OVERVIEW OF FERRETS
Ferrets are members of the family Mustelidae, which include weasels,
mink, otters, skunk, ermines, fishers, and many others. Their closest
relative is the European polecat, and it is believed that the domestic
ferret is a direct descendant of this species. Domestic ferrets
should not be confused with the endangered Black Footed Ferret;
while their appearance is similar, the two animals are actually
only distant cousins of one another.
are domestic animals. They should not be classified as wild,
as ferrets have been domesticated since at least 4 BC and have since
lost all of their wild instincts and ability to survive in the wild.
In fact, if ferrets escape the safe confinement of your home, the
average length of time that your pet can survive is a mere three
to five days. They are most likely to die as a result of dehydration,
starvation, or being killed by a predator (due to the extremely
trusting nature of ferrets). Never let your ferret "free"
if you can no longer keep him! Use the services of a ferret shelter.
Ferrets are also not exotic pets. While many pet stores classify
ferrets as exotics, the definition of an exotic pet is one that
is also found in the wild. Because there are no wild colonies of
ferrets, to call ferrets exotic would be false. Ferrets are "companion
animals" just as cats and dogs are. (Note: if this issue were
to really be contested, ferrets are even more domesticated
than cats and dogs; cats and dogs can and do survive out of captivity).
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