1. A ferret’s life span is from 6 to 8 years on average, but they have been known to live for as long as 11 to 12 years.
  2. Female ferrets are called jills, males are known as hobs and baby ferrets are called kits. Spayed females are sometimes referred to as sprites and neutered males as gibs. A group of ferrets are referred to as a “business of ferrets”.
  3. Female ferrets tend to be smaller in length and weight, usually being 13 to 14 inches long and weighing between 0.75 and 2.5 pounds. Males on average are 15 to 16 inches long and weigh between 2 to 3.5 pounds if neutered and 4 or more pounds if not neutered.
  4. Ferrets sleep a lot, usually about 18 hours a day. They are typically active at dawn and at dusk but most ferrets will adapt their sleeping and active times to fit their owner’s schedule.
  5. Ferrets love to play and are very entertaining to watch.
  6. Ferrets have a keen sense of smell and hearing which helps to compensate for their relatively poor eyesight.
  7. Ferrets have a reputation for being smelly. It is true that ferrets have a distinctly musky odor about them, however, it is not overpowering nor offensive. The musky odor comes from the ferret’s skin glands and is present whether the ferret has been descented or not. Occasional baths are permitted but too much bathing will dry out the ferret’s skin, causing the skin glands to produce more oils which in turn will make the scent stronger.
  8. In North America, ferrets are usually descented, which involves removal of the scent glands. Although their scent glands are similar to those found in skunks, the secretions are milder, the smell dissipates quickly and is easily washed off. Unlike the skunk, ferrets do not spray their scents. The routine removal of the ferret’s scent glands in North America is now being questioned since the musky odor of the ferret is not due to the scent glands and the odor does not present a big problem.
  9. The name ferret comes from the Latin furonem which means thief. A well-deserved name, since ferrets will happily steal anything they can get their paws on and hide it in their owner’s home.
  10. Ferrets come from the same family, (Mustelidae), as badgers, wolverines, mink, weasels, otter, polecats and black footed ferrets. Their distant ancestry is somewhat of a mystery but they are very closely related to the European polecat.