A domestic ferret
|Mustela putorius furo|
The ferret is a domestic mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. In biology trinomial nomenclature refers to names for taxa below the rank of species Carl Linnaeus (Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as, May 23 new style (13 May old style 1707 who laid the foundations for The ferret is a domestic Mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. Domestic ferrets typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur, have an average length of approximately 20 inches (51 cm) including a 5 inch (13 cm) tail, weigh about 2-4 pounds (1 kg), and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years. 
Several other small, elongated carnivorous mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae (weasels) also have the word "ferret" in their common names, including an endangered species, the Black-footed Ferret. A carnivore (ˈkɑrnɪvɔər meaning 'meat eater' ( Latin carne meaning 'flesh' and vorare meaning 'to devour' is any animal with a diet consisting Mammals ( class Mammalia) are a class of Vertebrate Animals characterized by the presence of Sweat glands, including sweat glands In Biological classification, family ( Latin Mustelidae or Mustelids (from Latin mustela, Weasel) commonly referred to as the weasel family, is a family of carnivorous Mammals Weasels are Mammals in the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. An endangered species is a population of an organism which is at risk of becoming Extinct because it is either few in numbers or threatened by changing environmental or predation The Black-footed Ferret ( Mustela nigripes) is a small carnivorous North American Mammal closely related to the Steppe Polecat of Russia The ferret is a very close relative of the polecat, but it is as yet unclear whether it is a domesticated form of the European Polecat, the Steppe Polecat, or some hybrid of the two. The European Polecat ( Mustela putorius) also known as a fitch, is a member of the Mustelidae family and is related to the Stoats Otters The Steppe Polecat ( Mustela eversmanii) is a small Carnivore and is one of several species of Weasel that belong to the genus Mustela
The history of the ferret's domestication is uncertain, like that of most other domestic animals. It is very likely that ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years, but it is not certain for what purpose the ferret was originally domesticated. They are still used for hunting rabbits in some parts of the world today, but increasingly they are being kept simply as pets.
Being so closely related to polecats, ferrets are quite easily able to hybridize with them, and this has occasionally resulted in feral colonies of ferret polecat hybrids that have been perceived to have caused damage to native fauna, perhaps most notably in New Zealand. As a result, some parts of the world have imposed restrictions on the keeping of ferrets.
Like most domestic animals, the original reason for ferrets' domestication by human beings is uncertain but it may have involved hunting. It was most likely domesticated from the European polecat (Mustela putorius), though it is also possible that ferrets are descendants of the Steppe polecat (Mustela eversmannii), or some hybridization thereof. The European Polecat ( Mustela putorius) also known as a fitch, is a member of the Mustelidae family and is related to the Stoats Otters The Steppe Polecat ( Mustela eversmanii) is a small Carnivore and is one of several species of Weasel that belong to the genus Mustela  Analysis of mitochondrial DNA suggests that ferrets were domesticated around 2,500 years ago, although what appear to be ferret remains have been dated to 1500 BC. Mitochondrial DNA ( mtDNA) is the DNA located in Organelles called mitochondria.  It has been claimed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate ferrets, but as no mummified remains of a ferret have yet been found, or any hieroglyph of a ferret, and no polecat now occurs wild in the area, that idea seems unlikely. Hieroglyph ( Greek grc-Grek ἱερογλύφος " sacred carving " or hieroglyphics ( = grc-Grek τὰ ἱερογλυφικά 
The Greek word ictis occurs in a play written by Aristophanes, The Acharnians, in 425 BC. Aristophanes (Ἀριστοφάνης ˌærɪˈstɒfəniːz in English ca The Acharnians ( Ancient Greek: / Akharneĩs) is an Old Comedy by the Athenian playwright Aristophanes. Whether this was actually a reference to ferrets, polecats, or the similar Egyptian Mongoose is uncertain. The Egyptian Mongoose ( Herpestes ichneumon) also known as the Ichneumon, is a species of Mongoose. 
The name "ferret" is derived from the Latin furittus, meaning "little thief", a likely reference to the common ferret penchant for secreting away small items.  Ferrets were probably used by the Romans for hunting. 
Colonies of feral ferrets have established themselves in areas where there is no competition from similarly sized predators, such as in the Shetland Islands. Shetland (formerly spelled Zetland, from etland; Old Norse non Hjaltland; Sealtainn is an Archipelago off the northeast coast of Where ferrets coexist with polecats, hybridization is common. It has been claimed that New Zealand has the world's largest feral population of ferret-polecat hybrids. New Zealand is an Island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island  In 1877, farmers in New Zealand demanded that ferrets be introduced into the country to control the rabbit population, which was also introduced by humans. Five ferrets were imported in 1879, and in 1882-1883, 32 shipments of ferrets were made from London, totaling 1,217 animals. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Only 678 landed, and 198 were sent from Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne ( is the second most populous city in Australia, with a Metropolitan area population of approximately 3 On the voyage, the ferrets were mated with the European polecat, creating a number of hybrids that were capable of surviving in the wild. The European Polecat ( Mustela putorius) also known as a fitch, is a member of the Mustelidae family and is related to the Stoats Otters In Biology, hybrid has two meanings The first meaning is the result of interbreeding between two animals or plants of different taxa. In 1884 and 1886, close to 4,000 ferrets and ferret hybrids, 3,099 weasels and 137 stoats were turned loose. Weasels are Mammals in the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family.  Concern was raised that these animals would eventually prey on indigenous wildlife once rabbit populations dropped, and this is exactly what happened to New Zealand bird species which previously had no mammalian predators.
For hundreds of years, the main use of ferrets was for hunting, or ferreting. Rabbiting is the sport of Hunting Rabbits often using Ferrets or Dogs to track the prey and various trapping methods to catch them With their long, lean build and inquisitive nature, ferrets are very well equipped for getting down holes and chasing rodents and rabbits out of their burrows. Caesar Augustus sent ferrets or mongooses (named "viverrae" by Plinius) to the Balearic Islands to control the rabbit plagues in 6 BC. Augustus ( Latin: IMPERATOR·CAESAR·DIVI·FILIVS·AVGVSTVS September 23 63 BC – August 19 AD 14) born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, was Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author The Balearic Islands ( Catalan and official Illes Balears; Spanish: Islas Baleares) are an Archipelago in the western Mediterranean  They are still used for hunting in some countries, including the United Kingdom, where rabbits are considered a plague species. In Australia, Rabbits are the most serious Mammalian pests, an Invasive species whose destruction of habitats is responsible for However, the practice is illegal in several countries where it is feared that ferrets could unbalance the ecology.
In England, in 1390, a law was enacted restricting the use of ferrets for hunting to those of substantial means:
|“||. . . it is ordained that no manner of layman which hath not lands to the value of forty shillings a year (the equivalent of about £1,000 in today's money) shall from henceforth keep any greyhound or other dog to hunt, nor shall he use ferrets, nets, heys, harepipes nor cords, nor other engines for to take or destroy deer, hares, nor conies, nor other gentlemen's game, under pain of twelve months' imprisonment. ||”|
Ferrets were first introduced into the New World in the 17th century, and were used extensively from 1860 until the start of World War II to protect grain stores in the American West. The New World is one of the names used for the non-Eurasian/non-African parts of the Earth specifically the Americas and Australia. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including
In the United States, ferrets were relatively rare pets until the 1980s. Dr. Wendy Winstead, a veterinarian and former folk singer who had her first ferret in 1969, sold ferrets to a number of celebrities including Dick Smothers and David Carradine while making television appearances on programs such as the David Letterman Show with ferrets in the 1980s, writing books and promoting them until her death in the 1990s from cancer. Dr Wendy Winstead was a folk singer/writer author and veterinarian that has been credited with popularizing Ferrets as pets in the United States in the mid 1970s Folk music can have a number of different meanings including Traditional music: The original meaning of the term "folk music" was synonymous Richard Remick “Dick” Smothers (born November 20, 1939) is an American Comedian, Composer and Musician. David Carradine (born December 8 1936 is an American actor Biography Early life Carradine was born John Arthur Carradine in Hollywood Late Night with David Letterman was a nightly hour-long comedy Talk show on NBC hosted by David Letterman. A government study by the California State Bird and Mammal Conservation Program found that by 1996, approximately 800,000 or so domestic ferrets were likely being kept as pets in the United States. 
Ferrets spend 14 to 18 hours a day sleeping and are naturally crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dusk and dawn. Crepuscular is a term used to describe animals that are primarily active during Twilight, hence at Dawn and at Dusk. Though ferrets sleep more than most domesticated animals, they are very active when awake and will seek to be released from their cage to get exercise and satisfy their abundant curiosity daily.
Ferrets are energetic, curious, interested in their surroundings, and often actively solicit play with humans, having a repertoire of behaviors both endearing and difficult for some human owners. Play for a ferret will often involve hide-and-seek games, or some form of predator/prey game in which either the human attempts to catch the ferret or the ferret to catch the human. They also have a strong nesting instinct and will repeatedly carry small objects to hidden locations. Nesting instinct refers to an instinct or urge in pregnant animals to prepare a home for the upcoming newborn(s It is difficult to predict what objects ferrets will attempt to hoard, with owners reporting play toys, socks, bags of onions, pizza slices, keys, calculators, silverware, aluminum foil, shoes, sponges, toilet paper rolls, textbooks, video game controllers, footballs, etc. Ferrets will seemingly form attachments to certain objects and will repeatedly 'steal' the same object and bring it to their hiding place.
Ferrets are easily entertained and do not require pet toys; however, most kitten toys work well with ferrets. Ferrets love playing tug of war with toys and stuffed animals. Tug of war, tug o' war, or tug war, also known as rope pulling, is a Sport that directly puts two teams against each other in a test of strength Ferrets will also tear open packages and other containers to see what is inside or explore the inside of the package. Ferrets are interested in holes, pipes and other small enclosed areas, and seem compelled to explore holes. Thus a cardboard or plastic tube will be appreciated. Ferrets are especially fond of variety in their toy selection - bell-balls, crinkle tubes, and paper bags will work well. All toys should be mixed up regularly, as ferrets will often grow bored of playing the same games repeatedly.
When ferrets are excited, they may perform a routine commonly referred to as the weasel war dance, a frenzied series of sideways hops. The weasel war dance is a colloquial term for a behavior of excited Ferrets and Weasels The war dance usually follows play or the successful capture of a Toy This is often accompanied by a soft clucking noise, commonly referred to as dooking. It is often an invitation to play or an expression of happy excitement and is not threatening.
The ferret's posture may become rigid with wide open jaws, momentary eye contact followed by thrashing or turning of the head from side to side, arching the back, piloerection, and hopping to the side or backwards while facing the intended playmate. Goose bumps, also called goose flesh, chill bumps, chicken skin, people bumps, or the medical term cutis anserina, This is often accompanied by an excited panting sound that may sound like a hiss. Often, this behavior will break into a game of chase, pounce and wrestle. Ferrets in war dances are very accident prone, often hopping into obstacles or tripping over their own feet. 
Ferrets tend to nip as kits. Nipping is the act of biting in a playful manner representative of mock fighting and sparring; young ferrets are also more prone to chewing and teething, and have a tendency to bite harder. Older ferrets tend to chew far less frequently and, when trained correctly, almost never nip a human hand or only do so very gently. However, ferrets that have been abused or are in extreme pain may bite a human, and are capable of strong bites which break through the skin.
Ferrets, like cats, can use a litter box with training, but they are not always completely litter box trainable. Their instinct is to spread their waste in order to scent mark a wider foraging territory for themselves; thus, multiple litter boxes may be necessary, and all litter areas should be changed frequently.
A common ferret problem to many pet owners is introducing new ferrets to their population. Senior ferrets may seem excessively violent to unknown ferrets in their home, but adding another ferret to ones population to decrease boredom or for breeding will greatly encourage the morale of the ferret or ferret population one owns. Males and females will exhibit much stronger territorial urges when confronted with a new ferret, and will often treat the new ferret like a toy. After a fighting period which should be monitored but only rarely results in harm to a ferret, the older ferret will show its dominance, often by dragging the junior ferret around by the scruff of the neck to its hoard and leaving it like any other object it values. Given time and careful monitoring, new ferrets will almost always be accepted by the older ferret or group. Young ferrets can actually benefit from having an older house trained ferret around when being taught to use a litter box, take baths, or have their nails clipped.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores and the natural diet of their wild ancestors consisted of whole small prey, i. A carnivore (ˈkɑrnɪvɔər meaning 'meat eater' ( Latin carne meaning 'flesh' and vorare meaning 'to devour' is any animal with a diet consisting e. , meat, organs, bones, skin, feathers, and fur. Some ferret owners feed a meat-based diet consisting of whole prey like mice and rabbits along with raw meat like chicken, beef, veal, kangaroo and wallaby. This is preferred in Europe and Australia, and becoming increasingly popular in the United States due to concern over high carbohydrate levels in some processed ferret foods. Carbohydrates (from ' Hydrates of Carbon ' or saccharides ( Greek σάκχαρον meaning " Sugar " are the most 
Alternatively, there are many commercial ferret food products. Some kitten foods can also be used, so long as they provide the high protein and fat content required by the ferret's metabolism. Proteins are large Organic compounds made of Amino acids arranged in a linear chain and joined together by Peptide bonds between the Carboxyl Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and largely insoluble in water Metabolism is the set of Chemical reactions that occur in living Organisms in order to maintain Life. Most adult cat foods and kitten foods are unsuitable for ferrets however, because of their low protein content and high fiber. Dietary fibers are the indigestible portion of plant foods that move food through the Digestive system, absorbing water and easing Defecation. Ideally, a ferret food should contain a minimum of 32% meat based protein and 18% fat.  Low-quality pet foods often contain grain-based proteins, which ferrets cannot properly digest.
Ferrets may have a fondness for sweets like raisins, bananas, peanut butter, and pieces of cereal. A breakfast cereal (often simply called cereal is a packaged food product made from Cereal intended to be consumed as part of a Breakfast. The high sugar content of such treats has been linked to ferret insulinoma and other diseases. An insulinoma is a Tumour of the Pancreas derived from the Beta cells which while retaining the ability to synthesize and secrete Insulin is autonomous Veterinarians recommend not feeding raisins and the like to ferrets at all. Also, like many other carnivores, ferrets gradually lose the ability to digest lactose after they are weaned. As a result, lactose-free milk is to be preferred.
Many ferrets are sold very young. Sometimes a ferret will be sold too young; after consultation with a veterinarian, it should be fed a mix of crushed or soft food mixed with milk slightly warmed, until the veterinarian advises otherwise.
Ferret curiosity often exceeds common sense and ferrets are good at getting into holes in walls, doors, cupboards, or in or behind household appliances such as clothes dryers and dishwashers, where they can be injured or killed by drowning, electrical wiring, fans, and other household items. Many enjoy chewing items made of soft rubber, foam, or sponge, which present the risk of intestinal blockage and death if ingested. Polystyrene ˌpɒliˈstaɪriːn ( IUPAC Polyphenylethene is an aromatic Polymer made from the aromatic Monomer Styrene Serious and sometimes fatal injuries have resulted from ferrets chewing on electrical cords. Screen doors can be damaged by a ferret's claws, and dryer vents often become escape routes to the outdoors. A clothes dryer or tumble dryer is a household appliance that is used to remove the moisture from a load of Clothing and other Textiles, generally
Unlike dogs and cats, many ferrets display little homing instinct and do not thrive as strays. Ferret owners frequently train ferrets at a young age to respond to clicker toys, or to the sound of their own food being shaken, as a means of recovering a ferret which has ventured too far from its home. In all cases, the escape of a ferret should be addressed immediately, as wandering ferrets may be easily injured or killed by neighborhood animals, local wildlife, or passing vehicles.
Recliners and fold-out sofas are a leading cause of accidental death in ferrets.  Ferrets will often climb inside the springs and can be injured or killed once the chair is put into a reclined position.
For these reasons, owners usually "ferret-proof" their home, the task of carefully going through each room, removing items dangerous to ferrets and covering over any holes or potential escape routes. As ferrets can open improperly latched cupboards or doors by rolling over and clawing at the bottom edge, childproof latches are often used and owners keep cleaning products in high, out-of-reach places. However, ferrets can typically fit through any hole as small as the size of their head, making some childproof latches ineffective.
Some owners may prefer to house their pets outdoors in sheds, and not indoors. This is becoming more popular, due to speculation on the possible effects of the photoperiod effect on the ferret adrenal gland. Photoperiodicity is the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of day or night 
When a ferret is outdoors, an owner must take additional care during mosquito and tick season, as ferrets are susceptible to the diseases carried by these parasites. Mosquitoes are insects in the family Culicidae. They have a pair of scaled wings a pair of Halteres, a slender body and long legs Tick is the common name for the small Arachnids in Superfamily Ixodoidea that along with other Mites constitute the Acarina. Ticks can attach themselves and begin to draw blood. When the tick gets full, it regurgitates some blood and tick saliva back into the ferret, which is how Lyme and other diseases can be transmitted. Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is an Emerging infectious disease caused by at least three Species of Bacteria belonging to the Genus Ordinarily, the regurgitation happens between five to 24 hours after the tick attaches. Early removal of ticks using proper methods to avoid tick regurgitation, and prevention when in environments where encountering ticks is essential. Additionally, mosquitoes may carry heart worms and the West Nile virus. Fleas can cause extreme skin irritation and can be intermediate hosts for tapeworms, one of which may kill a ferret because of their small size. Similarly, the venom of a bee, wasp or spider is much more serious for a ferret than for a larger mammal, and ferrets can be regarded as prey by hawks, and by large snakes.
Ferrets are fearless to the point of foolishness and should not be allowed to wander. Whenever they are outside, they should be closely supervised and preferably kept on a harness leash designed for ferrets such as an H-shaped harness. Their curious nature also leads them to place themselves in situations where they will confront and try to play with larger animals outdoors that may be dangerous to the ferret.
Ferrets have been known to play well with household cats and some non-aggressive dogs, however, great care must be taken when introducing ferrets to any other household pets. Certain terrier dog breeds even have a heightened instinct to grab and kill ferrets. A terrier is a Dog of any one of many breeds or Landraces of terrier type which are typically small wiry very active and fearless dogs Many breeders these days prefer to raise their young kits with prey animal (baby & adult mouse, chicken, hamster, rats etc) instead of giving dry food. Therefore, ferrets may attack and kill pets like rodents, birds, and small reptiles, which may have been the prey of their wild ancestors.
Ferrets can make good pets for some children, but usually do not make good pets for very young children. Important considerations include assessing potential danger to a human child by a pet ferret, and potential danger to a pet ferret by a human child, either deliberately or by neglect.
Ferrets are capable of delivering a bite almost as strong as a domestic cat. Like all other domesticated animals, they should never be left unsupervised near infants or very young children. There have been rare cases where ferrets have severely injured babies but nearly all such incidents involved neglect, abuse, or roughhousing that the ferret likely perceived as an attack, and some of the animals involved were ferret-polecat hybrid crosses.  Given that young children and ferrets can be both excitable and prone to rough play, interaction between ferrets and children must always be closely supervised for the protection of both.
With regard to the danger of potential pet ferret attacks as contrasted to attacks from other pet species, statistics would imply that the danger is probably overstated. In the United States, a government study by the California Department of Health Services on national pet attack statistics found 452 reported incidents of ferret bites during the ten year period 1978-1987.  By comparison, pet dogs accounted for an estimated 585,000 injuries that required medical attention in the year 1986 alone, with the total number of pet dogs in the United States in 1996 estimated at 55,000,000 and the total number of pet ferrets in the United States in 1996 estimated at 800,000.  Adjusting for the proportionate ratio of dogs to ferrets in the United States of 68 to 1, dog bites occurred 190 times more often than ferret bites.
As the possible danger to a human child by a pet ferret must be assessed, the possible danger to a pet ferret by a human child should also be considered in determining whether or not a ferret will make a good pet for a child. Younger children may play too rough with a ferret, or fail to anticipate the physical danger to a ferret from things like closing doors, heavy objects, or accidentally stepping on the animal during play, all of which may lead to severe injury, and often the need for surgery, for the ferret involved. Repeated rough play may psychologically and physically stress the ferret and increases the likelihood of a provocation and a defensive response or bite from the animal. Additionally, as with any pet, young children may fail to appreciate the responsibilities of care and maintenance of their ferret, including attention to proper food and water supply, cage and litter maintenance, grooming, and the need for daily activity and attention when the ferret is alert and active. If a parent or responsible party is not present and willing to step in and fulfill these needs, a ferret is likely a poor choice of pet for a child, due to the problem of neglect.
For children who demonstrate responsible behavior, in regard to both playing with their pet and to consistent care and maintenance, ferrets can make good pets and are often loved by children for their social personalities and engaging antics.
Ferrets have been used to run wires and cables through large conduits. Event organizers in London used ferrets to run TV and sound cables for both the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer, and for the "Party in the Park" concert held in Greenwich Park on Millennium Eve. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Party in the Park is the generic name given to popular music concerts organised by GCap Media in England and Wales, typically in various large parks during Greenwich Park is a former Hunting park in Greenwich and one of the largest single green spaces in south east London. A millennium (pl millennia) is a period of Time equal to one thousand Years (from Latin la mille, thousand and la annum  One ferret, Freddie, was even registered as an electrician's assistant with the New Zealand Electrical Workers Union. 
Because they share many anatomical and physiological features with humans, ferrets are extensively used as experimental subjects in biomedical research, in fields such as virology, reproductive physiology, anatomy, endocrinology and neuroscience. Animal testing or animal research is the use of non-human Animals in scientific experimentation.
SAMHSA spokesman Mark Weber listed ferret waste as an alternative to using coffee grinds for the safe disposal of prescription medicine. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA is the US Federal agency charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention treatment and rehabilitative This method has dual purpose: to keep prescription medications from being abused, and to minimize the effect on fish and amphibians from medications flushed down the toilet. 
Ferrets do not require frequent bathing, which may remove natural oils in the ferrets coat that prevent dry skin. However, most ferrets are not averse to water. Ferrets also need their nails clipped on a regular basis, and usually shed twice a year in the spring and fall. A laxative is sometimes administered, to help any ingested fur pass more easily through the digestive tract.
Ferret bedding should be washed or changed regularly, and the litter box cleaned frequently, which significantly lessens any unpleasant odors. Due to their low carriage and their sensitive mucous membranes, ferrets are extremely sensitive to dust in their environment and many cat litters may be unsuitable for them. Also, a clumping cat litter may be ingested and cause blockages. A litter made from recycled paper material or organic material (e. g. corn or wheat) is preferred.
Most veterinarians recommend an annual health checkup. Ferrets often hide symptoms of illness very well, so any unusual behavior is considered good cause for a medical consultation. As ferrets have high metabolisms and cancers can progress at a fast rate, early detection is critical for successful treatment.
Like many other carnivores, ferrets have scent glands near their anuses, the secretions from which are used in scent marking. Territorial marking is Behavior used by Animals to identify their territory. It has been reported that ferrets can recognize individuals from these anal gland secretions, as well as the sex of unfamiliar individuals.  Ferrets may also use urine marking for sex and individual recognitions. 
Like skunks, ferrets can release their anal gland secretions when startled or scared, but the smell dissipates rapidly. Most pet ferrets in the US are sold de-scented, with their anal glands removed. In the UK, many consider de-scenting an unnecessary mutilation. In Australia and the UK, the general opinion is that the animal does not need to be de-scented. The Netherlands and other parts of Europe consider this practice to be animal abuse.
Males, if not neutered, are extremely musky. It is considered preferable to delay neutering until sexual maturity has been reached, at approximately 6-8 months old, after the full descent of the testicles. Neutering the male will reduce the smell to almost nothing. The same applies for females, but spaying them is also important for their own health. Unless they are going to be used for breeding purposes, female ferrets will go into extended heat and an unbred female without medical intervention can die of aplastic anemia. This article focuses on selective breeding in domesticated animals Oestrus is also the biological genus name of the gadfly. The estrous cycle (also oestrous cycle; derived from Latin
Many domestic ferrets are known to suffer from several distinct health problems. Among the most common are cancers affecting the adrenal glands, pancreas, and lymphatic system. In Mammals the adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped Endocrine glands that sit on top of the Kidneys their The pancreas is a Gland organ in the digestive and Endocrine system of Vertebrates. Lymphoma in animals is a type of Cancer defined by a proliferation of Malignant Lymphocytes within solid organs such as the Lymph nodes Bone Some health problems have been linked to ferrets being neutered before sexual maturity was reached, because of this some owners now choose to use implants instead of having the ferret neutered too early. Some owners even choose not to have their ferret neutered at all but use longer working implants instead. Certain colors of ferret may also carry a genetic defect known as Waardenburg syndrome . Waardenburg syndrome is a rare Genetic disorder most often characterized by varying degrees of Deafness, minor defects in structures arising from the Neural
Many of the diseases present in ferrets can cause severe weight loss, which, due to their size, can be an even more extreme problem than in some other animals. Ferrets suffering from extreme weight loss or with sensitive digestive tracts are often recommended to be fed a mixture called "duck soup. " This usually contains a high-fat, high-protein, low-fiber mixture of a whole chicken (innards and all), fat drippings, Nutrical, Ferretone, high-grade kitten food, and several other ingredients, variant on recipe. "Duck soup" helps ensure that a ferret keeps his or her weight up and is easy on the intestines.
Dehydrated ferrets may also be given Pedialyte.
Adrenal disease, a growth of the adrenal glands that can be either hyperplasia or cancer, is most often diagnosed by signs like unusual hair loss, increased aggression, difficulty urinating or defecating, or agitation when urinating, and (in the case of females) an enlarged vulva. Hyperplasia (or "hypergenesis" is a general term referring to the proliferation of cells within an organ or tissue beyond that which is ordinarily seen in e Even if the growth is benign, it can still cause a hormonal imbalance which can have devastating effects on the ferret's health.
Treatment options include surgery to excise the affected glands, melatonin implants, which treat the symptoms but not the disease itself, and/or hormone therapy. Melatonin is a naturally occurring Hormone found in most animals including humans and some other living organisms including Algae. The causes of adrenal disease are as yet uncertain, but speculated triggers include unnatural light cycles, diets based around processed ferret foods, and prepuberty neutering. It has also been suggested that there may be a hereditary component to adrenal disease. 
Adrenal disease is usually detected during the spring or fall. This is because adrenal disease affects the hormones that make the fur grow, so when ferrets with adrenal disease shed their winter coat they simply don't grow it back because of the disease. The hair loss pattern is usually very specific for adrenal disease: It begins at the base of the tail and then continues up the ferret's back. Ferrets who have been treated for adrenal disease may also suffer temporary but severe hair loss as their bodies recover.
Ferrets are also known to suffer from insulinoma, a cancer of the pancreas. An insulinoma is a Tumour of the Pancreas derived from the Beta cells which while retaining the ability to synthesize and secrete Insulin is autonomous The growth of cancerous nodules on the lobes of the pancreas sometimes, but not always, leads to an increase in the production of insulin, which regulates the rate at which the ferret's body metabolizes blood glucose. Insulin is a Hormone with intensive effects on both metabolism and several other body systems (eg vascular compliance Glucose (Glc a Monosaccharide (or simple Sugar) also known as grape sugar, is an important Carbohydrate in Biology. Too much insulin will cause blood sugar to drop, resulting in lethargy, seizures, and ultimately death. Symptoms of an insulinoma attack include episodes of lethargy, drooling, pawing and/or foaming at the mouth, high pitched screams, staring "blankly" into space, and seizures.
Like adrenal cancer, the exact cause of insulinoma is unknown. It is speculated that the diets of domestic ferrets are too far removed from the natural diets of their polecat ancestors, and include too much sugar or simple carbohydrates.
Treatment for insulinoma may include surgical excision of the cancerous lobes, pharmaceutical treatment with steroids that suppress the production of insulin, supplemental changes in diet (most often poultry-based baby food), or a combination thereof. Unfortunately, the growth of the tumors cannot be completely stopped, and the ferret will eventually suffer a recurrence of symptoms. In an insulinoma attack, a temporary remedy to stabilize the ferret is any kind of a sugary syrup, such as corn syrup or honey.
Lymphoma/lymphosarcoma is the most common malignancy in ferrets. Lymphoma in animals is a type of Cancer defined by a proliferation of Malignant Lymphocytes within solid organs such as the Lymph nodes Bone Cancer (medical term Malignant Neoplasm) is a class of Diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled Ferret lymphosarcoma occurs in two forms -- juvenile lymphosarcoma, a fast-growing type that affects ferrets younger than two years, and adult lymphosarcoma, a slower growing form that affects ferrets four to seven years old.
In juvenile ferret lymphosarcoma, large, immature lymphocytes (lymphoblasts) rapidly invade the thymus and/or the organs of the abdominal cavity, particularly the liver and spleen. A lymphocyte is a type of White blood cell in the Vertebrate Immune system. In Human anatomy, the thymus is an organ located in the upper Anterior portion of the chest cavity just behind the Sternum. The liver is a vital organ in the human body and is present in Vertebrates and some other animals The spleen is an organ found in all Vertebrate animals In humans the spleen is located in the abdomen of the body where it functions in the destruction of redundant Red In adult ferret lymphosarcoma, the lymph nodes in the limbs and abdominal cavity become swollen early on due to invasion by small, mature lymphocytes. Invasion of organs, such as the liver, kidney, lungs, and spleen, occurs later on, and the disease may be far advanced before symptoms are noticeable.
As in humans, ferret lymphosarcoma can be treated surgically, with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination thereof. The long-term prognosis is rarely bright, however, and this treatment is intended to improve quality of life with the disease.
Epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE)
ECE, a viral disease that first appeared in the northeastern US in 1994, is an inflammation of the mucous membranes in the intestine. The disease manifests itself as severe diarrhea (often of a bright green color), loss of appetite, and severe weight loss. The virus can be passed via fluids and indirectly between humans. Although it was often fatal when first discovered, ECE is less of a threat nowadays with the right supportive care which usually includes hospitalization with intravenous fluids. The virus is especially threatening to older ferrets and requires immediate attention.
Aleutian disease virus (ADV)
Aleutian Disease Virus (ADV) is a parvovirus discovered among mink in the Aleutian Islands in the early 20th century. Parvovirus, commonly abbreviated to parvo, is a Genus of the Parvoviridae family linear non-segmented single stranded DNA viruses There are two living species of " mink," the American Mink and the European Mink. The Aleutian Islands (possibly from Chukchi aliat, " Island " are a chain of more than 300 small volcanic islands forming a Volcanic In ferrets, the virus affects the immune system (causing it to produce non-neutralizing antibodies) and many internal organs, particularly the kidneys. Antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins, abbreviated Ig) are Gamma globulin Proteins that are found in Blood or other Bodily The kidneys are complicated organs that have numerous biological roles There is no cure or vaccine for the disease, and ferrets may carry the virus for months or years without any external symptoms. As a result, some ferret organizations and shelters recommend that owners test their pets for the virus regularly, separating them from other ferrets if they test positive.
Canine distemper (CD) is an extremely contagious virus that is almost always fatal. Canine distemper is a very serious viral Disease affecting animals in the families Canidae, Mustelidae, Mephitidae, Hyaenidae Being strict indoor pets does not necessarily protect ferrets, as owners may bring the virus home on their clothes or their shoes. The only protection against the virus is vaccination, but that is not without controversy as there have been reports, particularly from the USA, of ferrets going into anaphylactic shock after being vaccinated against CD. Anaphylaxis is an acute systemic (multi-system and severe Type I Hypersensitivity allergic reaction in humans and other Mammals
Influenza virus isolation using ferrets
Ferrets have served as a good experimental animal models in the study of influenza virus. Smith, Andrews, Laidlaw(1933)inoculated ferrets intra-nasally with human naso-pharyngeal washes, which produced a form of influenza that spread to other cage mates. The human influenza virus(Influenza type A) was transmitted from an infected ferret to a junior investigator , from whom it was subsequently re-isolated.
Ferrets with a white stripe on their face or a fully white head, primarily blazes, badgers, and pandas, almost certainly carry a congenital defect which shares some similarities to Waardenburg syndrome. Waardenburg syndrome is a rare Genetic disorder most often characterized by varying degrees of Deafness, minor defects in structures arising from the Neural This causes, among other things, a cranial deformation in the womb which broadens the skull, causing the white face markings but also partial or total deafness. It is estimated as many as 75% of ferrets with these Waardenburg-like colorings are deaf. Beyond that, the cranial deformation also causes a higher instance of stillborn ferret kits, and occasionally cleft palates. A stillbirth occurs when a Fetus which has died in the Uterus or during labor or delivery exits a Woman 's body Cleft lip (cheiloschisis and cleft palate (palatoschisis which can also occur together as cleft lip and palate are variations of a type of clefting Congenital Because of this, many breeders will not breed Waardenburg-patterned ferrets.
Male intact ferrets are called hobs; female intact ferrets are jills. A spayed female is a sprite, and a neutered male is a gib. Ferrets under one year old are known as kits. A group of ferrets is known as a business.
Ferrets come in a variety of coat colors and patterns. The ones recognized by the American Ferret Association are as follows:
White ferrets were favored in the Middle Ages for the ease in seeing them in thick undergrowth. Leonardo's painting Lady with an Ermine is likely mislabeled; the animal is probably a ferret, not a stoat, for which "ermine" is an alternative name (the latter strictly applying only to the animal in its white winter coat). Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci ( April 15 1452 – May 2 1519 was an Italian Polymath, having been a scientist Mathematician, Engineer Lady with an Ermine is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, around 1489&ndash1490 Similarly, the Ermine portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First shows her with her pet ferret, who has been decorated with painted-on heraldic ermine spots. Heraldry in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms.
"The Ferreter's Tapestry" is a fifteenth-century tapestry from Burgundy, France now part of the Burrell Collection housed in the Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries. Burgundy (Bourgogne Burgund is a region historically situated in modern-day France and Switzerland, inhabited in turn by Celts ( Gauls) It shows a group of peasants hunting rabbits with nets and white ferrets.
"Pope Celestinus III Grants Privilege of Independence to the Spedale" painted by Domenico di Bartolo in 1443 shows a fashionable man with a colored pet ferret wearing a red collar on his shoulder. This image was reproduced in Renaissance Dress In Italy 1400-1500, by Jacqueline Herald, Bell & Hyman - ISBN 0-391-02362-4
Gaston Phoebus' Book Of The Hunt was written in approximately 1389 to explain how to hunt different kinds of animals, including how to use ferrets to hunt rabbits. Illustrations show how multicolored ferrets that are fitted with muzzles were used to chase rabbits out of their dens and into waiting nets.
Most airlines require advance booking for ferret travel, and may levy additional fees. Requirements concerning pet carrier size, weight, and construction may vary from airline to airline. In the U. S. , Delta Airlines is the only airline to allow ferrets in the cabin during a flight.
|Air Canada||Yes||No||No travel between December 19 and January 9 or between June 20 and September 10. Air Canada () is Canada 's largest Airline and Flag carrier. The airline founded in 1937 has had its corporate headquarters in Montreal Events 324 - Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor. Events 475 - Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople. Events 451 - Battle of Chalons: Flavius Aetius ' defeats Attila the Hun. Events 506 - The Bishops of Visigothic Gaul meet in the Council of Agde.||Travelling with your Pet|
|Delta Air Lines||Yes||Yes||Pets as Carry On|
|Luxair||Yes||Yes||Restrictions apply on flights to the UK. Delta Air Lines Inc ( is a United States Airline based and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Luxair (Luxair Société Luxembourgeoise de Navigation Aérienne SA is the Flag carrier Airline of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.||Travelling with animals|
|Northwest Airlines||Yes||No||Travel with pet|
|Ryanair||No||No||What is Ryanair's policy on the carriage of animals?|
|US Airways||No||No||US Airways does not allow pets as cargo because of the heat in some of their hub cities, such as Las Vegas. Northwest Airlines Inc (often abbreviated NWA) is the principal subsidiary Ryanair (,) is an Irish Airline with headquarters in Dublin and its biggest operational base at London Stansted Airport in the UK US Airways Inc is the fifth largest Airline in the United States.||US Airways - Pets in the Passenger Cabin|
|Southwest Airlines||No||No||Animals and Pets|
|Eurostar||No||No||Information on taking Pets and Guide dogs on Eurostar|
Ferrets are legal in most US states except, California, and Hawaii . Southwest Airlines Co ( is an American low-cost Airline based in Dallas Texas, with its largest focus city at Las Vegas ' McCarran Deutsche Bahn AG ( DB AG, DBAG or DB) is the German national Railway company Eurostar is a High-speed train service in Western Europe connecting London and Kent in the United Kingdom, with Paris A US state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of the United States of America that share Sovereignty with the federal government California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. The State of Hawaii ( or həˈwaɪʔiː Hawaiian: Mokuāina o Hawaii) is a state in the United States located on an Archipelago in the
Ferrets cannot be imported into Australia at all. A report drafted in August 2000 seems to be the only effort made to date to change the situation. 
Ferrets brought from anywhere except the US require a Permit to Import from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Animal Health Office. Role and responsibilities The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( French: Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments) or CFIA, was created in Ferrets from the US require only a vaccination certificate signed by a veterinarian. Ferrets under three months old are not subject to any restrictions for importation. 
As of July 2004, dogs, cats, and ferrets can travel freely within the European Union under the PETS travel scheme. The Pet Travel Scheme ("PETS" is a scheme which allows animals to travel easily between member countries without undergoing Quarantine. To cross a border within the EU, ferrets require at minimum an EU PETS passport and an identification microchip (though some countries will accept a tattoo instead). Vaccinations are also required; most countries require a rabies vaccine, and some also require a distemper vaccine and treatment for ticks and fleas 24 to 48 hours before entry. PETS travel information is available from any EU veterinarian or on government websites.
Although previously pet ferrets were allowed to be brought into Japan, that is no longer the case. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Individual pet ferrets cannot be brought into Japan without proper documents. However, licensed breeders such as Canadian Farms, PVF, Marshall's, etc. . . have a special agreement that still allows the import of those ferrets from those companies.
The UK accepts ferrets under the PETS travel scheme. Ferrets must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and documented. They must be treated for ticks and tapeworms 24 to 48 hours before entry. They must also arrive via an authorized route. Ferrets arriving from outside the EU may be subject to a six-month quarantine.