Ferret Definition | Characteristics & Facts


Ferret Definition

A ferret is a domesticated mammal belonging to the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, stoats (ermines), minks, and otters.

Ferret General Characteristics & Facts


Ferrets are small to medium-sized mammals, typically measuring between 13 to 18 inches (33 to 45 cm) in length, with an additional 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) for their tail. They can weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 4 pounds (0.7 to 1.8 kg).


In captivity, ferrets can live around 6 to 10 years, though some can live even longer with proper care.


Ferrets have been domesticated for thousands of years, primarily for their hunting abilities and as companions.

Social Animals

Ferrets are highly social creatures and thrive on interaction with both their human owners and other ferrets.


Ferrets communicate through various vocalizations, such as chirping, hissing, and even screaming. They also use body language, like dancing and hopping, to express excitement or engage in play.

Hunting Instinct

Due to their ancestry as hunters, ferrets have a strong prey drive and might chase after small animals, including household pets like birds or rodents.

Digging Behavior

In their natural environment, ferrets would dig burrows to sleep and hide. As pets, they may exhibit digging behavior, so providing them with suitable bedding and opportunities for digging can help satisfy this instinct.

Lifelong Learners

Ferrets are intelligent animals and can learn tricks and commands with consistent training.

Scent Glands

Like other members of the Mustelidae family, ferrets have scent glands, which they use for marking territory and communication.

Seasonal Coat Changes

Ferrets can undergo a seasonal change in their coat color, becoming lighter in the summer and darker in the winter.

Read our Animals Encyclopedia with Complete Facts

Scientific Classification of Ferret

The domestic ferret, also known by its scientific name, is classified as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Mustelidae

Genus: Mustela

Species: Mustela putorius furo

Key Locations of Ferret

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • European Countries
  • Asian Countries

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FAQs Ferret

What does Ferret eat?

  • Commercial Ferret Food
  • High-Protein Foods
  • Raw Meat
  • Ferret-Specific Treats
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