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BellaOnline's Exotic Pets Editor

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Ferrets - Ferrets as Pets

Guest Author - Diana Geiger

This is the beginning of an extensive series on the pet ferret. Ferrets are the third most popular pet. Many people that have ferrets are unsure where ferrets originated. Are ferrets carnivore or an omnivore? Not knowing this and your pet may die or become seriously ill.

How do you train a ferret? Yes, ferrets are trainable! Ferret training will be part of this series. In addition too, many more important things related to taking care of and having ferrets as pets.

The origin of the domestic ferret, and they have been domesticated for more than 2000 years, is still a mystery. Ferrets are thought to have originated from the European Polecat.

Genetically, the European Polecat and the domestic ferret are near identical. While the Black-Footed ferret has 38 chromosomes, the domestic ferret, and the European Polecat have 30 chromosomes. Keeping in mind, the chimpanzee and human being are near 97% similar genetically. Wolves and dogs are 99% similar genetically. This puts the domestic ferret and the polecat right up there with the wolf and the dog. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prove a thing.



Black-Footed Ferret (captive) Creator Ryan Hagerty taken at Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Program in Colorado. The black-footed ferret is considered to be the rarest mammal in North America.





European Polecat pictures
European Polecat pictures

There are many other possibilities that could have resulted in the animal we know today- the domestic ferret. Another possibility of direct antecedent is the steppe polecat; though the steppe polecat has 38 chromosomes. Throughout history there has been genetic events that can increase the number of chromosomes in an animal; allowing for the possibility of cross-breeding with fertile offspring.


Is there an extinct relative of these animals that could have been the progenitor of the domestic ferret?


Steppe Polecat pictures
Steppe Polecat pictures



Marbled Polecat pictures
Marbled Polecat pictures

Personality wise the polecat and domestic ferret are vastly dissimilar. Polecats are very territorial while ferrets enjoy living in groups. Polecats are reclusive and the domestic ferret gregarious. Still not proof, but I have my doubts that the domestic ferret descended from the European Polecat.

Ferrets are sold neutered, spayed, and scent glands are removed. There may be some back yard breeders that still don’t remove scent glands, spay or neuter, however, I certainly would never recommend a backyard breeder.

The domestic ferret is a family pet. They are not a wild animal. There is no scientific evidence of feral populations resulting from the domestic ferret. Why on earth California and Hawaii still classify them as wild animals, for this reason making them illegal, is beyond me. I would say the state would benefit by raking in millions of dollars in taxes from the sale of ferret products, but they already do by the look of the products in pet supply stores examples, PetSmart and PetCo.

The ferret is no doubt a strict carnivore. As with other carnivores they have a very short digestive tract; much too short to have the ability to digest nutrients in plants. The ferret’s digestive system does not include the caecum which is needed to digest plant food. The caecum is a pouch in-between the large and small intestine, which harbors the good bacteria that assist in digesting the cellulose in plants. Animals that are plant eaters have enzymes that assist the animal to digest the plants. Ferrets lack many of these enzymes.

All new ferret articles will be linked to this initial article, it will include everything you could possibly want to know about ferrets. As always, learn as much as you can about a pet before you obtain a pet.



Ferret videos – Youtube videos
Marbled Polecats videos
Marbled Polecat video
Marbled Polecat

European Polecat videos – Youtube videos
European Polecat video
European Polecat video, Bunzing, very lucky footage!

Steppe Polecat videos – Youtube videos
Steppe polecat video

Ferret kits (baby ferrets) from birth on up ferret videos, this are great! Ferret breeding – ferret breeders
ferret kits video – baby ferrets video

Black footed ferrets – black footed ferret pictures, black footed ferret video
Black Footed Ferret video

A series about pet ferrets from proper nutritional needs, playing, toys, equipment, ferret supplies, personalities, training ferrets, baby kits, ferret care, breeding, death and euthanasia and much more!

***Ferrets
***Baby Ferrets
***Breeding Ferrets
***Ferret Training
***Pet Ferrets
***Ferrets and California
***Ferret Supplies
***Euthanasia Our Little Ferret has Died
***Ferrets Adrenal Disease or Shedding
***Ferret Helps Disabled Man
***Ferret Clothing



Ferrets: A Complete Guide available in paperback and Kindle. By Diana Geiger (me:) Five star reviews!

More information on Ferrets: A Complete Guide Ferrets: A Complete Guide

FERRETS: A Complete Guide



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Content copyright © 2014 by Diana Geiger. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diana Geiger. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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