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Ferret Dictionary - Speaking the mysterious language of ferret owners

By Courtney Stoker

Ferret Dictionary - Speaking the mysterious language of ferret owners

Terms for a ferret

Baby* Land piranha
Carpet shark Meat slinky
Carpet snake Noodle
Cat snake Rat snake
Dook dook Slinky
Ferry Speedbump
Fert Stinki/stinky
Furbaby* Stinkus maximus
Furkid* Thief
Furret Tube shark
Fuzzbutt Weasel
Fuzzy Wombatbum
Land otter Woozle

*These words are commonly used for any pet, particularly mammals.

Terms for specific kinds of ferrets

Business A group of ferrets
Gib An altered (neutered) male ferret
Hob An unaltered male ferret
Jill An unaltered female ferret
Kit A baby ferret (usually under 1 year old)
Sprite An altered (spayed) female ferret

Coat colors and patterns

Guard hairs Longer, coarser hairs that extend beyond the undercoat
Undercoat A sparser, shorter, and softer coat close to the skin
Albino All white/cream coat with red eyes
Angora Long haired ferrets in which the undercoat is the same length as the guard hairs
Black Black or dark brown guard hairs with white or cream undercoat
Blaze White fur pattern starting at the forehead and continuing down the neck to the shoulders
Bib White patch or patches under the neck
Champagne Light tan or light chocolate guard hairs with white or cream undercoat
Chocolate Milk chocolate brown guard hairs with white or slightly golden undercoat
Dark-eyed white (DEW) White or cream coat with burgundy (dark) eyes
Mask The “bandit mask” markings in a dark color around a ferret’s eyes
Mitts White feet when the white stops at the ankle
Panda Nearly or fully white head, including neck and throat
Point Legs, shoulders, tail, and mask are darker than the rest of the body’s fur
Roan A “salt and pepper” type coat with half dark/colored guard hairs and half white guard hairs
Sable A medium warm brown coat color. This is the most common ferret coat color
Silver Light silver or gray coat. Many silvers will lose their silver coats and become DEWs
Stocking White feet when the white extends halfway up the leg
Dark eyed whiteDark eyed white Cinnamon pointCinnamon point Panda markings, photo by Mariposa Veterinary Wellness CenterPanda markings, photo by Mariposa Veterinary Wellness Center Sable masked ferret with a bib, photo by Scott OvesSable masked ferret with a bib, photo by Scott Oves Silver markingsSilver markings

Other terms

Adrenal Shortened term for adrenal disease, referring to neoplastic growth of one or both adrenal glands
Bedding Blankets, hammocks, sleep sacks, and any other materials that a ferret sleeps in
Brat stage Ferret version of the terrible twos!
Dead sleep A deep sleep some ferrets enter in which they are very hard to wake up, even when shaken, handled, or poked
Descenting An unnecessary surgical procedure in which a ferret’s anal glands that produce musk (poofing) are removed. This does not affect a ferret’s body odor, which is caused by the oils in a ferret’s skin
DIP, D.I.P. Dook in Peace, instead of Rest in Peace (RIP)
Distemper Refers to canine distemper, a viral disease that is fatal to ferrets. There is a canine distemper vaccination specifically for ferrets
Dook, dooking The noise a ferret makes when they are happy, excited, exploring, or content. Dooking sounds like chortling or soft barking
Duck soup A soup with a porridge-like consistency made for ferrets as a treat or when they are sick, usually made of the ferret’s normal kibble, water/meat broth, and possibly other ingredients 
Ferret math When ferret owners find themselves unwittingly obtaining more and more ferrets because ferrets are addictive
Ferret proof, ferret proofing Like baby proofing, ensuring that anything dangerous to a ferret is put away, secured, or inaccessible
Ferretone A supplement/treat that is often put on a ferret’s belly to distract them while their nails are getting clipped
Ferrent Ferret parent, person with ferrets. Used in place of “ferret owner”
Forever home A home where a ferret is loved and cared for during its entire life
Free roaming A free roaming ferret does not stay in a cage (except possibly in rare situations, such as when an owner needs to clean the house) and has “free roam” of a house, apartment, or room
Hidey hole A place in which a ferret hides their favorite toys and stolen items. Most ferrets have more than one “hidey hole”
Hiss Sound ferrets make when they are angry, annoyed, or grumpy
Nutrigel A supplement/treat that is often put on a ferret’s belly to distract them while their nails are getting clipped
Obligate carnivore A flesh-eating animal whose survival depends on nutrients found only in animal flesh. Obligate carnivores cannot digest plant matter. Ferrets are obligate carnivores
Poof, poofing When a ferret with scent glands (not descented) releases a mildly unpleasant odor, usually when startled or unhappy.
Rainbow bridge When a ferret or other pet dies, they are said to cross the “rainbow bridge” to Heaven. There is a poem by an unknown author that uses this phrase, describing Heaven as a place where dead pets happily play and are eventually reunited with their owners when they die
Rat tail Tail alopecia, usually (re)occurring in the summer, when the tail begins to look like a rat’s tail with scaly skin, blackheads, and sparse, bristly fur. This condition is harmless and most common in males
Scream, screech Sound ferrets make when they are startled or scared
Scruff, scruffing When a ferret is held by the skin on the back of their neck. Scruffing often makes ferrets yawn
Time out Putting a ferret in a cat carrier or isolated spot when they are being naughty (doing something undesirable, like biting)
Treasure chest A place in which a ferret hides their favorite toys and stolen items. Most ferrets have more than one “treasure chest”
Weasel war dance A display in which ferrets bounce or jump around, usually with an arched back, stiff legs, and open mouth. Ferrets tend to be uncoordinated when engaging in a war dance, bumping into things, rolling around, and thrashing their heads around. The war dance usually means the ferret is happy, frisky, and wanting to play

This article originally appeared in Dook Dook Ferret Magazine (Issue 8). To receive 6 new Dook Dook Ferret Magazines per year + get access to other bonuses then join the Ferret-World Membership.

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