April 2 – National Ferret Day

Posted on April 2, 2016

When you find out someone has a pet, you might assume it's a dog or cat. Of course, it could be a bird or a fish...a hamster or rat...a rosy boa or hermit crab or turtle or guinea pig or iguana.

But it might be a ferret!

According to the American Ferret Association, domesticated ferrets are as affectionate as a puppy but also as independent as a kitten.

Above, weasel.

Below, polecat.
Did you notice that ferrets look a bit like mink or weasels? Of course, those are some pretty close relations in the animal world, and the mongoose is another close relative. But ferrets are actually the domesticated versions of the European polecat. Actually, ferrets can breed with wild polecats, and the resulting wild hybrid has been known to do damage to natural ecosystems. That is the major reason that ferrets as pets are illegal in many places in the world. Another reason given for making ferrets illegal is that they can be carriers of rabies.

Ferrets are supposed to be fairly popular as pets in some places, but where I live, California, it's illegal to have a pet ferret. Some other places where ferrets are illegal are: Queensland, Australia; New Zealand; California and Hawaii; Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Ferrets can be adorable.
But, like cats and dogs, they are carnivores --
which means they come equipped with some
fairly sharp teeth!

Here are some cool things about ferrets:

  • A male is called a hob, and a female is a jill. A group of ferrets is called a business!
  • Ferret racing is a fun activity, with a race course made of pipes and wire mesh.
  • When they are excited, ferrets do something called a “weasel war dance.” This involves dooking (making clucking noises), hopping around sideways, and even bumping into things as the ferrets urge you to play with them. (No war or violence ensues, despite the name!)
  • Ferrets aren't really nocturnal nor diurnal, but instead are crepuscular. That means that they aren't very active at night (so they aren't nocturnal), they tend to sleep during the day (so they aren't diurnal), but they are active during the hours around sunrise and then again during the hours around sunset. They're creatures of twilight!
  • Ferrets come in several colors:

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