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10 Amusing Facts about Ferrets

Ferrets were being used rarely as pets until the 1980’s. Before then, they were mostly used for hunting. Jordan Walker, the lead content curator of Coops and Cages, shares some other interesting facts about this domesticated creature.

Ferrets are believed to be the domesticated versions of the European polecat. Belonging to the Mustela genus of the animal kingdom, ferrets are closely associated with weasels. These animals are usually seen with either black, brown, white or mixed fur. While they may not seem interesting at first, it is actually the contrary. There are tons of interesting facts surrounding these sneaky creatures.

Ferrets can be potty trained

Like cats, although not as proficient, ferrets can be taught to use litter boxes. A common problem with ferrets is that they aren’t entirely accurate when using their primitive bathroom. However, most pet owners argue that it a whole lot better than with dogs and other pets.

It’s important to pick out a good litter box or litter tray for your ferret. These animals are known to “snorkel” or nosedive into the entire thing. As such, the litter product should be of good quality and safe for pet use. The advisable type of litter to use is the unscented, dust-free variant.

Unique naming convention for ferrets

As babies, ferrets have white fur and are called kits. The males are called hobs while the female ferrets are called jills. When the male is neutered, he is subsequently called a gib. If the male is vasectomized, he is called a hoblet. Females that get spayed, on the other hand, are called sprites.

​Lastly, can you guess what a group of ferrets are called? They’re referred to as a “busyness” or simply, business.

Ferrets are carnivores

Ferrets are what you would call obligate carnivores. This means that they rely solely on animal flesh for nutrients. In fact, the only reason they would take in plants is to induce vomiting. Carnivores would choose to do this to expel any harmful substance they may have ingested earlier.

They sleep a whole lot

Ferrets are regarded as crepuscular. This means they are mostly active when it is dawn and dusk. Other than that, they are asleep for majority of the day (14 to 20 hours). This isn’t necessarily a straightforward slumber. Their sleeping pattern is usually divided into 4 hour intervals.

It’s also worth noting that these animals sleep very soundly which gave rise to the term, “ferret dead sleep.” They are also known to adjust their sleeping pattern to match their owner’s schedule.

Ferrets have been domesticated for some time

It is estimated that ferrets have been domesticated for as much as 2,500 years. There are many conflicting backgrounds that place ferrets in various civilizations such as the Egyptians, Romans and the Greek. Whichever the case, it is pretty established that they have been around for ages.​​​​​​​

They are excellent hunters

The main reason why ferrets were domesticated was due to their prowess in hunting which gave rise to “ferreting”. Ferrets have long, nimble bodies and are equipped with intelligence and curiosity. That is why they are perfect for deployment in holes and burrows. They are used to flush out rabbits, rodents and moles easily.

Sometimes, they are also used in conjunction with falcons. The ferret’s role is to drive the prey from their hiding spot so that the falcon can nab it. This hunting team is usually very successful.

Ferrets have professional uses

Due to this knack for burrowing, humans have also put ferrets to good use in the industry. When there are wires that need to be pushed thru tunnels or tubes, these ferrets are sent to do the job.

Similarly, they are also used to clean inaccessible, clogged or extremely tiny pipes and tubes. All that’s needed is to attach a swab to the ferret’s collar.

They are very sociable

Ferrets love the company of humans and even other ferrets. In fact, in the sport of ferret racing, the animals are seen enjoying the race as they are with their fellow ferrets.

Ferrets are restless and entertaining

Considered a very restless pet, probably due to their intense curiosity, ferrets are almost always jumping around. When they’re happy, they continually make noises while repeatedly jumping in the air.

They are also known to practice a unique ritual called the weasel war dance. Ferrets in the wild usually do this when they feel threatened, while domestic ferrets use it to signify that they want to play. This behavior is characterized by sideway hops, leaps, tail puffing, back arching and also dooking, a soft clucking noise.

They are known to steal things

The word ferret comes from the Latin word furittus which means “little thief”. This is because ferrets are observed to whisk away little things and then stash them away without you noticing.

Ferrets make great pets as long as one is properly educated. Be sure you know the facts and don’t believe any myths that may have been thrown your way. As long as you have the basics of ferrets down pat, you’re sure to have loads of fun with this curious, fun-loving creature.

Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is matched with his passion for “attempting” to play the guitar. If you would like to catch more of him, you can by following his Twitter or Facebook accounts.


  • http://animalquestions.org/mammals/ferrets/7-fun-ferret-facts-for-kids/
  • http://mentalfloss.com/article/62329/15-furry-ferret-facts-national-ferret-day
  • http://facts.randomhistory.com/ferret-facts.html
  • https://www.lovethatpet.com/small-pets/ferrets/fun-facts/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferret