My Ferret is Smarter than Your Honor Student

This one is for the weezils. People who own ferrets call them weezils, even though they aren’t really related to weasels.

Before I married Husband, he had a ferret. When he told me he had a ferret, I thought, “Geez oh Pete, are you SERIOUS? Those things are GROSS.”

Yes, I was a weezilist. A Giuliani-loving ferret-hater.

But after spending some time with Koa (it’s Hawaiian for brave, bold, fearless) I was in love. And now I have five ferrets – Scout, Mushu, Oliver, Truffle, and Metro. Ours are all adopted from a shelter in my town. They all have their own personalities and quirks.

I can’t believe how MUCH I love these critters. I mean, they’re the size of one of my running shoes but they have a lot of personality crammed in there. They’re not like rats, or gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, or mice.

People ask me a lot about ferrets so here’s the answers to the top five questions:

Aren’t they illegal??? Sure, in some places. Not in Kentucky. Until about three years ago, ferrets were considered “exotics,” which ranked them with animals like oh, I don’t know…cheetahs and lemurs and gila monsters, and that meant a higher licensing fee for pet shops. Until ferrets were considered “domestics,” a la housecats and dogs, they were just too expensive to keep in a store.

I heard they’re really smelly…is that true? Well, so are you if you don’t keep your self, your clothes, and your house clean. Ferrets have a scent gland and most are removed when the animal is spayed or neutered. If your ferret still has a scent gland, he might “poof” which is the ferret equivalent of a fart. We’ve only had one scented ferret and when he was startled he would poof.  Also, both males and females go into heat (and the female will die if she doesn’t mate – she bleeds to death) and that can be a stinky time. But if you have your average de-scented neutered ferret, it’s only as stinky as you let it become.

I heard that if they bite you and draw blood, they’ll KEEP biting and drawing blood. True? False? Yeah, you read too much Twilight. They’re burrowing mammals, not very tiny vampires.

Okay, fine, but aren’t they bitey? Any baby animal is learning its way around the world. Ferrets have thick skin so when they chomp each other it doesn’t hurt like it hurts me when I’m playing Just Dance II and Truffle starts biting my ankles because she thinks it’s FUN. Ferrets CAN be trained out of bitey-ness.

Are they smart? Hells yeah.

Do they cuddle? Some of them do. Most will give a good cuddle if they’re veeerrrry sleepy.




  1. Thanks for the blog. My wife was a lot like you when we first met. In the past 16 years we have had five ferrets, not counting the two we currently have. Our first two were sisters. Fredbob and Sly. Then we adopted Bandit. Following that we got Kukui (Hawaiian nut used in leis) and then Rascal aka burrito (he looked like a burrito when he lay on the floor.) Now we have a girl and a boy Bubbles and Squeak. Your information here is perfect for people who know nothing about our little war dancing friends.

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