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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my first home deluxe multi-level pet home with castersmy first home deluxe multi-level pet home with casters $148.15 Hanging Hammock Bed Nest Toy for Ferrets Rats Hamsters Cage by Trixie - 45x45 cmHanging Hammock Bed Nest Toy for Ferrets Rats Hamsters Cage by Trixie - 45x45 cm $14.75
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Tespo Pet Playpen Small Animal Cage Indoor Portable Metal Wire Yard Fence for 12Tespo Pet Playpen Small Animal Cage Indoor Portable Metal Wire Yard Fence for 12 $49.48 Natural Chemistry Natural Waterless Bath for Ferrets and Small Animals, 8-OunceNatural Chemistry Natural Waterless Bath for Ferrets and Small Animals, 8-Ounce $10.32
Marshall Ferret Shampoo with Aloe Vera 8oz bottle Free ShippingMarshall Ferret Shampoo with Aloe Vera 8oz bottle Free Shipping $9.95 Nibblers Corn Husk Pet Chew, Carrot - Help Improve Small Pet's Dental Health NewNibblers Corn Husk Pet Chew, Carrot - Help Improve Small Pet's Dental Health New $3.29
Wooden Gabled Roof Hutch Coop Cage for Small Animal Rabbit Guinea Pig BunnyWooden Gabled Roof Hutch Coop Cage for Small Animal Rabbit Guinea Pig Bunny $146.99 Midwest Homes for Pets - Pet Nation AccessoriesMidwest Homes for Pets - Pet Nation Accessories $12.98
Marshall Pirate Ship Hanging Ferret Hammock (Free Shipping In Usa)Marshall Pirate Ship Hanging Ferret Hammock (Free Shipping In Usa) $22.95 Kaytee Fiesta Ferret Food Fiesta Ferret 2.5 LbsKaytee Fiesta Ferret Food Fiesta Ferret 2.5 Lbs $23.23
Marshall Baby Fresh Scent Daily Spritz for Ferrets, 8-oz bottle free ShippingMarshall Baby Fresh Scent Daily Spritz for Ferrets, 8-oz bottle free Shipping $8.95 Kaytee Long John High Side Litter Pan - Assorted Colors Assorted Colors - (11.2Kaytee Long John High Side Litter Pan - Assorted Colors Assorted Colors - (11.2 $21.00
GoodBye Odor for Ferrets, 32 Ounce , slightly used Guinea pig, rat MarshallGoodBye Odor for Ferrets, 32 Ounce , slightly used Guinea pig, rat Marshall $14.89 Pet Puppy Ferret Kitten Cat Talc Disposable Wet Glove Pet Cleaning - No FoamPet Puppy Ferret Kitten Cat Talc Disposable Wet Glove Pet Cleaning - No Foam $7.65
Prevue Hendryx Small Animal Cage with Stand Coco & White - 425Prevue Hendryx Small Animal Cage with Stand Coco & White - 425 $129.95 Small Pet Accessory Critter Nation Ferret Guinea Pig Rat Chinchilla Double UnitSmall Pet Accessory Critter Nation Ferret Guinea Pig Rat Chinchilla Double Unit $53.32
Hybrid Cage X-Large Cage Deluxe Habitat With Balcony Small Animal SuppliesHybrid Cage X-Large Cage Deluxe Habitat With Balcony Small Animal Supplies $115.54 Marshall Pet Marshall Select Chicken Ferret Diet, 4-Pound BagMarshall Pet Marshall Select Chicken Ferret Diet, 4-Pound Bag $25.46
Ferret Cage Bed Octopus Hide Tunnel Toy Small Pet Play Sleep Fun Hamster GerbilFerret Cage Bed Octopus Hide Tunnel Toy Small Pet Play Sleep Fun Hamster Gerbil $29.91 Four Paws Ferret Play Tunnel Sleeper/Hammock (Lime Green)Four Paws Ferret Play Tunnel Sleeper/Hammock (Lime Green) $6.99
Hamster Carrier Bag Pocket, 8x8" Pet Carrier Breathable Pocket Hamster FerretHamster Carrier Bag Pocket, 8x8" Pet Carrier Breathable Pocket Hamster Ferret $18.99 2-level small animal chichilla cat ferret cage, black2-level small animal chichilla cat ferret cage, black $148.02
Jumbo Plastic Pet Dog Cat Rabbit Corner Litter Box Ferret Wire Pan Food StorageJumbo Plastic Pet Dog Cat Rabbit Corner Litter Box Ferret Wire Pan Food Storage $46.20 Guinea Habitat Cage Enclosure Ramp Safe Pig Rabbit Hamster Rat Bunny HedgehogGuinea Habitat Cage Enclosure Ramp Safe Pig Rabbit Hamster Rat Bunny Hedgehog $60.79
Super Pet Crittertrail Small Animal Modular Habitat Ysp1215Super Pet Crittertrail Small Animal Modular Habitat Ysp1215 $36.99 "Guinea Habitat Plus" Guinea Pig Cage & Accessories 47L x 24W x 14H Inch"Guinea Habitat Plus" Guinea Pig Cage & Accessories 47L x 24W x 14H Inch $64.60
2x Large Cube Hammock + 4 Metal Clips (suits rats, ferrets, rabbits, cavies)2x Large Cube Hammock + 4 Metal Clips (suits rats, ferrets, rabbits, cavies) $28.63 Running Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel Pet spinner Hamster Gerbil Ferret Cage ToyRunning Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel Pet spinner Hamster Gerbil Ferret Cage Toy $7.79
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Prices current as of last update, 02/22/18 1:20am.

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