Some Ferret History

Now for a little ferret history, so you know your little furry friend inside and out. Ferrets are from the Mustelidae family, which is also the family of otters, badgers, skunks, minks, sables and the weasel; they are also referred to as Mustela furo.


A famous wild relative of the ferret that can be found in the USA is the black-footed ferret, known as Mustela nigrapes, they are on the endangered species register and is not really considered as a ancestor of the domestic ferret. There are some sable domestic ferrets that have black feet, but these are not related to the rear black-footed ferret.


Ferrets have risen in popularity steadily since the 1970’s, before this they were mainly used for their rat catching skills, as they got more known more people learned about them and they got very popular domestically.


Ferrets have been in the USA for over 300 years, primarily used in the 1800’s as rodent catchers, they would accompany the ferretmeister to farms where he would release them to find the small holes other rodents made and clear out the rats. As the rats came running out of their holes people would be waiting with shovels and terriers dogs where they would kill as many as they could. Ferrets leave a scent that rats are afraid of usually causing them to flea, it is this benefit that would push farmers to keep ferrets on their premises and allow them to run around travelling through the rat holes.


Today there are many specialised ferret products, there are ferret magazines, ferret catalogues, ferret clubs, newsletters and countless websites, and there are even specialist ferret veterinarian clinics. Ferrets compete for grooming competitions, they wear costumes and compare colours, there are even competitions designed for your ferret like hopping competitions and digging events.