12:47pm.

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