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Ferret Facts–10 Common Myths About Ferrets

Domestic Ferret Facts

10 Common Myths About Ferrets

1  Ferrets are rodents

Ferrets are from the Mustelidae family. Cousins of ferrets are the mink, weasel, otter, skunk, badger, and European polecat. They are not related to rats or mice.

2  Domestic ferrets came from Black-Footed FerretsFerret Facts--10 Common Myths About Ferrets

While domestic ferrets look a lot like Black-Footed Ferrets and share the same name, they are quite different. Black-footed Ferrets (Mustela nigripes) are the only ferret species native to North America and are wild animals. Pet ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) are descended from European ferrets (Mustela putorius, sometimes called “polecats”) and have been domesticated for more than 2,500 years.

3  Ferrets are wild, dangerous animals

Ferrets are domestic animals, just like other pets. They need human assistance for survival. They are unable to survive in the wild.

4  Ferrets can become feral

Being feral means that an animal has reverted back to its natural state of wild behavior and can successfully survive on its own and reproduce. First, most ferrets are neutered or spayed, so they could not reproduce. Second, ferrets are not adept at escaping predators. They are curious and are more likely to want to play with another animal than hide from it. They are likely to die of starvation if they are not eaten first.

 5  Ferrets are vicious

As with any animal, ferrets can bite. But, in terms of biting, cats and dogs bite much more than ferrets. And, just like other pets, it depends on the personality of the animal and how she is treated and trained.

6  Ferrets carry rabies

Ferrets are actually very resistant to the rabies virus. Studies have indicated that ferrets may not even pass the rabies virus through their saliva via a bite.

7  Ferrets were domesticated in EgyptFerret Facts--10 Common Myths

Although this rumor has spread extensively, there is no substantive evidence. According to a report published in John Lewington’s Ferret Husbandry, Medicine and Surgery, there are no zooarchaeological reports, genetics studies, historical documents or ecological evidence that document the existence of ferrets during the period of domestication.

8  Ferrets can catch cold

Ferrets are not susceptible to the common cold. However, they can catch influenza A, just like people. They can also catch bacterial respiratory and sinus infections.

9  Ferrets sleep 20+ hours per day

Although ferrets do sleep a lot, a happy ferret doesn’t sleep her life away–at least not all of it. A ferret left caged up alone may sleep 18 or more hours per day from boredom, but a healthy ferret with lots of out of cage time should only sleep about 15 hours or so.

10  Ferrets need to eat all the time

Most ferrets don’t need to eat constantly. Ferrets adapt their eating schedules based on the type of food they are given. If they are fed a high carb diet, they may need to eat frequently due to a drop in blood sugar. If they are given a high protein diet with sufficient fat, they will eat much less frequently. Ferrets with insulinoma do need to have food available at all times, however.

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14 thoughts on “Ferret Facts–10 Common Myths About Ferrets

  1. Awsome article! I really like this kind of “10 simple facts” aricles. I always get amazed of how much I don’t know about animals. I didn’t even know ferrets could be tamed and used as pets haha…

    1. You need to get out more, David!!!

  2. Thanks for debunking the 10 common myths about ferrets.

    The rabies is an interesting fact that I am sure will help people understand ferrets more. It’s good to know that they are not rabid!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Dinh!

  3. This is a cool site. I didn’t know half of these!! Ferret’s are interesting little animals. I look forward to learning more about them here.

    1. Glad you like it Shawn. Stop by anytime!

  4. I definitely thought some of these things about ferrets. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I was never scared of them but I never was interested in them. I thought they were just like bigger rats.

    1. Thank you for visiting. I am so happy to have dispel those myths!

  5. Thanks! I’ve been planning on getting a ferret for quite some time now, so I’m glad I came across your post. I admit I believed most of these were legit, especially the part about eating all the time. I do think your list has cleared up a lot of my doubts. One question, how expensive would owning a ferret be? Have you done a post on that before?

    1. Thanks for visiting, Mohammad! Owning a ferret is an investment. I have not written an article about the cost, but thanks for the idea!Ferrets need a lot supplies–cage, lots of toys, cage hammocks and bedding, litter boxes, special food and litter… But the biggest expense may be the vet bills. Besides routine exams and vaccinations, ferrets are susceptible to several diseases that often require surgery and/or life-long treatment. Make sure you are willing and able to invest in a ferrets care and well being before you decide to bring a ferret into your home. If you have any other questions, let me know.

  6. Hi Sandra,

    Great article! While reading it I realised how guilty I was of so many misconceptions. I only ever saw a ferret once, years ago, in a harness for a walk in the park with his human. I remember thinking how cruel to take an exotic animal out of his habitat and force him to live with humans. To be honest I should have done some research instead of jumping to conclusions, but I didn’t! Guilty! I’m glad I found this article, so it educated me as to the real truth about ferrets. A good lesson in not jumping to conclusions.

    1. Thank yo for your comments, Hindy. I am so happy you read my article and helped you better understand ferrets!

  7. Hello Sandra, I enjoyed your site. Very informative, easy to navigate, and well done.

    1. Thanks for visiting! Come back anytime!

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