Ferret Fun Facts
The word ferret comes from Latin and means “thief,” same meaning as the word mouse.
A new born baby ferret can fit in the palm of a 2-year old child.
Male ferrets weigh about 4 lbs., females about 2 pounds.
Ferrets live 6-10 years.
Ferrets have weak vision, but their senses of smell and hearing are strong.
Old paintings and tapestries reveal to us that ferrets have been domesticated for thousands of years.
The third most popular pet in the US is the ferret.
There are 8-10 million pet ferrets in the US.
History of Ferrets
Several states banned ownership of ferrets in the early 1900s; ferret ownership became legal again after rabies vaccine became more effective in ferrets.
Ferrets were used on ships to hunt rats and control their population.
In the Middle Ages, ferrets were used to hunt for rabbits. Hunters would muzzle the ferret’s mouth, and send it in the rabbit hole to chase rabbits out another end where hunters waited with nets to catch them. This method was used in the United States as well until the early 20th Century.
Below is a photo of the "The Ferreter's Tapestry," a tapestry dating back to fifteenth-century Burgundy, France. The tapestry today is displyed in Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries. The photo of the tapestry is from James McKay's Complete Guide to Ferrets. The tapestry shows peasants hunting rabbits with ferrets and nets.
The photo below is from Gaston Phoebus's book Livre de Chasse (Book of the Hunting), written in the late 1300s. A manuscript can be found in Paris, in the Bibliotheque Nationale. This photo shows how hunters used ferrets to hunt rabbits: sending ferrets through one hole to chase rabbits out another hole where the net trap is set up.
Fun Facts about Other Animals