Ferret vs the pet ferrets
The black footed ferret
(Mustela nigripes) is a small carnivorous weasel found in
North American prairies. It is a member of the weasel
family (Mustelidae) which also includes mink, polecats,
martens, otters, skunk and badgers. It should not be
confused with its close relative the domesticated ferret.
The Black Footed Ferret is an endangered species in North
Pet ferrets (Musteia putorius furo) are a
domesticated pet. They are not a wild animal, though ferrets are
descendants of the European polecat (weasel) and are,
therefore, close relatives of the black tooted ferret, skunks, mink, otters, and
There are several varieties of ferrets,
based on coloration. Fitch ferrets (the most popular) are
buff-colored, with black masks, feet and tails. Albino
ferrets are white, with pink eyes. There is also the Siamese
ferret. The female ferret is called a "jill", while the male
is called a "hob". Babies are "kits".
The gestation period of ferrets is 42-44
days (average, 42 days). The average litter size is 8
(range, 2-17). Kits are born deaf, with their eyes closed.
Their eyes open and they begin to hear between 3 and 5 weeks
of age. Their deciduous ("temporary") teeth begin to erupt
at 2 weeks of age, at which time they begin to eat solid
food. Kits generally are weaned onto commercial kitten chow
at 4-8 weeks of age. Kits reach their adult weight at 4
months of age. Males are typically twice the size of
females, but both sexes undergo periodic weight
fluctuations. it is not uncommon for the average ferret to
add 30-40% of its body weight in fat deposited beneath the
skin in the fall, and lose this fat the following spring.
The average life span of ferrets is 9-10 years.
This information is taken from
At Cub Creek Science Camp ferrets are one
of our most popular small mammals. They are lively and
friendly and love a lot of attention. During the
summer at Science Camp the campers spend a lot of time with
our ferrets. The ferrets that we have at Science Camp
are named Cadabra, Cinnamon, Casper, Lucy, and HocusPocus.
More information on Ferrets