Latin name: Mustela putorius furo
size: up to 70cm
mass: 500g - 2200g
Older: 5 - 8 years
Appearance: white-black coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: u.a. small rodents, birds
original origin: Central and Northern Europe
Sleep-wake rhythm: twilight active
natural enemies: /
sexual maturity: with 7 - 12 months
mating season: ?
gestation: about 40 days
litter size: 3 - 7 cubs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the ferret
- The ferret belongs to the Iltissen and includes its own domesticated species within this genus.
- Literary records from Ancient Greece and Rome suggest that ferrets were kept as pets by humans as early as the fourth century BC and used for hunting. The final domestication of the ferrets probably took place about 2,500 years ago and spread from the Mediterranean in Europe and eventually throughout the world.
- In their original use for hunting, the so-called ferret, ferrets are hardly used today. They live primarily as pets in close contact with humans or are used as laboratory animals in laboratory experiments.
- Runaway ferrets live as wild animals that have partially crossed with polecats, in some areas of Italy or New Zealand, where they do by their predatory activities great damage to the ecological balance.
- The exact lineage of the ferret has not yet been clearly explored, but it is thought to have evolved from the European polecat or the steppe silly. Both species, which are native to Europe and Asia, are subgroups of the martens.
- Like polecats and martens, ferrets have an elongated and slender body that can reach a length of fifty to eighty centimeters with the tail, with females being significantly smaller than males.
- The body weight varies depending on the seasons, with increasing age of the animals, the differences gradually decrease.
- The basic color of the fur of the ferret appears in whitish to light yellow shades, cultivated forms also produced black, gray and brown fur drawings.
- Over the years, intensive breeding efforts have resulted in numerous genetic defects that make ferrets very susceptible to certain diseases. In particular, adrenal tumors are a common cause of death in ferrets. The risk of an animal suffering from cancer, however, can be significantly reduced by appropriate feeding and outdoor posture.
- Ferrets are predatory carnivores that have a relatively short gastrointestinal tract through which food passes within hours. In order to guarantee adequate supply of nutrients to the organism, the ferret therefore needs large amounts of animal protein and only a small amount of vegetable protein.
- As pets, ferrets are very trusting, with uncastrated males showing a very aggressive behavior and marking their territory with foul-smelling urine. Therefore, the castration of males is especially recommended for housing or home, although their hormone balance changes greatly and the probability of disease increases.