A ferret is a carnivorous mammal of European heritage that is closely related to polecats, mongooses, and weasels. Ferrets have been being domesticated as hunting pets for nearly 2,000 years.
A long, slender animal with brown, black, and white fur, the ferret sleeps for 14 or more hours each day. Ferrets are active in low daylight, at dawn, and at dusk. Weighing between 1.5 and five pounds, a ferret in the wild typically eats mice and rabbits.
Male ferrets are significantly larger in size than female ferrets. A female ferret may have two or three litters each year, typically three to seven pups per litter. Gestation in a sexually mature female lasts a mere 42 days.
Like a skunk, a ferret will secrete a scent when it is startled or frightened. Ferrets will dance erratically and make a clucking sound when pleased, and will make a hissing sound when upset or agitated.
The life span of a ferret ranges from seven to 10 years. Ferrets are affected by many of the same viruses and diseases that are common to other companion animals like cats and dogs.