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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Marshall Premium Ferret Diet, 7-Pound BagMarshall Premium Ferret Diet, 7-Pound Bag $22.55 Trending at $27.33 Marshall Ferret Sweater - 3-5 lb GreenMarshall Ferret Sweater - 3-5 lb Green $11.99
Brad-572018-Ferret Harness And Lead - Fp-093Brad-572018-Ferret Harness And Lead - Fp-093 $25.94 Pawhut 91" Deluxe Large Wooden Bunny Rabbit Hutch / Chicken Coop w/ Outdoor RunPawhut 91" Deluxe Large Wooden Bunny Rabbit Hutch / Chicken Coop w/ Outdoor Run $381.29
Ferret Cage Rat Chinchilla Rabbit Guinea Pig 3 Tier Indoor Hutch Pet Hamster RunFerret Cage Rat Chinchilla Rabbit Guinea Pig 3 Tier Indoor Hutch Pet Hamster Run $139.98 Rabbit Hutch Chicken Poultry Hen Coop Deluxe Rabbit Guinea Pig House Ferret CageRabbit Hutch Chicken Poultry Hen Coop Deluxe Rabbit Guinea Pig House Ferret Cage $149.95
Large Chicken Coop Wooden Hen Poultry House Rabbit Hutch Guinea Pig Ferret CageLarge Chicken Coop Wooden Hen Poultry House Rabbit Hutch Guinea Pig Ferret Cage $399.95 Prevue Pet Small Animal Home on Stand NaPrevue Pet Small Animal Home on Stand Na $99.24 Trending at $108.17
(3 Pack) Kaytee Premium Ferret Nutrition Chicken Diet Pet Food 4-Pounds each(3 Pack) Kaytee Premium Ferret Nutrition Chicken Diet Pet Food 4-Pounds each $71.72 Ferret Plushy Hanging Sleep Tube - Teal Checkerboard with Numbers - Soft FlannelFerret Plushy Hanging Sleep Tube - Teal Checkerboard with Numbers - Soft Flannel $13.99
Kaytee My First Home Habitat Multi-Level for Exotics, 30 by 18-Inch , New, FreeKaytee My First Home Habitat Multi-Level for Exotics, 30 by 18-Inch , New, Free $86.99 List price: Previous Price $110.99 Ware Living Room Series Critter Ferret HomeWare Living Room Series Critter Ferret Home $82.45
Brad-572031-Ferret Lax Chews - Fs-405Brad-572031-Ferret Lax Chews - Fs-405 $20.00 Super Pet Ferret Smelly Sock R Ball Cage Toy - Item 62106Super Pet Ferret Smelly Sock R Ball Cage Toy - Item 62106 $6.99
Best Large Small Animal Cage for Chinchilla Ferret Sugar Glider Tray Easy CleanBest Large Small Animal Cage for Chinchilla Ferret Sugar Glider Tray Easy Clean $116.54 Brad-571993-Select Chicken Formula Ferret Diet - Fd-362Brad-571993-Select Chicken Formula Ferret Diet - Fd-362 $33.39
Indoor Rabbit Cages Rolling With Stand Bunny Hamster Guinea Pig Home FerretIndoor Rabbit Cages Rolling With Stand Bunny Hamster Guinea Pig Home Ferret $73.09 Was: Previous Price $81.21 Marshall Pet Hanging Nap Sack , New, Free ShippingMarshall Pet Hanging Nap Sack , New, Free Shipping $14.59 List price: Previous Price $20.99
Large Ferret Cage Chinchilla Rabbit Hamster Guinea Pig Rat House Metal HabitatLarge Ferret Cage Chinchilla Rabbit Hamster Guinea Pig Rat House Metal Habitat $139.99 Indestructiball Multipalz Small Animal Ball Yellow Ferrets Floats Tough ToyIndestructiball Multipalz Small Animal Ball Yellow Ferrets Floats Tough Toy $15.99
Small Animal Bed Rabbit Ferret Guinea Pig Sleeping Bed Training ToySmall Animal Bed Rabbit Ferret Guinea Pig Sleeping Bed Training Toy $5.99 Kaytee Giant Comfort Exercise Wheel, 12-Inch, Colors Vary , New, Free ShippingKaytee Giant Comfort Exercise Wheel, 12-Inch, Colors Vary , New, Free Shipping $19.29 List price: Previous Price $27.99
Ferret Nation & Critter Nation Accessories Kit Kit 3Ferret Nation & Critter Nation Accessories Kit Kit 3 $49.40 Brad-572039-Ferret Extreme Freeze Dried Diet - Fd-421Brad-572039-Ferret Extreme Freeze Dried Diet - Fd-421 $35.06
Niteangel Luxury Double Bunkbed Hammock, Fit 2 Adult Ferrets or 5 More AdultNiteangel Luxury Double Bunkbed Hammock, Fit 2 Adult Ferrets or 5 More Adult $18.01 Marshall Pet Hanging Nap SackMarshall Pet Hanging Nap Sack $14.34 Trending at $17.95
Ferret / Guinea pig / Young Rabbits Hanging Bed Fun Tunnel Toy House HammockFerret / Guinea pig / Young Rabbits Hanging Bed Fun Tunnel Toy House Hammock $5.99 New 2- Hole Solid Divider Unique Rabbit show Bunny/Chicken/guinea Transport cageNew 2- Hole Solid Divider Unique Rabbit show Bunny/Chicken/guinea Transport cage $38.00
Bunny House Rabbit Cage Small Animal Pet Crate 4 Casters Ferret Puppy HamsterBunny House Rabbit Cage Small Animal Pet Crate 4 Casters Ferret Puppy Hamster $76.99 10Pcs Nipple Waterer Drinkers Water Rabbit Guinea Pig Ferret Rat Mouse Feeder Tb10Pcs Nipple Waterer Drinkers Water Rabbit Guinea Pig Ferret Rat Mouse Feeder Tb $3.03
Large Ferret Cage Chinchilla Rabbit Hamster Guinea Pig Rat Iguana Sugar GliderLarge Ferret Cage Chinchilla Rabbit Hamster Guinea Pig Rat Iguana Sugar Glider $123.95 midwest deluxe critter nation add-on unit small animal cage (model 163) includesmidwest deluxe critter nation add-on unit small animal cage (model 163) includes $165.31
Superpet Large Hi-Corner Litter Pan Best For Large Ferrets - 11 x 20 x 9 InchSuperpet Large Hi-Corner Litter Pan Best For Large Ferrets - 11 x 20 x 9 Inch $17.45 Amariver Hammock Hanging Bed Toy House Cage for Rabbit Guinea Pig Ferret Smal.Amariver Hammock Hanging Bed Toy House Cage for Rabbit Guinea Pig Ferret Smal. $14.99
Brad-571997-Marshall 2 In 1 Ferret Bed - Fp-367Brad-571997-Marshall 2 In 1 Ferret Bed - Fp-367 $25.10 Warning Decal trained Ferret pet polecat cage bumper or window stickerWarning Decal trained Ferret pet polecat cage bumper or window sticker $5.93
Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage Black HammertonePrevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage Black Hammertone $113.23 Trending at $116.49 Ferret Chinchilla Cage Luxury Pet House Animal Small Home Habitat Multi LevelFerret Chinchilla Cage Luxury Pet House Animal Small Home Habitat Multi Level $264.99
Angel wings Harness for Rat Rabbit Ferret Guinea pig Samll Animals Jacket & LeadAngel wings Harness for Rat Rabbit Ferret Guinea pig Samll Animals Jacket & Lead $4.99 Jumbo Pet Litter Box Corner Lock Critter Rabbit Ferret Wire Pan Bolter SuppliesJumbo Pet Litter Box Corner Lock Critter Rabbit Ferret Wire Pan Bolter Supplies $17.26
Guinea Pigs Habitat Living Area Dividing Panel Play Care Babies Easy Clean LinerGuinea Pigs Habitat Living Area Dividing Panel Play Care Babies Easy Clean Liner $84.83 Small Animals Containment Exercise Playpen 13" Hedgehog Guinea Pig BunnySmall Animals Containment Exercise Playpen 13" Hedgehog Guinea Pig Bunny $12.69
Pet Habitat Xl Cage Rabbit Hutch Guinea House Ferret Chinchilla Small AnimalPet Habitat Xl Cage Rabbit Hutch Guinea House Ferret Chinchilla Small Animal $106.98 Prevue Hendryx Sp2060R Deluxe Hamster and Gerbil Cage, Bordeaux Red , New, FreePrevue Hendryx Sp2060R Deluxe Hamster and Gerbil Cage, Bordeaux Red , New, Free $44.19 List price: Previous Price $89.99
Hammock for Rabbit/Guinea Pig/Ferret/Small Animals Hanging Bed Toy House CageHammock for Rabbit/Guinea Pig/Ferret/Small Animals Hanging Bed Toy House Cage $4.59 Small Animal Hammock for Guinea-pig Chinchilla Rabbits FerretSmall Animal Hammock for Guinea-pig Chinchilla Rabbits Ferret $4.49
Super Pet Crinkle Tunnel, Colors may Vary , New, Free ShippingSuper Pet Crinkle Tunnel, Colors may Vary , New, Free Shipping $10.39 List price: Previous Price $18.99 Small Pet Cage Large Bunny Guinea Pig Rabbit Animal Crate Hutch House Indoor NewSmall Pet Cage Large Bunny Guinea Pig Rabbit Animal Crate Hutch House Indoor New $107.19
Deluxe Chicken Coop Rabbit Hutch Poultry Hen Rabbit Guinea Pig House Ferret CageDeluxe Chicken Coop Rabbit Hutch Poultry Hen Rabbit Guinea Pig House Ferret Cage $399.95 Pet Litter Box Small Animals Corner Pan Rabbit Hamster Ferret Bolter SuppliesPet Litter Box Small Animals Corner Pan Rabbit Hamster Ferret Bolter Supplies $9.86
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Prices current as of last update, 10/13/17 9:00am.

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