The domestic ferret did not originally exist as a distinct species, but rather was produced via selective breeding of its wild relative, the European polecat (Mustela putorius). Please see our article Ferret Facts for more information on the ferret’s surprising history.
Despite centuries of domestication, ferrets retain many of their wild ancestors’ instincts. In the following article, we’ll take a look at the “wild side” of ferret life.
Domestic Ferrets in the Wild
Both ferrets and polecats have been released in New Zealand (1879-1886) as a rabbit control measure. Today a huge population of ferret-polecat hybrids occupies the island. Along with introduced stoats (a Eurasian ferret relative) and weasels, they have decimated populations of several flightless birds…the rabbits remain relatively unphased! Read More »