May 5 – National Ferret Day in the U.K.

Posted on May 5, 2014

This holiday was create to promote ferrets as pets.

Ferrets as pets?

I live in California, and pet ferrets aren't legal here! So I got curious about why: Apparently there is some worry about them carrying diseases and especially that, as exotic animals, ferrets that escape could breed and wreck an ecosystem. However, we have to vaccinate against and work to prevent diseases in other pets, as well. Also, most domestic ferrets are neutered when they are young, before they are sold as pets. It's hard to create an army of ecosystem-wrecking ferrets when you can't have even a single baby ferret!

Ferrets have been domesticated for about 2,500 years. They are enough like the wild version of the critters, the European polecats, that escaped pets that have not been neutered could mate with them and create polecat-ferret hybrid colonies. (Apparently this actually happened in New Zealand—and that wasn't a good thing for NZ's native birds, such as the kiwi.)

In many nations, and in 48 of the 50 United States, domestic ferrets are legal pets. And many people say that they are adorable, cuddly pets, too!

How do you feed a pet ferret? Cat food will do, but specially-made ferret food, which is made up almost entirely of meat, is even better. Baby ferrets imprint on their food at around six months old, so pet owners should feed the young as many brands of food as possible so that they can accept all the various meat flavors later.

Ferrets used to be used to hunt. It was called ferreting. Ferrets are able to go down holes and chase rodents and rabbits in their tunnels and warrens and up out of their holes so that the hunter could kill them. 

Ferrets have also been used like cats to control wild pests such as mice and rats.

I think it is fun to know these ferret names:

Males – hobs
Females – jills
Babies – kits
Group – business 

Spayed female – sprite
Neutered male – gib or hoblet
(Remember, spaying and neutering means giving animals an operation so that they cannot breed.)

So, wouldn't you love to have a business of hobs, jills, sprites, hoblets, and kits?

But not in California!

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