Scientific Name: Mustela putorius furo
Higher Classification: European polecat
Size: up to 20 inches
Weight: 1.5 – 4.4 lbs.
Gestation Period: 42 days
Terminology & Coloring: Male ferrets are called hobs; female ferrets are jills. A spayed female is a sprite, a neutered male is a gib, and a vasectomised male is known as a hoblet. Ferrets under one year old are known as kits. A group of ferrets is known as a “business.”
Most ferrets are either albinos, with white fur and pink eyes, or display the typical dark masked Sable coloration of their wild polecat ancestors. In recent years fancy breeders have produced a wide variety of colors and patterns. Color refers to the color of the ferret’s guard hairs, undercoat, eyes, and nose; pattern refers to the concentration and distribution of color on the body, mask, and nose, as well as white markings on the head or feet when present.
There are four basic colors. The Sable (including chocolate and dark brown), Albino, Dark Eyed White (DEW), and the silver. All the other colors of a ferret are variations on one of these four categories.