Ferrets Majik and Jack had a blast when DZG’s Education Team made them an indoor playground to see if they hit it off.
Majik, a female or jill, and albino ferret Jack were given boxes, balls, tubes and tunnels to play with so staff could see if they got along and could be put together in a hutch.
And, because the introduction was such a success, they now share a home off show in the Discovery Centre and keep each other company.
Education Assistant Amy Hickman said: “We introduced Jack and Majik in the Rainforest Room and they definitely had a fun time.
“They were best buddies from the start and really enjoyed spending their playtime together.”
The pair, used in outreach and education sessions and for Horrible History talks, got some extra attention earlier this week as it was National Ferret Day on Monday.
The national day is about educating people to respect these lively and intelligent companions – the third most popular pets in America after dogs and cats.
So, in the week we celebrated these loveable creatures, Amy has put together her favourite ferrets facts.
Amy’s Top 10 Ferret Facts:
- Male ferrets are called ‘hobs’, female ferrets are ‘jills’ and a group is called a ‘business’.
- Ferrets are born deaf and begin to hear at around 34 days.
- New born ferrets can fit inside a teaspoon. While a full-grown ferret can reach 20 inches long and weigh 1.5 to 4 pounds, a new born ferret weighs just 1 ounce.
- Ferrets sleep for about 15–20 hours a day, usually for about 4 hours at a time. A ferret’s sleep is also known as ‘ferret dead sleep’ because they sleep so deeply.
- They are very near sighted, but they compensate with a keen sense of hearing and smell.
- Ferrets have flexible ribs that allow them to flatten themselves and crawl through very small spaces.
- The ferret was domesticated several thousand years ago to help hunters flush rabbits from their holes, hence the term ‘ferreting out’. They also catch small animals such as rats and mice.
- They have been trained to carry cables through tunnels, pipes, and other places too small for humans.
- Queen Elizabeth I owned an albino ferret, which appears in one of her portraits (pictured).
- The word ‘ferret’ is from the Latin for fur, meaning ‘little thief’. Indeed, one of the ferret’s favourite activities is stealing and hiding things.