The Definitive Guide to Types of Ferrets
Updated on February 13, 2019
There are two main types of ferrets in North America: the domesticated ferret and wild ferrets. Wild ferrets are known as the black-footed ferrets. These ferrets are endangered in North America, which means they are in danger of disappearing forever. Domesticated ferrets are related to black-footed ferrets, but they are different. The ferrets that people keep as pets are not the same as ferrets that are endangered in the wild.
Ferrets are often identified and bred for their coloring. Sure people prefer specific patterns and hues in their ferrets' fur. The undercoat is made up of the softer, finer hairs closest to an animal's body that provide warmth and protection. Guard hairs are the coarser, outer hairs that protect an animal's undercoat. Some ferrets have a mask of coloring on their faces.
Albino ferrets lack pigment. This makes their fur white, with ruby red eyes and a pink nose. Albinos are very popular among ferret owners. Unlike albinos of other animal species, albino ferrets are relatively easy to find.
Sable ferrets have guard hairs that are a vibrant, warm brown color. The undercoat can be white or cream-colored. Usually, sable ferrets have very dark brown or black eyes. A sable ferret's nose is brown and is sometimes speckled.
Black ferrets have black guard hairs with a white undercoat. They have black eyes and a black nose, which is sometimes spotted or mottled. Black sable ferrets display a mix of black and sable characteristics. They have darker fur than sable ferrets, but lighter fur than black ferrets.
Champagne ferrets have a light tan plume of guard hairs with a white or golden- colored undercoat. Their eyes are darker than an albino's eyes—usually a deeper burgundy color.
Cinnamon ferrets have a warm, reddish-brown coat with a white or golden undercoat. Their eyes are burgundy.
Dark-eyed white ferrets
Dark-eyed white ferrets are albino-look-alikes. However, they do not lack pigmentation like true albinos. Their fur is white or cream-colored, but their eyes are not ruby red like albinos’. Instead, dark-eyed whites have burgundy, brown, or black eyes. These ferrets are also called black-eyed whites or dark-eyed white patterns.
Ferret Fur Patterns
Color is not the only characteristic that distinguishes different types of ferrets. The pattern of the fur is essential, too. Just as a leopard has spots and zebras have stripes, ferrets have patterns in their fur also. But there are several different types of patterns in ferrets.
Ferrets with a stable pattern have guard hairs of the same color on their whole bodies. If it looks like your ferret is wearing white mittens, it is displaying the mitt pattern. Mitts can include white fur on a ferret's paws, as well as white knee patches, a white tip on the tail, or a bib, which is a white patch on a ferret's chest.
A roan pattern means a ferret's guard hairs are about half colored and half white. For example, a sable roan ferret will have about half sable guard hairs and half white guard hairs.
Point ferrets—also known as Siamese—have darker legs and tails and lighter bodies. A ferret with a blaze pattern has a light-colored streak starting at the forehead and traveling between the ears and along the back as far as the shoulder blades.
The panda pattern means a ferret of any color has a white head and bib. Usually, ferrets with a panda pattern also have white mitts and sometimes knee patches and a white tip on the tail.
Some people enter their ferrets into shows, similar to dog shows, where ferrets are judged by how correctly they display certain characteristics. Ferret shows use the color and pattern combinations to find the best display of these characteristics.
No matter what color your ferret is, it needs a lot of love and attention. Knowing how to care for your ferret correctly is the key to a happy ferret.
Originally posted 2018-07-17 02:14:03.