The domestic ferret is often called the "ferret", which is translated from Latin as "cunning" and "little thief."
It is understandable, the nature and behavior of these animals is extremely ambiguous. But in order to understand how this nimble animal will behave, you should understand the features of his temperament.
The character of the ferret is formed by about 4 months, at this age the animal is already amenable to training, knows what is possible and what is impossible, gets used to certain rules in the house. In this case, the pet begins to show the characteristics of his personality and temperament. Much depends on gender ...
It is worth saying right away that males and females behave differently. It is noted that females are more intellectually developed, they are more diligent, they are easier to train. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in nature, females raise puppies without the help of a male, therefore they are more flexible, cunning and able to adapt to different situations, unlike “husbands”.
But males are much calmer than females. Ladies are very active; they cannot sit still for 4 seconds. When buying such an animal, you must immediately be aware of whether such a temperament is right for you, whether you can keep track of the pet, which constantly strives to climb somewhere.
Will it suit you that she will rarely sit in her arms. And most importantly, will you be able to ensure her complete safety. As for the male, they are much more balanced. It is the males that are more often acquired as pets, since they are more attached to the owners. They can sit on their hands and knees for a long time, are able to take a nap or just stay next to the owner.
And sometimes males, like dogs, follow on the heels of their man. In other words, females are more interested in the surrounding world, while males are immersed in communication with the owner. Wisdom comes with age
The nature and behavior of ferrets largely depends on age. The young ferret is very active, he does not sit still for a second, all the time he strives somewhere and flickers. In adolescence, during puberty (from about 4 to 8 months), such an animal becomes less active, but it starts to become very impudent.
This is expressed in the desire to dominate the owner and pets, to do what is prohibited. With age, the ferret appears measured and even, if you want, wisdom. He is becoming calmer and smarter. At the same time, the ferret does not become less active, just this energy gets a more formalized form. It is interesting that playfulness and mischief remain until old age, and only when the animal can already be called "old" does it become less active.
During rutting even more active. In natural conditions of life, ferrets do not form flocks, while they maintain contact with relatives, communicating on the principle of domination-submission. In any group of animals, a ferret appears immediately, which becomes "main", this applies to both females and males. This behavior is most pronounced during the breeding season. That is why in the conditions of home keeping, animals during this period become more naughty and obstinate. Mating with ferrets is a rather sharp process.
The male does not care for the female in any way, but simply bites her scruff when she is ready to mate, and makes a coitus. The female at the same time resists, makes discontented sounds. Most often, this process looks like a fight. At the same time, the male’s sexual activity is so high that, at home, he is ready to mate with anything — with toys, clothes, blankets, etc. Bad character traits
Almost all ferrets are distinguished by the presence of qualities that most hosts will call "negative." One of these vices is stubbornness. If the animal wants something, then it is almost impossible to stop it. You can block his path to the desired, but this does not always save the situation, because ferrets are incredibly agile and can even crawl into a very small hole.
For example, weaning a pet to dig the earth in flower pots is almost impossible. Ferrets do not just tear the soil, they knock over the plant along with the container to the floor. Weaning an animal from this is impossible. To save all home flowers, they need to be statically fixed, cover the soil with a lid, and the ferret should provide a container with a filler, which is not a pity to give to tear.
Another not very good quality ferret can be called his excessive curiosity. Multiply this trait by stubbornness and indefatigable activity, and you will get a creature that strives to crawl everywhere and visit everywhere. Despite the fact that the physique of such tetrapods allows you to penetrate even the narrowest holes, you need to almost constantly monitor it so that nothing happens.
At the same time, the ferret's fearlessness is a good and disastrous quality. He is practically not afraid of anything! Such a creature, with its frankly small size, is ready to enter into a fight even with a large dog. He quickly climbs to the highest surfaces, despite the fact that he is completely unable to climb down. Such fearlessness, as a rule, results in injuries and other serious troubles.
The ferret is not at all afraid to get into the water tank, and this despite the fact that he almost never manages to get out of it. As a rule, getting into such a situation, the animal swims in a circle until it drowns, exhausted. Still, such animals often die from electric shocks when, without looking back, they start to bite the wires. It also happens that they die in washing machines.
Before you become a master of a ferret you need to think carefully about whether you are ready to endure his indefatigable temperament, stubbornness and activity. In addition, honestly evaluate your capabilities, whether you will be so careful that the ferret’s curiosity does not turn into a tragedy for him.
If all this is within your power, then acquiring a ferret, you will receive not only an interesting animal, but also a very loving pet.
Who is a ferret, how to keep it and how to feed it
Who is a ferret? What is the difference between its content at home from the usual dogs and cats? What is it fed with? What care is needed? In this article I will try to answer the most common questions of future and novice homeowners.
Ferret (ferret, furo) - a small predator of the marten family, has long won the hearts of people in many countries of the world, and the popularity of these pets is growing every year. These animals have a developed mind, exotic appearance and original, incomparable character. The ferret in the house will never let his master get bored, this little introduce yourself to the marten becomes a member of the family for many years!
Many people sincerely believe that the ferret belongs to the rodent family. This naive fallacy would have caused a smile among connoisseurs, if not for the sad tendency - more and more adherents of the rodent ferret theory are buying these animals and keeping them in accordance with their ideas about keeping mice, rats and rabbits. Unhappy predators are stuffed with porridge, vegetables, kept in aquariums, in tiny cages. In such conditions, ferrets die very quickly.
Therefore, the first thing to learn, the ferret is a predator, moreover, a strict (obligatory) predator. The ferret must eat raw meat (or special food), move a lot and actively, communicate with the owner - these are necessary conditions for the full life of the animal.
Ferrets are often mistakenly called honorics. It is not right. Honoriki (a hybrid of a ferret and European mink) were bred at the end of the 70s for experimental purposes, but neither decorative (due to their poor nature) nor fur animals (due to breeding difficulties) were found. There are only a handful of true Honorics, so all animals touted as mysterious Honorics are nothing more than the most common ferrets.
Many other misconceptions and myths about ferrets that characterize them as ferocious killers also have nothing to do with reality. The ferret is a surprisingly affectionate animal, sincerely attached both to the owner and to all members of the family.
The smell of a ferret is not at all as strong and pungent as the average people think. They only heard the saying "smelly, like a ferret," but I dare to assure you - this statement applies exclusively to uncastrated males during the rut (mating season). Females and neutered males smell no stronger than a normal well-groomed cat. With timely cleaning, your guests will not even feel that a couple of ferrets live in the apartment.
Ferrets can secrete the secretion of the pranal glands, which has a very unpleasant odor, but this is extremely rare, with strong excitement or fear. Ferrets are categorically not recommended to remove the ductal glands, since apart from torment, it does not bring the ferret anything, and the specific smell of the skin is in no way connected with the activity of these organs.
Without exception, all ferrets at a young age can bite. Thus, they gain their place in the group of relatives, they check you on the subject "who is the main ferret in the family." With proper upbringing, such bites are more likely to have a game motive than an aggressive one, and quickly disappear. Aggression, on the other hand, can be shown only by non-socialized animals that did not know until the purchase of human hands, proper care and upbringing.
Before deciding to buy a ferret, think carefully. We do not recommend purchasing ferrets:
- people with preschool children or planning to have a baby in the near future (according to statistics, this group of owners most often gets rid of a ferret sooner or later),
- allergy sufferers (although allergies to ferrets are much less common than to cats, you should consult your doctor before purchasing),
- having hunting breeds in the content of the dogs (ferrets get along well with other dogs and cats),
- to owners of rodents and birds (this is a natural prey for ferrets, even with separate keeping animals will experience stress),
- to those who cannot devote enough time to the ferret,
- elderly people who lead a calm and measured lifestyle (ferret is a very active animal),
- to people who do not have adequate housing and material conditions (ferret is not an animal for cage, and veterinary services are not cheap)
The optimal age for buying a ferret is from 2 to 5 months, although there are no upper limits. It is rather risky to buy animals under 2 months of age - if during the breeding of the female or during the period of raising the puppies (namely, the so-called little ferrets) the breeder made even the slightest mistakes in keeping or feeding, this will not slow down. You can bring home a completely healthy-looking baby, and after a few days he will stop moving actively, the legs will begin to move apart, the chest and spine will begin to deform rapidly, partial paralysis develops. This is RAKHIT. Such a ferret can die very quickly or remain disabled for life. The treatment of this disease is expensive and lengthy, not always with guaranteed success.
Therefore - do not save on buying a ferret. Too low an animal price should alert you. Remember that breeding ferrets is an expensive hobby, a responsible breeder puts a lot of effort, time and money into puppies, which, of course, affects its value.
The best place to make a furry friend is with a club breeder. You will receive advice, a guarantee of after-sales support, documents for animals, literature and some other "bonuses". By signing the contract of sale, you will be able to exchange or return the animal.
If you buy a ferret in questionable places - markets, newspaper ads - know that you are buying a "pig in a poke." To our deep regret, and pet stores are not far away from the notorious "Birds." But most importantly, a professional and responsible breeder will NEVER hand over his animals to such points of sale. Remember this and draw conclusions.
With the purchase of a healthy beast and its proper content, the ferret is able to live 10-12 years, until old age without losing its cheerfulness and playfulness.
But to buy a ferret is half the battle. For maintenance, he will need a lot of everything at once.
Ferret cage and accessories
It is possible to keep a ferret in an apartment freely (like a cat) and half free (closing at night and during absence). But, in any case, a ferret cage is needed. This is his house, only his full territory. The cage should have its bowl, a ball or nipple drinker hanging (ferrets pour water from the bowls), a tray (angular or rectangular), a hammock, a house or bedding to be buried with in the head (often owners use obsolete things : linen, old sweaters, towels). All kinds of shelves, ladders, pipes will expand the useful area of the cage, give the ferret the possibility of full physical activity.
Ferrets, unlike cats, are often not limited to one tray; it makes sense to put trays in each room where the animal has access. The filler is suitable only absorbent, in no case clumping. Many owners do not use filler at all.
With half-free keeping, the minimum size of a cage for a ferret is about 60x80x45 cm, while with a free one it is smaller. But the principle "the more the better" in this case is justified. The cage must be securely locked, the step of the cells (rods) is not more than 3 cm. The cage can be placed both in the room and on the closed balcony, loggia. Even in winter, in the presence of a warm house, the ferret will not freeze (make sure that the water in the drinker does not freeze). It is strictly unacceptable to place the cage next to heating appliances, in the sun, in a draft. The ferret may die from overheating.
Remember that it is absolutely impossible to keep a ferret in a cage at all times! At least 3-4 hours a day, the ferret should enjoy freedom.
Like any child, a ferret needs toys. But rubber and fur toys can be dangerous for a ferret - purchase plastic or latex. There are pipes and tunnels for ferrets on sale, on which animals are very fond of running. Often ferrets and their owners prefer "improvised means" instead of toys - socks, rustling bags, old slippers. A box of sand or grains for digging will satisfy their natural passion for this occupation.
To transport a ferret from the place of purchase to the house, as well as for subsequent trips to the veterinarian, for walks, to visit, etc. you will need to carry it. Optimally suitable for this purpose are plastic carrying bags for cats. Carrying fabric ferret quickly becomes unusable.
Ferret in the house
Ferrets are extremely curious creatures; nothing in your house will be left without their attention. Although they sleep 18 hours a day, but during wakefulness they "come off completely." Therefore, it is necessary to examine the apartment for possible accidents.
All slots and openings where the ferret can climb must be either closed or enlarged so that the ferret is not stuck in them. Indoor plants that stand on the floor or within reach will be instantly torn. Punishing a ferret for such a "mess" is absolutely useless, it is better to raise flowers in advance to the required height. Moreover, many plants can be poisonous. The ferret does not know how to jump up, but he can easily climb on a bedspread or upholstery.
The overwhelming majority of ferrets do not spoil the wallpaper, furniture and bite the wire, but they have a passion for rubber objects - bath mats, buttons from the remote control and phones and many other objects can be damaged. But the big danger lies in the fact that swallowed pieces of rubber or other non-digestible material can cause intestinal obstruction - one of the most common causes of death of ferrets. At the slightest suspicion of an obstruction of the intestine, URGENTLY consult a veterinarian.
During harvesting, it is best to close the ferret in a cage, otherwise it will begin to “help” you intensely, pour a bucket, drink water with detergents (it is better to remove household chemicals away and higher).
If you are folding and unfolding furniture, make sure that there is a ferret in another place, sitting down on the bed, be careful - the animal can sleep soundly under the covers.
Falls from windows, balconies occur so often that it is scary to call numbers. Close the windows, leaving the ferret unattended, close all the cracks on the balcony, move the furniture over which the ferret can climb up from the open windows, close the window with a reliable net (the usual “mosquito” ferret can easily “dig out”).
If you have a front-loading washing machine, be sure to check if the ferret is sleeping in the drum before washing. Unfortunately, there were cases when shocked owners got not only laundry out of a typewriter.
Fans, bare wires, open type heaters, faulty electrical appliances pose a danger not only to the animal, but also to humans. ferret, furo Ferrets - little thieves and drag everything that is bad. This is not so bad - any sloven master is very quickly accustomed to the ideal order! It is not difficult to find the stolen - usually ferrets make 2-3 permanent "nest egg".
Ferrets love to dig in the trash, are able to learn how to open drawers and doors, so access to the kitchen is best restricted.
Since the ferret is a very smart animal, this list of dangers is far from complete, it is impossible to predict everything, but it is worth keeping your eyes open. If a ferret is not able to do something today, this does not mean that he will not learn it tomorrow!
All ferret owners need to have a minimum first-aid kit at home (liquid paraffin, hydrogen peroxide, bandages, activated carbon, etc.) and telephones of veterinary clinics (far from all clinics have experience in treating ferrets, refer only to reputable specialists). Never self-medicate! All diseases in ferrets proceed rapidly, do not delay a visit to the veterinarian.
Walking with a ferret, trips to nature, to the country
Obligatory walking is not required, to walk with the animal or not, the owner decides for himself. But for walking you need a reliable harness, to which you need to train a ferret in advance. Remember some simple rules:
You can walk with a ferret only after vaccination!
To lower the ferret from the leash is a huge risk, the animal may be irretrievably lost.
Do not let the ferret eat and even sniff the waste products of other animals, litter.
Do not walk with a ferret in dog walking areas.
Do not walk on playgrounds - small children can be bitten by a ferret, which is fraught with big trouble (in the absence of vaccinations against rabies, your animal can be removed and euthanized by law). Young children can also accidentally injure a ferret.
When traveling by car, do not leave the ferret in the car - if the car is in the sun, the animal may die in a few minutes.
When traveling, you need to take a ferry with water for the ferret. If it does not attach directly to the carrier, offer the ferret to drink as often as he needs.
At the cottage or in nature, do not let the ferret walk on his own, even if it seems to you that he already knows this territory perfectly, in 99% of cases he will be lost.
To keep the ferret in the open air, you can build a closed pen, it must be either with the floor or dug 50-60 cm into the ground (ferrets are capable of undermining such that Count Monte Cristo would die of envy). But do not forget about thieves.
The steppe ferret is large in comparison with other representatives of the marten family. An adult has an elongated body and short legs, so the predator climbs well in holes. The body length of the steppe polecat can reach 60 cm, and weight - up to 2 kg. Males are usually larger than females and have a more fluffy tail.
The hair of the animal is long, but it does not differ in density. A light undercoat is visible through the outer hair, which is easy to notice even in the photo. The skin of these predators is of low value for hunters, although the wall ferret is sometimes bred on farms for the sake of a fur coat.
Appearance of the steppe ferret
The color of these animals depends on the habitat and season. Sometimes, due to the shedding process and natural conditions, the steppe hori can radically differ in their color. However, all representatives of this species have common features. The following characteristics are characteristic of predator hair:
- The hairline is darker at the ends and lighter closer to the body.
- The undercoat is light. Common shades are beige, white, sand and coffee with milk.
- The muzzle has a pronounced dark mask.
- Paws, tail tip and stomach are the darkest parts. Color can be almost black.
The presence of a bright dark mask on a white face is considered a distinctive sign in the description of the steppe ferret, however, absolutely white individuals are also found among this type of animal.
Usually, the cause of the appearance of the White Steppe Chorea is the absence of melanin in the body. Due to the popularity of this phenomenon, albinos are considered a separate subspecies of this predator.
The original habitat of the steppe ferret (steppe horek) is considered to be Western, Eastern and Central Europe. Also, these animals can be found throughout Asia. The subspecies is widespread in countries such as:
The predator prefers to settle in open areas, in contrast to forest species.
This animal can be found in the steppe, at the edge of the forest and in the pasture. In the settled areas, the ferret is found much less frequently and does not fit the human dwelling unnecessarily.
It is noteworthy that the appearance of such a predatory animal largely depends on the habitat. Thus, ferrets in Western and Eastern Europe have a darker color and a larger body, while Asian predators can be smaller and lighter.
Such a large range of steppe trochees is due to several factors:
- Predators can adapt to any meat in the wild. Ferrets in the north eat rabbits and birds, while southern subspecies calmly feed on lizards and large insects.
- Predators are highly intelligent, so they often stock up on food. This helps ferrets survive the cold season.
- The dense undercoat allows the animals to maintain body temperature and protects them equally well from heat and cold.
- The maneuverability and flexibility of the body helps ferrets avoid large enemies, and sharp teeth provide predators with a victory in a fight against animals such as gophers, foxes and badgers.
The greatest danger at the moment for the population of these animals is the deforestation and the development of the steppes. Even intensive hunting does not harm this breed as much as the development of new territories.
Despite the high population and wide distribution, some subspecies of these animals were on the verge of extinction. Since 1996, the Amur steppe ferret is in the Red Book of Russia, and zoologists are currently engaged in the divorce of these predators.
Steppe Ferret Ration
Representatives of this species of mustelids are nocturnal animals. The steppe ferret goes hunting at dusk, and in the afternoon it is slept in a hole. The body structure of these animals has a feature: a very short intestinal tract. Because of this, ferrets have an increased metabolism. Active hunting animals compensate for a long sleep. In the wild, the animal can sleep up to 18 hours, and in the remaining time to hunt, go around the territory and make supplies.
To obtain food in the dark, ferrets help night vision and dexterity. Animals easily catch rodents, chasing victims and breaking their burrows.
The ferret is an obligate predator and can not eat anything except meat. Typically, the diet of the animal are such animals:
- hamsters, mice and rats in the steppes,
- amphibians and lizards,
- birds and eggs
Sometimes a ferret can hunt snakes, but the predator does not have resistance to poisons. At home, steppe ferret can be given veal, boiled chicken and fresh fish. It is forbidden to feed these animals with food for cats or dogs, as well as soy. The ferret's stomach does not digest meat substitutes, so the predator can die.
In natural conditions, the Steppe trochees do not have many natural enemies. They include wolves, foxes and wild dogs. Also, birds of prey such as eagles, owls and hawks can hunt animals. However, these predators do not pose a serious threat to the animal population. Ferrets have good physical characteristics that allow them to slip out of the claws of the enemy. Also, small predators have special glands that emit a pungent odor. This feature of the body protects animals from enemies such as foxes, as it greatly knocks down the trail. In addition, the animals have a good birth rate, so the natural reduction in the number of ferrets is not a problem.
Steppe ferret in the wild
A much greater danger to the steppe ferret is widespread landfills and buildings. The animal cannot adapt to similar living conditions and often perishes from garbage. Curious ferrets rummage around in heaps or crawl into technical pipes, after which they choke on them. That is why some subspecies of the representatives of the marten family were on the verge of extinction.
Breeding steppe ferret
Before starting the mating process, the female seeks shelter. Steppe hori use burrows of their victims or abandoned houses of larger rodents as dwellings. Predators do not like to dig holes on their own, preferring to eat gophers living in them, and then equip the room to their liking. Usually, the passage widens for this, but the camera remains intact. The ferret's entrance to the hole reaches 12 cm in diameter, while the gopher is characterized by a size of 6 cm.
Ferret rutting period falls at the end of February or the beginning of March. The body of these animals is designed so that with a prolonged estrus the animal can die, therefore, at home, the non-tribal pet should be sterilized. Mating ferrets looks quite aggressive: the male bites and drags the female very strongly at the withers, animals can injure each other. With a successful mating, estrus ceases and the female carries the young for 40 days. Offspring of trochees are born in May or July.
Nora before childbirth is insulated with dry grass and leaves. Puppies are born blind, naked and cannot take care of themselves. Female ferrets are very caring and practically do not leave the nest in the first months of their life. The puppy's eyes open by the end of the fourth week, after which the mother gradually transfers the ferrets to meat food. The first hunt in young animals usually occurs at the end of the third month.
Hunting and habitat
In winter, he often settles in barns, uninhabited buildings and stables. In the evening he leaves his shelter and goes hunting for hares, rabbits, quails, lizards, snakes, frogs and other small animals, poultry from the size of a pigeon to the size of a turkey, he also does not let go and especially likes to drink eggs.
Having climbed into the house, he strangles the entire population if possible, and pursues wild rabbits so persistently that one family of ferrets is enough to noticeably reduce the number of rabbits in the shortest possible time.
In Central Europe, the ferret has now begun to occur, however, much less frequently and is kept mainly in the inaccessible places of the dense forest. In the Alps, it rises in summer much higher than the border of forests. In abandoned rabbit minks, in cracked rocks or in heaps of stones covered with bushes and tall herbaceous plants, the female makes a nest in which she mosques in April or May, less often in early July, from 3 to 8, usually 4-6 cubs.
Young ferrets taken on time can be trained to hunt rabbits.
A ferret is a small predatory animal of the marten family, belonging to the genus of weasels and ferrets.
Description of the ferret and its main characteristics
Like most representatives of marten, the ferret has a flexible long body, which, thanks to its short legs, looks very squat. Despite the size, the legs of the animal have sufficient strength, which allows it to jump perfectly and feel great in the water. And long ferret nails are a great tool for digging holes and moving around trees.
The male is larger than the female (the length of his body is about 50 cm). The weight of the animal depends on what species it belongs to. On average, an adult ferret can weigh between 0.3 and 2 kg. The head of the animal is small, elongated and oval, the muzzle becomes dull with a neat, short nose. Due to the long and flexible neck, the animal is very swivel. One of the most striking features of a ferret can be called its fluffy long tail, the length of which reaches up to 18 cm.
The color of the animal’s fur is different and depends on its type. In nature, ferrets with a coat of sandy light tones, as well as almost black representatives of the species, are found. The fur itself is pleasant to the touch and thick, the outer hair is darker at the end. The animal’s fur coat looks very attractive in autumn, when the molting period ends - then it glistens and shimmers in the sun.
Despite the very cute appearance, the ferret is able to stand up for itself well. To scare away enemies, he uses a special secret with an unpleasant pungent odor, secreted by glands located near the tail. Thanks to its well-developed sense of smell, the ferret is an excellent hunter, capable of smelling his prey from afar. Another weapon of the animal is its sharp teeth with a couple of fangs on each jaw. How long does a ferret live in different conditions? In the wild, the animal rarely lives longer than 4 years, while in captivity its life span increases to 7 years.
Ferret spread in the world
Where does the ferret live and how does he behave in his natural environment? Ferrets have chosen semi-deserts, steppes and sparse forests for life in the wild. Sometimes these animals can be found even in settlements. As for the geography of the predator's habitat, it is very extensive - it is all the countries of Europe, Central and Central Asia, the north-western part of Africa, the USA and even New Zealand (the animal was brought here specially to destroy hordes of mice and rats). Ferrets do not live in dense forests and in open areas. They are very attached to the house, hunt exclusively at night and most often equip their homes in the burrows of other steppe inhabitants. They can also set up a shelter in haystacks, in the hollows of old trees, firewood, etc.
Natural enemies of this brisk animal are predators, having larger sizes - these are lynxes, wolves, foxes. Golden eagles and eagle owls can also hunt it. Often ferrets are exterminated by people for whom the animal is valuable because of its beautiful fluffy fur coat.
Steppe ferret (it is also called white, or light ferret) - has a large body (grows up to 56 cm), weighs about 2 kg, tail grows up to 18 cm.The network hair of such an animal is long, but not dense, has a brownish color, a lighter dense undercoat shines through it. The light muzzle of the animal is covered with a dark mask, its tail and paws also have a darker color.
The food of the steppe predator cannot be called monotonous - its diet consists of meat of smaller animals, such as pika, gopher, mice, frogs, snakes, hamsters. Sometimes the ferret preys on birds and amphibians. In the winter season, the diet becomes more scarce, and field mice are its basis. In addition, the ferret does not disdain food waste, which is extracted near human dwellings, as well as carrion. If the animal has plenty of food, then he tries not to come close to the settlements, so as not to meet people. This nocturnal predator is highly fertile, its female is able to bring offspring in the amount of up to 16-18 cubs.
Light ferrets live mainly in eastern Europe - in Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova, and Bulgaria. They can also be found in the steppe and semi-steppe regions of Russia, in the countries of Central and Central Asia, in eastern China. A subspecies of the steppe ferret (unique) is the Amur steppe ferret, distinguished by its color (yellow and light shades predominate in it). Such a predator lives, mainly in the north-eastern part of China, also found in the steppes of the Middle Amur.
An ordinary ferret, it is also forest, black or dark - has a more modest size than its closest steppe relative (body length rarely exceeds 45 cm), the weight of the animal ranges from 0.4-1.5 kg. Dark ferret females are even smaller. The color of limbs and torso does not sharply contrast, the legs, poduberki and tail of such an animal are almost black, while the rest is black and brown. On the face of the predator flaunts a characteristic dark mask. Often in nature you can find animals of a red color, as well as completely white individuals.
What does an ordinary ferret eat? The basis of his diet is field mice. He also hunts frogs, snakes, small birds (he especially loves their eggs), he does not disdain animals and insects (locusts, grasshoppers). If a predator lives next to a human dwelling, it can prey on poultry and rabbits. The offspring of the forest ferret is small - the female rarely gives more than 6 cubs. These animals live in the European part of Russia, in the countries of Western Europe and Eurasia. Dark ferrets prefer to equip their own dwellings in the forest and groves. At one time, the black ferret was brought to New Zealand, where to this day it successfully exterminates mice and rats.
Ferret - domestic ferret
The ferret, known as the African and domestic ferret, is a black ferret that was domesticated at one time. However, this animal can have any color, including brown and white, or have a coat of combined color. The size of the animal is quite solid when compared with its relatives (average body length is 51 cm, with a weight in the range of 0.7-2 kg). The ferret is often crossed with wild ferrets (a hybrid of animals is called "choreret").
It was in this way that the Golden Ferret, the first breed of Russian origin, was bred. The animal is large in size, but its main feature is a silky dense fur coat with a bright underfur of orange. The body length of the male Golden Ferret is 46 cm, females of this species do not exceed a length of 39 cm.
Blackfoot, or American ferret - this predator is quite rare, and is currently protected by US law as an endangered species. The male has a length of up to 41 cm, his weight ranges from 0.6-1 kg. The fur of the animal has a white color at the very base, while its tips are dark. Paws and tail of the predator are dark, the muzzle is decorated with a characteristic mask. The animal lives in the central regions of the United States. The diet of the black-footed ferret consists of field mice, gophers. However, the main food of a predator, without the presence of which its survival in the natural environment is unthinkable, is meadow dogs.
Ferret lifestyle, habits and nutrition
Due to some features of the body, namely the absence of the cecum, the ferret's body does very poorly with the absorption of plant foods. That is why these animals are predators, and feed mainly on small rodents, birds and their eggs, amphibians and even insects. The ferret is quite belligerent, it fearlessly attacks such representatives of the animal world as gophers and muskrats. To survive the winter - a time when it is especially difficult to get food, ferrets prepare food supplies in their home in advance.
Ferrets hunt in different ways, but their favorite method is to watch their victim right at the entrance to her shelter, and suddenly attack. Often, future food has to be pursued for quite some time, not only by land, but also by water. In conditions of hunger, ferrets become unpretentious, and enjoy the carrion or the remnants of food thrown away by people with pleasure.
An interesting fact: most of the “crimes” that are often attributed to the ferret (this is an attack on domestic animals, birds and the ruin of chicken nests) are actually committed by much more dangerous predators - fox, weasel and marten.
As for the breeding season of predators, it depends on the environment in which a particular species of ferret lives. In general, it begins in February and lasts until the end of summer. For example, steppe ferrets begin their mating games in early spring, the race of forest ferrets can begin in April and continue until the end of June. At the age of about 10-12 months, these predators become sexually mature, while their mating is carried out without special mating rituals. It looks rather aggressive: despite the active resistance of the female, the male roughly grabs her teeth by the scruff, after which her withers remain bitten and battered for some time.
The gestation period for a female ferret is quite short and is only 1.5 months. The number of offspring depends on the type of animal (on average, the female leads from 4 to 18 cubs, weighing no more than 10 g). Breastfeeding the offspring stays no longer than 2.5 months, and at the age of 4 months, children begin to eat meat. Young ferrets become hunters at about the age of six months, while the female first accompanies them. After mastering all the skills necessary for survival, predators begin an independent life.
Interesting Ferret Facts
Despite the reputation of the predator, the ferret is a pretty cute animal that is not able to cause significant harm to humans. Interesting facts about the animal:
- Some people believe that a ferret is a rodent, although in fact it is a carnivorous carnivore.
- Ferrets are very nimble and dexterous animals that can easily enter any place, making their way even through the narrowest gaps.
- The hair of the animal has a pleasant musky smell.
- The little ferret, just born, fits easily in a teaspoon.
- Ferret, despite the energy and high activity, is able to sleep up to 20 hours, completely falling into a deep sleep.
- In a moment of danger, the animal exudes a pungent unpleasant odor that can scare away any aggressor.
- The ferret was first tamed by a man about 2,000 years ago. Initially, these animals were used by people to hunt rabbits.
Now you all know about ferrets, about the ferret’s lifestyle and his habits.
Read also our articles: here about the forest cat.