An angora ferret is a domesticated mammal closely related to the weasel family. Originally bred in Scandinavia, the angora ferret is a popular exotic pet in many countries of the world. Named for its long fur, the angora is also distinguished by a fold on its nose with an extra tuft of hair. A Swedish breeder stumbled upon a mutation in his ferrets that grew longer hair on the legs and hind-quarters. A breeder in Norway later perfected this mutation and developed the angora breed of ferret.
Known for its sociability and exuberance, a ferret usually weighs from 3 to 7 pounds (1.36 - 3.18 kg). It is about 20 inches (51 cm) long, including a 5 inch (13 cm) tail. Its coloring is white, brown, black or mixed fur with no undercoat.
A member of the mistela putorius furo family, the angora ferret is a domesticated version of the pole cat. Male ferrets are called “hobbs,” and females are referred to as “jills.” Jills sexually mature around age eight months and have a gestation period of about 42 days. They can produce six to seven litters per year.
Ferrets are crepuscular creatures and sleep from fourteen to eighteen hours each day. Dawn and dusk are their most active times. Ferrets can be taught to sleep at night by keeping them wake and occupied with toys during the day. Although ferrets can be very sociable, they also like privacy. It is recommended that they be caged for part of the day so they can hide or sleep.
When not caged, ferrets still like to hide and explore and will go into any place they can fit. New ferret owners are encouraged to ferret proof their home as they might for a toddler. Small holes and vents should be covered when the ferret is out. Cleaners and any dangerous substances should be kept inaccessible.
An angora ferret, even when domesticated, still has the instincts of a predator. Carnivorous, it has very strong and sharp teeth. It can be trained not to bite by placing it in its cage anytime it does so. Ferrets need meat and poultry products in their diet and should be fed meal that is high in protein and low in fat.
Domesticated ferrets can also be trained to use a liter box in the same method used for cats. They do have scent glands they use to mark their territory, which in a home will include carpets and furniture. Most ferrets sold in the US have had their scent glands removed, but in some European countries, this procedure is considered unnecessary mutilation and is illegal.