Albino ferrets are not like your usual kind of ferret. They are born by inheriting a recessive gene from their parents. One or both of their parents might have the recessive gene and pass them on to their offsprings. All this is mainly a result of selective breeding and it has led these snow colored ferrets to be very famous among ferret enthusiasts.
What is the history of Albino ferrets? Ferrets that had albinism were discovered over a few thousand years ago and the Swiss Naturalist Gesner in 1551 described the critters as the color of wool stained with urine. This actually is a very precise description of the color of the albino ferret’s fur.
Ferrets were actually preferred by hunters as their white fur helped them blend in with the snow and make hunting much more efficient.
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Just like ordinary ferrets, albino ferrets are very energetic and curious. They are extremely playful and are the most excited in the morning. They can sleep up to 18 hours a day. Ferrets need constant attention and due to their high intellect, they get bored rather easily. Albino pets are ideal for someone who has a lot of time on his or her hands.
Albino ferrets are agile, inquisitive and they love to examine and explore. Their slender body allows them to enter small spaces which can make them a handful for most pet owners.
These little creatures can be easily identified by their red eyes, snow white fur and pink nose. A male albino ferret is known as a hob; a female albino ferret is called a Jill while a baby ferret is popularly known as a kit.
The eyes of the albino ferret actually glow in the dark and are ruby red in color. There are many different white furred ferrets that have blue or black eyes that are commonly confused with albino ferrets. There are many people out there who do not like to own a red-eyed ferret.
The eyes of albino ferrets appear red because of lack of pigmentation in their eyes. They seem to mirror the red blood beneath them. The fur of the albino ferret is white, but sometimes it will seem off whitish or even yellowish. The fur of the albino ferret appears yellow because of the skin oils that are present in the fur. A change in temperature, aging, increase in the secretion of skin oils all contributes to the yellowing of the fur of the albino ferrets.
The oils in the skin of the ferret serve as temperature regulators as well help the ferret to communicate with its other ferret mates. When the oil secretion increases, the coat of the albino ferret becomes much more yellow.
The lifespan of albino ferrets is the same as ordinary ferrets which is around 7 to 9 years provided that they are brought up in a healthy environment.
Health issues of albino ferrets
Contrary to popular belief albino ferrets do not have more health problems than the ordinary ferrets. They are almost physically the same. However, there are certain areas where the albino ferret might be at a disadvantage.
Albino ferrets are at a much greater risk of inheriting vision issues. Ferrets generally do not have the best eyesight. In the case of albino ferrets, this problem might be amplified as albino ferrets also have a problem with high-intensity lighting. Before purchasing or adopting an albino ferret, you need to take the lightening of your house into consideration. Despite all this, there are some albino ferrets that do not have any issues with light and are just like their darker fur counterparts.
As mentioned and discussed before the coat of the albino ferret becomes darker with time. It takes on a yellow tint. This can be due to a change in temperature, aging and increased production of skin oils. If you notice that your albino ferret’s white fur has become a little off-whitish, do not panic as that is completely normal. You should take your albino ferret o the vet regularly and if there is any problem, your vet will surely let you know.
Healthy albino ferret
You need to always make sure that your ferret is in great shape and health. You need to pay attention to its exterior. If your albino ferret is healthy and strong, then its fur will be glossy and thick and its eyes will be glowing and free from dullness or glazing.
Ferrets that are in tip-top condition are very playful, lively, spirited, curious and energetic. Any signs of lethargy or loss of appetite is a definite sign that something is wrong with the little creature. A ferret that is problem free hates being alone and will be all in favor of interaction and would want your attention.
Sometimes the exterior might not tell you that the ferret is not well. You also need to pay attention to other things such as taking a look into the ferret’s ears and witnessing too much wax collecting inside or runny eyes or nose or clumps of fur, loss of appetite, bloating and loose feces. You need to take your albino ferret to the vet as soon as possible if any abnormal signs become apparent.
Different kinds of ferrets
These ferrets have a deep black color beginning from their nose and it goes all the way back to their tail. They have a creamy or white undercoat as well as guard hairs that are dark ash blackish brown and do not have a warm tone. The Black Sable’s eyes are dark brown or black and their nose is ash blackish brown.
These kinds of ferrets have a coat that consists of many different colors. They have white stripes that begin from their face and end at the back of their heads. The stripes are unbroken. They also have four mitts and a white bib. Blaze ferrets also have rings around their eyes and some of them even have small masks.
Black Sable Mitt
These ferrets are quite similar to the black sable mentioned before, but they have four white mitts that run up to their legs. They have black guard hairs and aside from their mitts, they also have a white bib. Their eye color and nose is black or nearly black.
The striped white ferrets just like their name are mostly white with a black stripe running down their back to their tail. Their nose is either pink or black and they have ruby red eyes.
Siamese ferrets can be chocolate colored, cinnamon-colored or even sable like and they have darker feet and hands. Their mask is of a dark color and is V-shaped. The Siamese ferret’s underside has a dark line that is of the same color as the hairs on their tail, feet, and hands.
The Siamese mitts are just like the Siamese ferrets, but they have white colored mitts.
These kinds of ferrets have a white head and the white begins from the nose and also covers the shoulder area. They have a white bib that covers the entire underside of their little bodies. The colored part of their body is in the shape of a saddle. They are distinguished by their white-tipped tail, pink nose, mitts and eyes can be of any color.
Heavy silver or Pewter
These ferrets have a deep gunmetal grey coat with black hairs. They have a pink nose with a black mottle. They have white mitts and their mask seems like a blotch under the eye.
These ferrets have a color that is similar to chocolate brown milk. They have a white undercoat. Ferrets that have a slight golden hue are also in this category. They have a beige or pink T outline and pink eyes.
The actually have the same colored fur as the sable ferrets but they have banded legs, mask tails that are dark shades of brown or red. They have a cream or white undercoat and have black eyes that sometimes look ruby red. They have a pink to brown nose which has a T outline.
History of ferrets
The history of ferrets is rather confusing and there are at least three theories regarding their origin. One of the theory states that they came from Eastern or Western European polecat. The Eastern or Western polecat, also known as the Mustela putorius furo, is very similar to ferrets. Mustela furo is actually a Latin name for ferrets.
Putorius translates to a bad smell or smelly, while Mustela refers to a mouse hunter. When you combine both, you get a smelly mouse hunter also known as ferrets.
Another theory is that ferrets originated from Northern Africa with Normal and Roman invasions. There have not been many ferret fossils found, so it is not hundred percent certain where these little critters are from.
The most unlikely theory is that they originate from the North American Black-footed ferret. This theory is unlikely as when it comes to genetic and physical similarities ferrets are much like pelocats then Black-Footed Ferret.
Ferrets were domesticated in order to control the rapidly increasing population of rabbits, mice and rats because they were considered pests. They damaged and chewed on crops, so people desperately needed to prevent them for reproducing and stopping them altogether. Cats and dogs were actually too big to follow the rats and the mice into the holes, so the people required a slender pet that could help them hunt the pests down. The solution was ferrets!
The mention of ferrets can be found back to about 450 BC in Ancient Greece. But as most of the documents were somehow destroyed it’s not clearly evident. Strabo wrote about a Libyan animal that was used to hunt rabbits when the rabbit plague had hit the Balearic Islands.
So the people needed an animal to control the increasing rabbit population. People there introduced an animal that hunted rabbits and followed them into their burrows.
The ferrets actually scared the rabbits outside their holes and then outside were men and hounds that caught those rabbits. This method is still used today in many countries to hunt rabbits.
Ferrets have been mentioned in many ancient books. As soon as people understood the advantages of owning a ferret, ferrets became very popular as pets and were made part of human households.
Ferrets soon spread out to Germany and then to England. High ranking Church members had ferrets as pets due to their high price and also they came in handy whenever there was a rice, rat or rabbit infestation.
Ferrets were introduced in the United States of America in the late 18th century via ships. Some of the colonists also brought them over to the new land as hunting companions. Around the early 1900s, ferrets have become very popular as solutions to pest infestations. They were used to manage mice, rats, raccoons, gophers and rabbits.
The strong stench of ferrets actually repulsed the pests; and ferrets were commonly used to protect warehouses, barns and granaries. There were companies that owned ferrets and would come to help protect and disinfest your barn of rodents.
Men and their hounds would kill the rodents that would be driven out of their holes by the ferrets. The ferret popularity as a vermin exterminator decreased when chemical rodenticides became common.
People soon found out the ferrets are very useful pets and begin to carry them along everywhere. Ferrets son replaced cats and dogs. Dogs barked a lot and the cats only went after mice when they felt like it. Due to their playful nature and their amazing hunting ability, people did not only keep them as rodent protection but also as pets. By spreading via ships, ferrets began to dominate the world.
New Zealand is a place where ferrets actually helped shape history. In 1860 New Zealand began to have a rabbit problem. The country had no predators for rabbits and soon the rabbit population exploded. People needed to find a solution fast as the rabbit infestation was causing harm to the nature of the country.
About 20 years later the people introduced ferrets and weasels into the country. The climate of the country was amazing for ferrets and it is the only place on earth today where you can find colonies of wild ferrets. Ferrets took over the country for the same reason the rabbits did. Ferrets did not have a natural enemy in New Zealand apart from humans.
The ferrets did not just hunt rabbits, they also ended up hunting birds, and most birds in New Zealand do not fly. This caused the extinction of many bird species.
The same thing happened in Australia that was overrun with rabbits at one point in time. However, the climate in Australia is not favorable for the ferrets and there are many ferret predators in the country such as Dingos and foxes. A wild ferret colony was unable to develop in Australia due to these reasons. Hence New Zealand is the only place that ferrets have an impact on the animals around them.
Ferrets became very popular due to their fur in Europe. This was for a very short period of time as hunting ferrets was made illegal. Keeping ferrets for hunting was also made illegal, but their popularity did not die and that’s why today ferrets are the 3rd most common pet in the United States of America.
There was a game that became very popular in cars in Europe. Men used to tie strings to the ends of the ferret’s tail and then place the ferret in their pants. The man who could keep the ferret in his pants for the longest time won. The record was 5 hours. Ferrets would actually use their claws and their teeth to try to escape and you could only imagine what would happen to the winner.
Ferrets were also used for another thing besides hunting pets. Due to their slender bodies, they could easily move through tiny spaces. Their ability to fit in small spaces made them amazing cable carriers. They were used to transport cables through pipes in different facilities.
Are ferrets difficult to keep? Ferrets are amazing pets for the young as well as the old. Keeping a ferret does need a certain amount of patience and you need to have a lot of time on your hands. Ferrets will actually keep you entertained for hours on end. You need to supervise any interaction the ferrets have with small children. All ferrets have unique personalities, but they serve as great household pets.
Are ferrets smelly pets? Ferrets have a certain musky odor which helps them mark their territory in the wild. There are ways you can control the odor such as keeping their cage clean, cleaning the litter box twice a day, bathing the ferret once a week and not feeding the little critter fish. Do not bath your ferret more than once a month as the water strips away the oils from the ferret’s body and their body overproduces the oils to bridge the gap. This makes the smell even worse.
Do ferrets spread disease? Ferrets do not spread diseases in the same way that dogs can spread rabies.
Are ferrets more active during the day or the night? Ferrets are generally most active from dawn to dusk. Although they are known to adjust their routine according to the availability of their owner, they are active during different times of the day and night. Just keep them in their cages when you are not around as ferrets are known to cause havoc. They need constant supervision when they are outside the cage.
Do ferrets bite? Contrary to popular belief, ferrets do not bite. All the cases that were reported in the media for ferrets biting people or small children always involved a ferret that was malnourished or was abused. Ferrets only bite when they feel threatened or are afraid. They might nibble on your feet in order to get your attention, but you can easily alter that behavior by training them.