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Ferret Colors

Sonia Nair Mar 3, 2020
When it comes to the identity of ferrets, their colors and color patterns play a vital role. Here is a brief overview about the different ferret colors.
Ferrets are mammals that belong to the family Mustelidae, along with weasels, polecats, badgers, and otters. These animals have been domesticated by humans for a very long time. Initially, ferrets were raised for rabbit hunting and pest control. Now, they are raised as pets in many regions of the world.
However, in some areas, it is prohibited by law. Others can buy ferrets from breeders or pet stores. While male ferrets are called hobs, females are known as jills, and the young ones (below one year) are kits.
A neutered male is a gib, whereas a spayed female is a sprite. Another interesting ferret terminology is 'business', which is a term used to refer to a group of ferrets.
Ferrets have long, slender bodies covered with fur. An average adult ferret has a body length of around 20 inches. They have a lifespan of eight years. The color and pattern are the main factors that describe the appearance of a ferret. In case of ferrets, the term 'color' refers to the color of the guard hair, undercoat, eyes, and nose; 'pattern' denotes the way in which the colors are distributed on its body.

Colors and Patterns in Ferrets

Almost all ferret newborns have sparse, white fur. Within a few days, the fur color changes to gray. White and albino ferrets retain the white coat color. It is claimed that there are only two basic versions of ferret colors - albino and sable. 
Nowadays ferrets come in different colors and patterns, due to selective breeding. Given below are some of the common ferret colors and patterns.

An ALBINO ferret has a white coat, pink/red eyes, and a pink nose. The coat color may range from pure white to cream, but they lack pigmentation totally.
  • A SABLE ferret (the most common type) has dark brown or black guard hair with a cream undercoat, dark eyes (brown or black), and dark brown fur around the eyes, in a mask pattern.
  • Another ferret color is DARK-EYED WHITE, which has white or cream-colored fur; but are not albinos, as their eye color can be burgundy, brown, or black. They have either pink or black noses, which can be mottled in some individuals.
  • BLACK SABLE ferrets have dark black guard hair, with a cream undercoat. The eyes are also black or brown, and the nose can be ash, brown, black, or mottled.
  • One of the popular ferret colors is SILVER, which has numerous versions that range between light silver to grayish hues. The nose can be pink, black, or mottled; and they lack the mask pattern around the eyes. Their eye color can be brown or black.
  • Those ferrets with guard hair in milk chocolate brown color are referred to as CHOCOLATES. They have a white or light golden undercoat, and brown or burgundy eyes. The nose can be pink, brown, or mottled.
  • You can also go for CINNAMON varieties, that are considered as rare ferret colors. These ferrets have light brown guard hair with a red hue. In this case, the coat color can range between reddish brown to blonde. They may have light or dark burgundy-colored eyes; and their nose color ranges between pink, beige, and light brown.
They may have light-colored masks; but the hair on the tail and legs are darker, as compared to body hair.
  • Another ferret color is CHAMPAGNE, which denotes light chocolate-colored guard hair and white or cream undercoat. Their eyes can be light to dark brown or burgundy; and the nose color is pink, brown, or beige.
Apart from the ferret colors, there are many patterns like roan (equal mix of dark and white guard hair), point/Siamese (dark-colored legs and tails), Panda (white head and shoulders), mitts (white feet), blaze (long, white stripe from forehead to shoulders), and solid (one solid color).
Most people go for these pets due to the colors and patterns. However, ferret coat color may change with season and age.