Ferrets make good pets and are popular throughout the world, with over 5 million in the United States alone.
They are small and furry like a lot of other pets such as Guinea Pigs, rats and hamsters which are all rodents.
In this article we’ll look at the similarities between rodents and ferrets.
The scientific name for a ferret is Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets have been domesticated for over two thousand years and were originally used for hunting.
Ferrets often get confused with the weasel.
In comparison, weasels are not as long as ferrets, and have a different habitat — they prefer grasslands while weasels inhabit a wider variety of habitats that include marshes.
Weasels are also much more aggressive than ferrets, which is one of the reasons you don’t often see weasels as pets!
Most ferrets sold today are bred domestically.
Male ferrets are called hobs, while female ferrets are jills. A group of ferrets is referred to as a business.
What is a Rodent?
The scientific name for a rodent is Rodentia. They are members of the largest group of mammals, which contains over 2,200 species.
More than 40% of all mammals in the world are rodents.
Rodents are found all over the world and vary greatly in size, from the tiny pygmy mouse to the large capybara.
Most rodents are herbivores, but some, such as the pack rat, are omnivorous.
Are Ferrets Rodents?
So, are ferrets rodents? No.
Ferrets belong to the mustelid family, while rodents belong to the rodentia family.
However, there are some similarities between these two groups.
Both ferrets and rodents are found all over the world, they vary in size, and many are social animals that can be trained to do tricks or perform tasks.
Despite these similarities, there are also some key differences between ferrets and rodents, including their diets and physical characteristics. So while it is fair to say that ferrets have some
Ferrets and rodents share some similarities, but there are also some key differences between them.
Here are some facts about ferrets and rodents:
- Ferrets belong to the mustelid family, which includes weasels, otters, and badgers. Rodents belong to the rodent family.
- Ferrets are carnivores, while most rodents are herbivores.
- Ferrets have long, slim bodies and short legs. Rodents come in all shapes and sizes, but most have shorter bodies and legs.
- Ferrets are social animals and enjoy being around other ferrets or humans. Some rodents are also social, but many are not.
- Ferrets can be trained to do tricks and perform tasks. Rodents are not as easily trained.
What are Mustelids?
Ferrets are a type of mustelid, or member of the mustelid family. Other members of this group include weasels, otters, mink, and polecats. Mustelids are carnivorous animals known for their long bodies and short legs, as well as their keen sense of smell and sharp teeth.
Some mustelids, such as ferrets and weasels, are used in pest control because of their ability to kill rodents.
Ferrets were historically used for hunting thanks to their long, lean build, and inquisitive nature, which made them well equipped for getting down holes and chasing rodents, rabbits and moles out of their burrows.
They were first introduced into the American continents in the 17th century, and were used extensively from 1860 until the start of World War II to protect grain stores in the American West from rodents.
They are still used for hunting in some countries, including the United Kingdom.
Ferret vs Rodent Teeth
Ferrets and rodents both have sharp teeth.
However, there are some key differences between the teeth of ferrets and those of rodents. Ferret teeth are more pointed and specialized for catching prey, while rodent teeth tend to be flatter and better suited for grinding plant material.
All rodents have a pair of upper and a pair of lower teeth called incisors. Unlike our teeth, these incisors don’t have roots, and they never stop growing.
This means that rodents have to constantly chew on things to keep their incisors from getting too long and becoming a nuisance.
Ferrets in the Wild
Most ferrets are domesticated however there is one species that lives in the wild.
The black footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), also known as the American polecat or prairie dog hunter, is a species of mustelid belonging to the Mustelidae and the genus Mustela. The black-footed ferret is similar in appearance to the European polecat and the Asian steppe polecat.
The black-footed ferret is native to central North America and are the only native species of ferrets native to North America.
The domestic ferrets that you find in pet stores (Mustela furo) share the same genus, but these are of European origin and have been domesticated for hundreds of years.
While the numbers of these animals has increased greatly in recent years, they are still listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List.