A Brief History of Ferrets As Pets

M. K. Albus By M. K. Albus, 24th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Other

Keeping ferrets as pets seems to be a relatively new fad but they have actually been domesticated for a long time. Here is a brief summary of that history.

A History of the "Little Thief"

Although ferrets as pets is a relatively new development, they have in fact been domesticated for around two and a half thousand years. Although the earliest history is somewhat vague, it is believed that ferrets were first domesticated for use in hunting. It is believed that the first domesticated ferrets came from Northern Africa and were then spread throughout Europe. Romans used ferrets to hunt rabbits.

The word ferret comes from a Latin word meaning, "little thief." This is in reference to the common ferret's habit of secreting away small items. Pet ferret owners have realized this annoying little habit.

It is believed that today's common ferret derived from either the European polecat or the Steppe polecats, or perhaps from some hybrid combination of the two.

It has only been in the last 50 or so years that it has become popular to keep ferrets as pets. Ferrets have appeared in several Hollywood movies and this has increased popularity. It is illegal, however, to keep ferrets as pets in Iceland, Portugal, New Zealand, and parts of Australia.

Female ferrets are called Jills and males are called hobs. Young ferrets under the age of one are called kits. As ferrets become more popular as pets there is a need for information on how to raise them and keep them healthy. Many people are under the false impression that one can keep a ferret following the same information for keeping dogs or cats but ferrets definitely have their own specific care needs.


Animals, Ferrets, Mammals, Pet Care, Pet History, Pets

Meet the author

author avatar M. K. Albus
M. K. Albus is a freelance writer, editor and publisher who writes both opinion columns and informative non-fiction articles on food, environment and sustainability.

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