5 Ferret Truths You Probably Forgot


1. Spear-shaped stinky little thief.

No need for name calling here! Mustela putorius furo has been domesticated for thousands of years; some records have them domesticated before your housecat! Starting in 450 BC there are Greek writings of albino, household ferrets used for rodent control. What's more, these characters were a status pet among high-class nobility in early England.

I like cats, they're delicious. Until recently ferrets have mostly been kept as working animals. Traditions of ferreting still hold in Europe and Great Britain in which ferrets are used for rabbit hunting and rodent exterminating. Currently they are even surpassing in the test of placing industrial cables/wires. Take that, housecat.

2. Stop and smell the ferrets?

Possibly the most annoying myth regarding ferrets is that they stink. Each animal has a unique smell; most pet owners are aware that their dog/cat/elephant smells like such. Ferrets are not any different.

Ferret aroma can be easily maintained with routine care. Habitually washing their bedding, feeding them a high-quality diet, and bathing them occasionally will decrease their odorous impact on their environment. All of which sounds a lot like what one would do to care for their dog, cat, elephant, etc.

3. Enter poop machine.

Did you know that it takes (on average) 3 hours for food to travel from one end of a ferret to another? That is a lot of waste, probably contributing to the myth mentioned above. These adorable characters can easily be litter box trained, and do have preferences on where they mess (sometimes not in aforementioned litter box).

A phrase most commonly thrown around concerning ferrets and their diet is obligate carnivore, meaning they want steak more than your dog. Actually, this is because ferrets lack a cecum to digest/process fruits and vegetables; their short, efficient digestive tracks need easily digestible meat proteins. Yum, steak.

4. Carnivorous Rodent?

Contrary to popular belief: ferrets are, in fact, not rodents. If you are fluent in Latin you already discovered that. Ferrets belong to the family mustelidae, which includes otters, badgers, minks and weasels; all of which are carnivores (read: not rodents).

Admittedly ferrets may resemble oversized, long mice but are far cuter (honestly!). Most ferret owners are mischievous themselves and do joke and encourage some far fetched monikers that reference rodents. Usually to poke at the unsuspecting questioner – “This is in fact a rare slinky-rat.”

5. Move over Jaws, insert vicious ferret.

Ferrets are very much like human babies when it comes to exploring their environment. By biting and slobbering (not literally) all over anything within reach, they are collecting information, stimulating their brain, and making a mess in the process. Their inquisitive nature leads them to acquire knowledge using every possible avenue, most commonly a la mouth.

When they are young, ferrets bite/mouth more frequently as it is their play behavior. Relatively speaking, ferrets are harmless when compared dogs, who have a more damaging bite and are more likely to do so. Like any other animal, the more love you give the more you shall receive. Of course the ferret should know that hands are a sometimes food. Om nom nom!

  • Jenn

    “Mike and Ike” are my little guys and I LOVE my ferrets. But they stink, let’s be honest. Yes, I bathe them regularly, etc. But ferret smell is unmistakable and SO hard to mask or eliminate.
    I was at a pet show and came across this little air purifier called “CritterZone”. It claims to break down odors, germs, etc., in the air AND in materials with some ionization technology. I was reluctant because it was so small, but my fiancee HATES my ferrets’ smell. So I tried it.
    I went online and bought two more! One for right by their cage, one for upstairs and one for my general area. I can’t smell them AT ALL NOW!
    CritterZone, I think you saved my “marriage-to-be”. Every ferret owner needs one. Seriously.
    Tell them Mike and Ike’s mom sent you!