Do you know an animal ferret whose body is long and slender and whose face is as cute as a stuffed animal’s?
Ferrets are very popular as pets, so many people may actually have them or want to try them.
Surprisingly, ferrets are animals with a very long history of living with humans since 3000 BC.
Let’s take a peek together to see what characteristics and secrets ferrets have in this article!



~ Basic information. ~


Length:male about 38cm female about 34cm.
Weight:male about 1kg~1.2Kg female about 0.6~0.8Kg.

Ferrets are domesticated animals of wild weasels, and wild species do not exist.

It is said that the ancestor of this species is the “european polecat” that lives from Europe to the Ural Mountains, or the “steppe polecat” that lives from Europe to China, but the exact origin of this species is still unknown.


In the wild, european polecats are 35-51cm long and weigh 1.4-1.7Kg for males and 0.7Kg for females. The fur is light brown to black, very similar to ferrets in the color “sable”.

The european polecat lives alone in the water, in the corners of forests, and in grasslands, feeding on rodents such as rats, rabbits, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

They reach sexual maturity when they are about six months old, and after a 40-43 day pregnancy, they give birth to five to eight children at a time.

In addition to being hated as a vermin that attacked poultry for a long time, the european polecat was caught in large numbers to take advantage of its quality fur, and has become extinct in some areas.

It is considered unlikely to become extinct as a species, but it is important to know that ferret ancestors have such a history.


Ferrets are also popular animals as pets.

Ferrets, like rabbits and hamsters, are small animals that are very popular as pets.

Ferrets are basically playful, friendly, and mischievous. Ferrets are suitable for people who want to get along with their pets and play with them every day.

What should I feed my ferrets when I get them at home?

Ferret staples should be ferret-specific foods, and side dishes should be animal-based foods. For snacks, I recommend jerky or paste-type nutritional supplements for ferrets.

Ferret food contains the nutrients that ferrets need, so ferrets can grow on this food and water alone without any problems. However, if you have something other than food that can be said to be your “favorite” food, it will be useful when you lose your appetite due to illness or when giving medicine to your child.

Therefore, in order to figure out what their favorite food is, other than ferret food, it is recommended to give them a set amount of side dishes or treats on a regular basis to see how they do.

There are many types of ferret food, but it is best to choose one that contains as few additives as possible and no unnecessary ingredients.

Side dishes include heated eggs, liver, and bird meat. Raw meat may contain parasites and bacteria, so be sure to boil or grill the meat and allow it to cool before feeding.

Mustelidae have a short digestive tract, which means that they can digest what they eat in no time. For this reason, the ancestor of ferrets, the european polecat, has a habit of bringing its prey back to its burrow and eating it in several portions.

For this reason, ferrets, a member of the mustelidae, also have a habit of eating food five to ten times a day. Make sure you are in a situation where you can eat food at any time.

By the way, some plant-based treats (such as dried fruits) are sold for ferrets, but it is best not to give them plant-based treats. This is because ferrets are carnivores and cannot digest and absorb plant-based materials well.

Breeding environment.

Ferrets should basically be kept in cages, and when the owner can be with them, they should be released into the room to play with them.

Choose a cage that is large enough to accommodate all toilets, food containers, water containers, and other goods (60cm wide x 60cm deep x 40cm high or more per ferret).

The most important thing about a cage is that it is safe for ferrets, but it is equally important that it is easy for owners to use, such as easy to clean and move.Choose a product that is durable and easy to use, considering that you will continue to use it for several years.

Other notes.

When you get a ferret, make sure that you never let it go or throw it away.

This is because if ferrets that have escaped or been abandoned become wild, they may threaten the lives of the wild animals that originally inhabit them. Let’s take a look at an actual case in New Zealand to see what happens when ferrets go wild.

In New Zealand, Europeans have a history of releasing rabbits, deer, pigs, and other animals into the natural world for the purpose of hunting prey, and then turning them into wild animals.

Rabbits are particularly fertile, and they used the grass they planted for their domestic sheep as bait to quickly increase their population and destroy the pasture.

And those who were troubled by the damage caused by rabbits tried to exterminate rabbits by releasing animals of the weasel family (ferrets, least weasel, and ermine) into the pasture.

Unfortunately, releasing the ferrets into the pasture did not change the damage to the rabbits, and on the contrary, the number of flightless birds and reptiles that lived in New Zealand decreased.

Yes, in fact, the ferrets ate the animals that were easier to catch than the rabbits first. After that, the New Zealand government had to spend a lot of time and money to exterminate innocent rabbits and ferrets in order to protect the wildlife they originally inhabited.

In the case of Japan, there are currently no restrictions on keeping and breeding ferrets. However, if ferrets become wild and increase in number, affecting the wildlife in Japan, there is a possibility that keeping ferrets will be prohibited by law.

Therefore, ferrets should never be let go or thrown away. By the way, in Hokkaido, Japan, you need to notify the governor when raising ferrets.



Ferret’s Q&A.

How did the ferret get its name?

It is said that the name “ferret” comes from the Latin word “furo” (furonem), which means “thief.

By the way, the scientific name of ferret is expressed as “mustela putorius furo”.”Mustela” means weasel, “putorius” means stench or odor, and “furo” means thief, so the scientific name of ferret has the meaning of “stinky thief weasel”.


How long have ferrets been kept as pets?

The history of ferrets, when, where, and from what species they were domesticated, is not clearly known.However, it is thought that the history of domestication probably began in Egypt around 3000 BC.

It seems that people at that time started keeping wild weasels to prevent rats from eating the grain they harvested, and ferret-like animals are depicted in murals in grain storage warehouses around 1400-1200 BC.

Later, ferrets were introduced from Egypt to Europe, where they were used for rabbit hunting and kept as pets. In the 1900s, ferrets were introduced to the United States, where they were used as fur and laboratory animals in addition to their previous roles.

And ferrets began to be bred in Japan around the 1990s. At first, it was positioned as a rare animal, but it became popular mainly among women because of its low noise, ease of getting to know people, and the fact that there was no need to take a walk.

And now ferrets have become so popular that they are loved all over the world.


Is it true that ferrets stink?

Ferrets tend to be perceived as smelly, but do they really smell?

Ferrets and other members of the mustelidae have organs called “odor glands”. The odor glands are officially called “anal glands” and both males and females have one on each side of the anus.

When ferrets are attacked by enemies, they try to drive them away by blowing smelly liquid out of their anal glands.

And since this smell is very strong and does not come off easily even after washing, many ferrets have this odor gland removed. If you have ever smelled this smell, you may think that ferrets are stinky.

However, except for the odor glands, ferrets do not have a special odor compared to other animals. However, as a living organism, there is a certain amount of animal odor, and as a carnivore, poop and pee have a unique odor.

If you are worried about the smell of your ferrets, you should shampoo them once or twice a month. It is also recommended for its effectiveness in removing dirt from the skin.

Changing the food may reduce the smell of the body, poop, and pee, so if you are concerned about the smell, you may want to try different foods.


What kind of ferrets are there?

Ferrets are bred in breeding grounds around the world and are exported to various countries.

Ferret breeding grounds are mainly Marshall (USA), Canadian (Canada), Pass Valley (USA), Faye Farm (China), and Mystic (New Zealand), and depending on the breeding grounds, there are characteristics and tendencies in body size, face, and personality.

It is a good idea to compare the characteristics and appearance of each ferret and think carefully about what kind of ferret you want to keep.

In some breeding grounds, some ferrets have been spayed or neutered and their organs called odor glands have been removed. These ferrets are called “super ferrets” and are recommended for beginners because they are easy to keep.

On the other hand, ferrets that have not been spayed, neutered, or had their odor glands removed and can enjoy the original characteristics of ferrets are called “normal ferrets”.

However, normal ferrets have some parts that are difficult to keep, such as a temperament during the heat period and smelly secretions from the odor glands, so if you are concerned about this, we recommend that you try it after getting a super ferret.


What is the color variation of ferrets?

Ferrets come in so many colors. There are too many types to introduce all the colors, but let’s take a look at some of them and their features.

The names of colors are not universal, so the way they are expressed may differ depending on the breeding grounds or stores.

It is very similar to the european polecat, which is thought to be the ancestor of ferrets, and is the most common color. The limbs, tail, and eyes are black to dark brown, and the rest is white to cream.

The whole body is white with no pattern, the eyes are red and the nose is pink.


It is a soft brown to dark brown color like milk chocolate. It is a paler shade overall than sable and is called chocolate in the US.

This color has a white line from the top of the head to the back of the head. The pattern and color of the tummy varies greatly from individual to individual, and you can enjoy a variety of patterns.

Black self.
Some ferrets are called “angora,” which is a long-haired ferret with softer and longer hair than a typical ferret. Black self refers to long-haired, sable-colored ferrets.


There are many other ferret colors to choose from, including panda, champagne, marked white, and white fur black eye.


How long does a ferret last?

Ferrets live from 5 to 8 years old, and are said to join the ranks of seniors from about 4 years old.
It can be said that if you live to be 10 years old, you will live long enough, but some ferrets lived to be 15 years old.





大野 瑞絵(2011年)『ペット・ガイド・シリーズ ザ・フェレット 食事・住まい・接し方・医学がわかる』誠文堂新光社

公益社団法人 日本獣医師会「エキゾチックアニマルの生物学(II) ― フェレットの特徴と飼育に際しての留意点 ―

北海道 後志総合振興局「特定移入動物のページ」


国立研究開発法人 国立環境研究所 侵入生物データベース「フェレット」

早矢仕 有子(2011年).ニュージーランドにおける鳥類保全と生態系復元 札幌大学総合論叢,第31号,248-251.https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/230307696.pdf



けい動物医療センター「フェレットの飼い方 」

NIKKEI STYLE ライフコラム生きものがたり「人懐こいフェレット 「最後っ屁」は恐ろしい」



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