Wild and decorative ferrets: photos and descriptions of existing breeds

Wild and decorative ferrets: photos and descriptions of existing breeds

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Many are deceived by what a ferret looks like: a cute and funny animal in the wild is a formidable and dexterous predator. And, despite its small size, it can be quite dangerous. There are many varieties of this animal, which will help to understand the classification with photographs of the main breeds and varieties.

Ferret description

These agile, fast, predatory mammals are found throughout Asia, Europe and North America. They are widespread everywhere: from the steppe, forests, mountains, as well as near human habitation. The basis of the troche diet is birds and bird eggs, rats, mice, ground squirrels, snakes, and there are also frequent cases of destructive raids by small predators on chicken coops and rabbit houses. Therefore, wild ferrets do not enjoy much love from farmers. Below is a photo of a ferret that defeated a larger animal without much difficulty:

However, if the hunt was unsuccessful and it was not possible to catch decent prey, the ferret is content with grasshoppers, snails, fruits, and is even able to dive into the reservoir for fish.

All ferrets, regardless of breed, hunt at night, so they have a very well developed sense of smell and hearing. They prefer to eat only freshly caught prey: only the inability to hunt (illness or damage to the limbs) can make the animal feed on carrion.

How do they look

According to the description, the ferret is a small animal, very flexible and incredibly graceful. The length of its body in the female is 42 - 45 cm, males grow up to 50 - 60 cm, while a significant part of the length is a fluffy tail (up to 18 cm). The animal has muscular, disproportionately short legs in relation to the body (hind legs - within 6 - 8 cm), on which it moves in leaps. Thanks to its elongated claws and powerful muscles, this predator is considered a good swimmer and easily climbs trees in search of profit.

The head of the ferret is oval, with a slightly elongated muzzle, flattened on the sides, the color of the fur on which forms a pattern resembling a mask. The ears of the animal are small, low, with a wide base, the eyes are also small, shiny, most often of a brown tone.

The appearance of the ferret is the same for all species, the differences are in the color of the fur, size and body weight. Depending on the breed, the weight of an adult ferret varies from 0.3 to 2.0 kg.

What ferret babies look like

Ferret cubs - puppies are born after a month and a half from conception, helpless, almost bald and blind. At first, they require constant attention from the mother, but they develop rapidly and after two months they begin to eat a little meat.

One litter usually gives birth to 4 to 12 pups.

What species and family does the ferret belong to?

This amazing mammal belongs to the genus of weasels and ferrets and is a representative of the Weasel family: just like a marten or a mink. The similarity between the representatives of the family is so great that, for example, a ferret with a mink may even have joint offspring, called honorics.

Ferret species and breeds with photos and names

All types of ornamental ferrets descended from one breed, namely, the Forest Ferret, which was tamed by humans over 2000 years ago. Unlike its ancestor, the domestic ferret has a larger body size, and is also represented by a huge variety of fur color: from black to white. The ferret is always dark brown in color. The maximum body weight of a wild species rarely exceeds 1.6 kg, while the decorative ferret generally grows up to 2.5, and sometimes even up to 3.5 kg.

Ferret breeds

Wild ferrets are classified into three main breeds:

  • Polecat (Mustela putorius);
  • Light steppe ferret (Mustela eversmanni);
  • Black-footed or American ferret (Mustela nigripes).

Forest. It has brown or black fur with a lighter undercoat. Paws and abdomen are darker in comparison with the body, on the muzzle there is a mask. An adult grows up to 47 cm and reaches a mass of 1.6 kg. The animal lives in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as in the wooded part of the Urals.

Steppe. The largest species of wild ferrets, reaching a length of 55 cm and weighing up to 2 kg. The dark brown fur is pigmented heterogeneously, the undercoat is light brown or cream, the mask on the face is dark. The animal lives in the steppe regions of Europe and the Far East.

Blackfoot. The rarest species of wild ferret. The body of the animal is medium-sized, up to 42 cm in length with a weight of 0.3 to 1 kg. This breed is listed in the Red Book, as it is on the verge of extinction. Habitat - North America. The fur on the body of the predator has a delicate cream or yellow tint, the legs, belly, tail and mask are almost black.6

Ornamental ferret breeds

Breeds of decorative, or domestic, ferrets are as follows:

  • Honorik - this breed was bred by crossing a ferret and a mink;
  • ferret - this is the name for all domesticated species of wild ferrets;
  • furo - the breed is the albino form of the black polecat;
  • thorzofretka is a hybrid obtained by crossing a domestic and wild animal.

Below are pictures of domestic ferret breeds:





Ferret color with names and photos

In the Russian classification by color, there are four main types of ferrets, the description and photos of which are given below:

Pearl. Ferrets of the mother-of-pearl group include sable and silver colors. The pigmentation of the fur of animals is heterogeneous: the bases of the hairs are light, and the ends in sable ones are black, and in silvery ones they are gray. The undercoat is white, the eyes are brown or black, the nose is also, more often than not, brown, maybe in heterogeneous spots;

On the left in the photo - sable color, on the right - silver.

Pastel. This group has a lot of shades: they are united by the predominance of white or beige in the pigmentation of the fur. The nose is most often pink, the eyes are light brown;

Golden. This is a very rare color, the group does not include any other shades. The lining of the fur is light yellow or orange, with a golden tint. The tips of the hairs of the fur coat are much darker, almost black. The nose is brown, the mask around the eyes is clearly visible on the muzzle;

White, or albino. Representatives of this species have white fur and the same white down (light cream is allowed), nose - pink, eyes - red. This group stands apart from all the others.

In the American classification by the color of fur and guard hair, there are 8 species of domestic ferrets, a description of the external data characteristic of each particular color with a photo is presented below:

The black. In ferrets of this species, the whole body, including the mask, has a black solid color. The eyes and nose are also black;

Black sable. The fur of the animal is dark gray or black-brown, the downs are cream. Eyes - most often, black, nose - brown, maybe with spots;

Sable. The fur of the animal is warm brown, the downs are cream or golden. Eyes - black or dark brown, nose - light brown, sometimes with a T-shaped pattern;

Brown. The fur of the representatives of the brown species is rich brown or red-brown in color, the downs are white or golden. Eyes - dark or light brown, nose - pink or slightly brownish;

Chocolate. The fur of the animals is the color of milk chocolate, the down is yellowish or white. Eyes - unusual dark cherry color or just brown, nose - beige or pink;

Champagne. The fur of the Champagne representatives is a delicate light brown tone, the underpads are white or cream. The ferret has dark cherry eyes and a pink T-shaped brown nose;

Albino. It is no different from the albino of the Russian classification: completely white fur and downs, eyes and nose - only pink;

White, dark-eyed. Fur and underpants are white, and can be light cream shades. The eyes are dark cherry or brown, the nose is pink.

In the photo on the left is an albino ferret, on the right is a white black-eyed:

In addition to color, domestic ferrets are also classified by color, depending on which there are four more main types:

  • Siamese;
  • roan;
  • solid;
  • standard.

Belonging to a particular species or breed is determined by the color of the nose, eyes and mask on the face, as well as the intensity of the color on the legs, tail and body.

Interesting facts about ferrets

There are some pretty interesting facts about ferrets:

  1. Puppies are born so tiny that they fit easily in a teaspoon.
  2. The fur of these cute animals has a very pleasant honey-musky smell.
  3. Ferrets sleep at least 20 hours a day, and, moreover, a very sound and deep sleep.
  4. The ferret has glands in the tail area, which, in case of danger, produce a very foul-smelling secret, with the help of which the ferret defends itself from enemies.
  5. The ferret runs backwards as fast as in the traditional way.
  6. Regardless of the color and breed of the ferret, puppies are born only white.
  7. Although this formidable predator hunts at night, his eyesight is weak.


Despite the fact that the ferret looks like a cute furry animal, it is quite capable of standing up for itself, since it has absolutely no fear of a larger rival. Unfortunately, many species and breeds of ferrets are endangered and listed in the Red Book. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of the preservation of this dexterous, fearless and, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful predators on our planet.

Watch the video: 2018 Hope for the Wild Conservation Series - Michele Miller