5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Ferrets

Ferrets are becoming a more popular pet, but they still aren’t as common as other animals. How much do you know about them? Here are 5 fun things you never knew about ferrets.

#1 – Ferret means “little thief” in Latin

The word “ferret” is derived from the Latin furittus, which means “little thief.” It’s likely a reference to the habit of ferrets to steal and hide small items.

#2 – They’ve been domesticated for more than 2500 years

They were used to help control rodent populations. They were especially popular in the American West from 1860 to the beginning of World War II to protect grain stores.

#3 – Ferrets are obligate carnivores

Image source: CheepShot via flickr

Just like cats, ferrets need meat in their diet in order to survive. They were domesticated from the European polecat, which eats whole small prey, including the meat, organs, bones, skin, feathers, and fur. They also have a very high metabolism and need to eat every few hours in order to survive.

#4 – Helsinki, Finland, uses them to control rabbits

In 2009, Helsinki began using ferrets to restrict the city’s rabbit population. Ferreting was chosen over shooting the rabbits as it was seen to be safer and less ecologically damaging.

#5 – A group of ferrets is called a “business”

Image source: Sonja via flickr

Intact male ferrets are called hobs, neutered males are gibs, and vasectomised males are known as hoblets. Intact females are called jills and spayed females are sprites. Ferrets under a year old are referred to as kits.

 

(H/T: Wikipedia)