Are Ferrets a Rodent?
Despite their similar facial features, ferrets are not a member of the rodent family. Although practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have long considered ferrets to be a rodent species, modern scientists have assigned them their own unique classification.
The Difference between Rodents and Ferrets
Rodents such as mice, hamsters, gerbils, and rats are mammals. They are characterized by incisors at the front of the mouth that continue to grow throughout the life of the animal. Rodents use their incisors to gnaw and eat tough foods.
On the other hand, ferrets belong to the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels, otters, and wolverines. They have long and lean bodies with short legs and long tails, and a noticeable lack of incisors.
Ferret Eating Habits
Ferrets survive on a diet of fresh meat, including poultry, beef, and fish, as well as eggs and other protein-rich foods. Their diet is unlike that of rodents, which eat vegetation and fruits.
Ferrets also sleep longer than rodents, often snoozing for 14 to 18 hours a day in cozy beds. In addition, ferrets are much more active after dark, a behavior known as crepuscular.
In conclusion, although ferrets have rodent-like features, such as a fuzzy face and tail, they are definitively not rodents. They are members of the Mustelidae family and have unique behaviors, such as their crepuscular activity.
The key differences between ferrets and rodents come down to:
- Diet: Rodents eat vegetation and fruits, while ferrets primarily eat fresh meats and protein.
- Incisors: Rodents have long incisors and use them to gnaw on tough foods, while ferrets lack incisors.
- Sleep Patterns: Rodents typically sleep for 8-10 hours a day, while ferrets snooze for 14-18 hours.
- Activity Patterns: Rodents are active during the day and asleep at night, while ferrets are crepuscular.