The Ferret, commonly found in forest and plains regions, is similar looking to the rat but belonging to the weasel family, varying in colour, at 3 palmspans for a male and 2-2.5 palmspans for a female. This creature is commonly domesticated to hunt small animals (e.g. rabbits) but is also owned as a pure pet for its cunning and smart antics. The male and female live seperately except in mating season (and even then they live seperately only staying long enough to mate). Ferrets are seen as smart, cunning and curious animals. The name "Ferret" and "Weasel", which is a cousin to the Ferret, is used as an insult in some areas.
|Image description. The famous Nauroothian Menagerie Owner Reve'lor with one of his ferrets. Picture by Bard Judith.|
The Ferret has a very similar appearance to the rat, but
is much longer and thinner, having fur on its tail. The Ferret has long claws
(which are mainly used for digging), pink padded feet which are about 1-2
nailsbreadths depending on the claw size. When looked at from the front it is
also sometimes possible to see their fangs which look similar to
Ak'váth'rhím tribe fangs and
protrude from the mouth but are more of use to latch onto an object then cause
them to bleed. Weighing about 1-2 ods they are very light animals.
The male Ferret is just less than 3 palmspans long and 1 palmspan tall whilst the female is 2-2.5 palmspans long and 0.5-0.7 palmspan tall. The head is arrow shaped and the ears are barely visible as they are small and covered in fur.
Ferrets come in two common colours, bandit and mink:
This particular colour is so called due to its mask which is actually black fur found around its black eyes, white face and ears, brown body, black tail, black shoulders and legs with or without white toes and knees.
The Ferret is a cunning animal which is able to live in almost any condition and
is very fast and agile. The Ferret is a burrowing animal which is able to climb
even the tallest tree. They seem to have a very keen nose as well. Ferrets are
able to move well during the night allowing them to run through their tunnels.
They make excellent hunters when hunting small burrowing animals and such (i.e.
Rabbits) and are able to take animals much larger than they are easily.
Territory. Ferrets and their ilk can be found anywhere where there are forests or grassy plains. They are also used as pets due to their natural hunting habits which may also explain why they are so wide spread. Although Ferrets have the ability to dig they prefer to take the homes of other animals or use natural formations (like hollow tree stumps) and can quite often be found in rabbit holes which they previously have emptied of inhabitants like rabbits.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Ferret in captivity is a playful and agile moving creature, it is very noisy and quite often will be found sticking its nose into any crack and crevice they can find, literally. But on the other hand just as they are active, Ferrets in captivity will be found as avid sleepers and can quite often sleep through any storm (even when being kicked).
Ferrets in the wild more or less act the same but are more cautious of their surroundings and will not move far from their homes (the exception being in mating season) and will quite often stand and fight rather than back down (which might be why Brownies find their cousins such a good mount).
If ever caught in a dangerous situation they will fluff their tail and make hissing sounds as well as arching their back and showing their teeth whilst at the same time backing away but will not run and instead will stand its ground until its foe either backs away or fights.
Ferrets, although in the wild are solitary animals, can live with each other in captivity with the exception of male and male. Though a male can live with many females or females can live with other females. They also like living and sleeping in small places, the smaller the better so its not uncommon to find them happily living in an adventurous sack or bag. Ferrets very often have a distictive musk. A fear of getting wet is noticeable though they cannot live without water as they seem to die in high heats. The Ferret can be tamed and trained to do anything from sitting on ones shoulder to hunting rabbits to opening boxes and retrieving items and in the case of the Brownies they can even be used as a mount.
Ferrets seem to have an affinity to rats, but instead of hunting them for prey, will quite often play with a rat as if they are good friends.
Diet. Ferrets will eat anything and everything that is edible. Although their main diet consists of meaty things, they can also be found eating fruit and by using their cunning can actually make their ways into a farmers store house and steal food not reachable by a rat as they can open containers and push boxes. They store food similar foxes or dogs, with the exception that instead of digging a hole to bury their food they will leave it in their tunnels. Ferrets can leave food for days, then come back and eat it.
It has been seen that Ferrets can eat fruit which must be cut open first to be eaten (i.e. water melons), which they seem to consider over many other foods (much to the dislike of farmers who may find a Ferret sized hole in the side of melons and the inside empty). Ferrets have very strong jaws allowing them to bite though bone if they want to. Ferrets eat in a fashion that can be considered to be civilised as they will eat the same as a cat but will eat closer to the ground as if lying down. They will not move whilst they are eating and only move again once they have finished eating. If they have to move whilst eating they will only move their head and neck.
Usages. Although the Ferret itself is not used for its fur its cousin the mink is used for its pelts.
Some Ferrets are also used for hunting small animals especially burrowing animals such as rabbits.
By the way: The name "Ferret" is used as an insult in some areas due to the Ferret's nature but being called a "Ferret" or even "Weasel" (a close cousin to the Ferret) can actually interpreted quite the opposite to an insult, as Ferrets and Weasels are smart, cunning, agile, fast, and resourceful. Therefore the term should be taken as a compliment in a way.
Mating. Ferrets mate at the same time every year during spring when they come into heat, during this time both male and female become very restless and will become easily agitated.
During mating males will fight over females and can be injured but this mainly happens on the back of the neck as when the skin is bitten here it seems to make the Ferret calm down. Once the male has found a female he will protect the female and take her into his tunnels/hole in which he will mate, although the mating process in fact hasn't been observed actually in the wild. In captivity the mating process is long and straining for both male and female. The male will bite the female's neck and they will stay joined for 6-8 hours of which the female will scream and the male will hiss. At the end of this the female's neck is often very bloody, unfortunatly for the female the male will do this for days to come, up to three days at the most. At the end of this the female will leave the male (some assume it is due to the rough treatment, others think it is due to the female wanting to have her babies in peace).
The female will then find a hole (or return to her previous home) in which she will make a nest-like structure to have her babies in. She will stay near the hole until her babies are born. Once born she will have anywhere up to 6 babies and will care for them, never leaving them unless she needs to eat. This will continue for about 6 months at which time the babies will become independent and leave their mother. Females have also been seen to eat their babies if they think that someone has been near them. Ferrets also come into heat the next mating season after they leave their mother.
Information provided by Quegon