About Ferrets

Ferret Facts

 

1. The ferret ‘Dead Sleep’

Ferrets tend to sleep a lot during the day, around 14-18 hours. They usually sleep in two to six hour periods. ‘Dead Sleep’ is what owners call a form of sleep where the ferret might seem like it is in a coma or even dead! The ferret is still warm and on closer inspection a shallow breathing is evident, but if nudged, poked or shaken the ferret just does not wake up. When an owner first experiences a ‘Dead Sleep’ in their beloved pet, they may have a small anxiety attack.

2. The colour of ferrets at birth

There are many different colours of ferrets all over the world and some colours are more common than others. The interesting thing is that all ferrets are actually born white! Their coats start to change colour at about 3 weeks of age.

3. What ferrets eat

Some people mistake ferrets as rodents, but this could not be further from the truth. When given the opportunity ferrets actually eat rodents. Unlike rodents, ferrets are actually naturally born carnivores and they can’t physically produce the enzymes needed to digest plant matter, which includes fruit and vegies. Therefore, these foods are not actually appropriate for them.

4. Sexual maturity

Ferrets reach sexual maturity from about 5 to 6 months of age. At this stage if the owner is not planning to breed their ferrets then it is essential to spay the female, otherwise the chances of her getting a disease called aplastic anaemia are very high. This disease usually leads to death. It is also recommended to spay the male at this age otherwise their behaviour might start to turn aggressive and their smell becomes very overwhelming. Spaying ferrets, both female and male, decreases their odour considerably.

5. Ferret domestication

When an animal is called domestic this usually refers to the fact that the animal has been bred to specific human needs and no longer resembles its wild ancestors, because of this domestic animals are highly unlikely to survive in the wild. Although very little is known about ferret history and where they come from, some sources suggest that they have now been domesticated for around 2,500 years where they were predominantly used for hunting purposes. Just like cats and dogs, ferrets have been human friends for a very long time.

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