The Ferret Owners Manual

COMMON BEHAVIOR

Background – First, the domestic ferret is not a “tamed wild animal” any more than a

Poodle or Persian cat. The ferret is a separate species from its wild cousins; the weasel, mink, and its very distant cousin, the native, American Black-Footed Ferret. The ferret has been domesticated, according to some scholars, for over 2500 years. As a result, the ferret has lost most of its ability to survive in the wild and depends totally on humans for its survival. If released outside, he would very likely starve to death within a week, if not first killed by a neighbor’s dog, or a hawk, or run over by a car.

Ferrets have personalities that vary as widely as do humans. Compared with the more common household pets, the ferret’s personality could be said to be somewhere between the dog and the cat in overall behavior. It is not as demanding for attention as the dog, nor is it as aloof and independent as the cat. Like the dog, the ferret can be trained to come to his name and to do “tricks.” Unlike the dog, it does not have to be walked, and makes little noise. Unlike the cat, it retains his playful “kittenish” behavior all of his life.

In many ways, having a ferret in your home is a lot like having a 2 year-old child (often known as the “terrible twos.”) Put away the breakables; hide the small valuables; put everything easily movable that you want to protect, up and out of reach.


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