Ferrets are part of the weasel genus and are such fun and energetic pets to have around. They are usually brown and black with white around the face, but there are also multicolored or white ferrets as well. They have been domesticated for 2,500 years or more and live for 7-10 years.
Ferrets are very mischievous and their name actually means 'little thief' because they hide things around the house. They spend most of the day sleeping, are are most active at dawn and in the evening. They prefer to sleep in enclosed areas and can be territorial, and if there is another pet or ferret around, they might mark spots with urine. However, they're very social, so it might be a good idea to have more than one around.
They love to play and are very curious, doing hops sideways, jumping and leaping to let you know they want to play. Ferrets can make little noises like clucking sounds or hissing or squeaking when scared or upset. They are definitely unique pets to have and will keep you amused constantly.
Ferrets need to eat frequently and they can be fed a high quality dry cat food or food labeled 'ferret food' at pet stores. Some pet owners want to keep them close to nature, so they will feed them dead or even alive prey, like rabbits and mice. They can be picky eaters in terms of dry food and can't digest plant matter very well. You can feed them cooked chicken (without bones), fruits like bananas, grapes, and melons, meaty baby foods, and no grain cat food.
There are certain health conditions which threaten ferrets, such as cancer, the flu, and canine distemper. They also can have dental problems and get hairballs, as well as carry a genetic defect that can make them deaf. Regular vet visits and keeping an eye on their teeth are good ideas.
Having ferrets as pets is illegal in certain places around the world, including Australia (although one territory requires a license), New Zealand, California (neutered males might be allowed), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., New York City, and most military bases. Permits are needed in Rhode Island, and a microchip ID tag is needed in Brazil.
Different countries/cities have different rules, because ferrets are considered wild animals still, and they can cause damage to native animal populations. They should be kept in a cage at night so they don't cause any problems or escape. You can let them out once you can keep an eye on them. If you are going to travel with your pet ferret, you should find out what that state or country's rules are.
Despite being tricky, naughty little things, it's also what makes ferrets so cute. They are very social, active, and need lots of attention and interaction. It would be wise, however, to keep a very close eye on ferrets when they are interacting with children who are 6 and younger. Also, they should be introduced to other pets very slowly to avoid any aggression on either side.
If you are considering purchasing a ferret, you can read more here. If you live alone, they can be a loving and amusing pet, and can even get along with other pets. Go check one out in a pet store and maybe they'll let you hold one so you can get an idea of what they're like!