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About Ferrets

Ferret Overview

Ferret Photo (c) Vondelle McLaughlin

A ferret is a member of the mustelid family, which also includes weasels, polecats, minks, otters, and badgers. They are obligate carnivores, which means they can only eat and process meat. The modern ferret has been domesticated for thousands of years, and has no wild counterpart - not even the endangered Black-Footed Ferret.

Rather than being nocturnal or diurnal, ferrets are crepuscular; they are naturally most active during the evening and morning, and can sleep 18-20 hours a day. But ferrets will adjust easily to your schedule and wake when you're ready for them to play!

Most ferrets you buy from pet stores in the United States are bred and distributed by Marshall Farms.

Is a Ferret the Right Pet for You?

Ferrets are playful, curious, intelligent, sociable, and affectionate creatures. They are quiet, only occasionally making a soft "dooking" sound when very happy or excited. They need daily attention and lots of exercise, although this frequently occurs in brief, energetic bursts of activity followed by a snack and a nice, long nap. They have often been compared to kittens or puppies that don't fully grow up.

Most ferrets enjoy a lifespan of 7-10 years. As they enter middle age (3-4 years), their activity level slows and many begin to display symptoms of common illnesses such as adrenal disease, insulinoma, lymphoma and cardiomyopathy. But better nutrition and housing, easy access to ferret-savvy resources, and better veterinary and preventative care all contribute to longer lifespans and a higher quality of life.

Please check out our links to videos about ferrets and other good informational resources before you decide to bring a ferret into your home. Also be sure to check out some of our Happy Tails!

Common Misconceptions