Who is a ferret? A ferret is an animal that is small in size, quite furry and has a coned – shaped nose, a long tail along with a pear-shaped body, short legs and long claws. They belong to the family of different creatures like wolverines, ermines, minks etc. Ferrets are considered as popular yet controversial pets. According to some experts, ferrets were bred more than 2,000 years ago from either European polecats or steppe polecats. This creature is usually confused with skunks, which are labeled as polecats. We don’t call them naturally wild domesticated ferrets. In case any Ferret runs away, there are rarely any chances of it to stay more than 4-5 days, according to the American Ferret Association.
Though there exist wild species that are called the black-footed-ferret. These creatures are considered as rare North America’s rarest mammal, according to the research done by Michigan’s Animal Diversity (ADW) and now are declared as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
What is the diet of a ferret?
The first thing first that we need to keep in mind is that a ferret’s diet should contain a high-quality diet in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A ferret’s diet should have at least 36 percent of protein and 18-20 percent of fat. There will be many brands and food types present in the market for a ferret but you need to make sure that the foods you are giving them contain all the micronutrients that they need in their diet.
What does a ferret can actually eat? Ferrets are considered carnivorous animals so they usually prefer eating meat. These predators need to have meat in their everyday meal at least once in a day and if the meat is not provided to them, there are chances that they might die of malnutrition as well. Excess raw meat can also lead to malnutrition, so everything should be balanced in their diet because they are very much energetic by nature. So, in order to maintain that, one needs to keep a balance between protein and fat so that the high energy level remains intact.
Ferrets should remain strictly away from dog meat when you are looking for the best foods for ferrets because dog food is considered as one of the worst things that you could feed this pet, the reason behind it is that dog food always contain too many carbohydrates for a ferret to contain in its small intestine.
Whenever you are looking for food for this creature, don’t forget to have a look at the amount of protein and fat that it contains and the number of carbohydrates and fiber as well. The number of carbohydrates and fiber should always be lower than the amount of protein and fat. One of the foods that a ferret can have easily is the cat food, however by cat food we do not mean the local food which is available at the grocery because that hardly has any nurturing diet. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products containing sugar can also harm ferrets so make sure you do not add these things in their diet.
Habits of a ferret
Black-footed ferrets like moving around dusk because they are nocturnal creatures. They also prefer to live and roam alone, spend their nights hunting for prey. Their senses are quite strong so they can smell, sight and hear easily, have a habit of making noise of hissing and chattering whenever they are afraid. They sleep during the day and look for prey at night, usually, they prefer to remain underground in winters for around a week sometimes. One of the best things about ferrets is that they are very friendly and adjusts their sleeping schedule according to their owner’s. Ferrets love sleeping and sleep continuously for up to 18 hours.
According to the research done by the Woodland Park Zoo, the ancient Greeks domesticated ferret around 2,500 years ago in order to hunt vermin. The practice then spread all over Europe. Sailors used to keep ferrets on ships in order to control rats. This is how they came to North America in the 1700s.
By the decade of 1800, ferrets started to get used as pets, were also given as gifts to the visiting heads of the state. In the 1900s, the primary purpose for which ferrets were used was fir rodent control in barns and warehouses, this work was promoted by the U.S Department of Agriculture and thus it also led to the import of thousands of ferrets in different areas of the world. As soon as development emerged, there came an introduction of chemicals that were used to eliminate pests and thus the practice of importing the ferrets was stopped and once again ferrets were kept more as pets.
Different offsprings are given different names like female ferrets are known as hobs and a male ferrets are called jills. In the wild, hobs and jills are bred around March and April. Jill will then give birth to almost two to six babies after a gestation period is over. A baby ferret is known as a kit. Kits are kept in a burrow along with their mother for a period of 42 days, according to the research done by ADW. During autumn, the young offspring leave their mother and start to become independent and after a year they are grown enough to have their own litter. The life span of a ferret is around 12years.
What are the dangers of ferrets to human beings?
There are some dangers from ferrets like biting. They do bite people for several reasons and the bite is quite painful. One of the most reasons behind them biting people is their fear, while others try to run away when scared, there are some who bites. The other danger of ferret is rabies. Ferrets also suffer from rabies and it can pass on to humans as well, so in order to get rid of rabies, you should regularly get the vaccination done of your ferret pets.
Now that we have given you almost all the knowledge about a ferret and you know how to feed and what to feed them, you can start keeping them as a pet and have some fun bonding.