Here are 15 facts about Pet Weasels that you must know!

What a weasel! That would be the coolest pet ever! If you love animals as much as we do here at Animal Hearted, you probably want to get to know each and every one of them.

Big ones, small ones, wild ones, tame ones, young ones, old ones…it is a rare animal that escapes your interest and attention.

Ozzy, a ridiculously adorable pet least weasel (Mustela nivalis), has recently gone viral on the internet (to the tune of more than 3 million views on YouTube).

Ozzy was found as a tiny baby, orphaned and half-dead, and was rescued. He is thriving today, thank goodness!

However, as Ozzy’s owner points out, the weasel is a wild species. It’s illegal to keep a wild weasel as a pet. Alternatively, as Ozzy’s owner says (and we quote), “Don’t bother getting one. Seriously. Ozzy is a one-of-a-kind rescue baby. Cute, but lethal.”

The ferret, a domestic cousin of wild weasels, is equally adorable. A ferret is legal to keep as a weasel pet, and unlike a weasel, a ferret adapts well to domestication. They share the same high energy level and playful personality, and they make excellent pets!

Here are 15 facts about weasels that you must know!

Fact 1: Weasels and ferrets are both members of the Mustelidae family.

There are approximately 17 species of wild weasels, the most well-known and recognized of which are the long-tailed weasel and the least weasel (aka Ozzy).

Weasels are found in North and South America, Asia, and Europe, but are not found in Africa or Oceania.

Fact 2: The weasel is the world’s smallest carnivorous mammal.

The least weasel is the smallest member of the weasel family, frequently weighing 4.5 ounces or less and rarely growing longer than six inches.

This means that not only is the weasel family the smallest carnivorous mammal on the planet, but the weasel itself is the smallest carnivorous mammal on the planet.

Fact 3: A weasel as small as Ozzy can take down prey ten times his size.

Yes, indeed. Weasels may appear small and cute, but they are ferocious. Size isn’t an issue for a hungry weasel, and it’s certainly not a reason to hold back when the prey looks delectable.

Rabbits, ducks, and other large prey animals are common weasel prey, despite the fact that each is 10 times the size of the predator.

Weasels are so vicious that even when they have just eaten and are overburdened with food, their killing abilities do not diminish in the least.

Fact 4: When weasels are hungry, they are not happy campers.

Because of his small size, a weasel can’t hold much prey at once. This means that a weasel needs to eat frequently and up to 60% of his body weight on a daily basis in order to stay strong and healthy.

This also means that weasels are extremely hungry. The good news is that when a weasel corners its prey, it is ecstatic. It even performs a war dance (no, we’re not kidding – see for yourself!).

Fact 5: The weasel’s cousin is the stinkiest mammal on the planet.

If you thought being a pint-sized, ferocious killing machine was cool, consider this: weasels are skunk cousins.

Weasels are therefore pint-sized, ferocious, and extremely stinky killing machines.

Weasels, like their black and white cousins, can and will use targeted stink bombs when they feel cornered (whether they are or not!).

Fact 6: Certain weasel and ferret relatives are threatened with extinction.

The black-footed ferret and the long-tailed Florida weasel are two of the most well-known endangered members of the weasel family.

The good news is that wildlife organizations are working hard to re-establish and replenish endangered wild ferrets and weasels, and they are having some success so far.

Fact 7: Weasels like to save their leftovers.

Weasels may not have styrofoam or plastic take-out containers, but they do not enjoy being hungry. So, if the killing is good, it will most likely continue even after the weasel has been stuffed.

This can lead to behaviors that appear suspiciously like hoarding, at least when observed in the wild.

While the average food cache may hold up to 50 dispatched prey carcasses for “later,” one Greenland weasel stored 150 lemmings. That is a large number of lemmings!

Fact 8: Under ultraviolet light, weasels with white winter coats glow a lovely lavender color.

This is considered an urban legend in some circles, but it is actually quite true!

When exposed to ultraviolet light, the pelage (pelt) of the least weasel begins to glow a lavender shade, according to the Minnesota State Department of Natural Resources.

Unfortunately, a search for the reason for this resulted in no additional fascinating facts, other than making it easier for scientists to tell least weasels apart from their relatives.

Fact 9: No one knows why the weasel in the song of the same name goes “pop.”

The song “Pop Goes the Weasel” was written in Victorian-era London, most likely as part of the soundtrack for a music hall performance.

To date, the working theory is that the weasel in the song is a spoked wheel used by textile workers to measure out thread, rather than a mammal. When the wheel reached the proper length, it made a “pop” sound.

The “pop” sound had the added benefit of preventing bored, exhausted workers from nodding off on the job and thereby attracting the wrath of their bosses.

Fact 10: There are approximately 8 million domestic weasels (ferrets) in the United States alone.

A domesticated weasel makes for an entertaining and very cute sidekick, as demonstrated by Ozzy’s videos. Perhaps this is why there has been an increase in the number of domestic pet weasels – an estimated 8 million ferrets live in 4 million households today.

Not bad for a pet that didn’t exist until just a few decades ago!

Fact 11: Pet weasels can sleep for up to 20 hours per day.

It has to be nice, right? Members of the weasel family are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dusk and dawn, when conditions are ideal for hunting prey.

Otherwise, unless you want to play, their main hobby is sleeping. If this is the case, your weasel companion will be eager to join you.

Fact 12: Pet weasels are not suitable for every household.

Even the domesticated ferret is a carnivorous predator, so their presence may endanger other family pets. Even if the weasel is not hungry, birds, rodents, kittens, rabbits, and even puppies and other household pets up to ten times the size of the weasel may be viewed as prey.

Furthermore, because pet weasels are small and low to the ground, babies and very young children can easily step on or roll over them. A weasel may bite in self-defense as a result of this.

Fact 13: Pet weasels pose no special dangers.

Some pets, such as reptiles, carry bacteria or diseases that make them unsuitable for pregnant women or families with young children, whose immune systems are weaker.

In terms of disease transmission, ferrets are no more or less safe than the family dog or cat. It is only necessary to proceed with caution to ensure that the new weasel will fit in with the rest of the existing family.

Fact 14: Pet weasels may benefit from the company of another weasel.

Weasels are mostly solitary mammals in the wild. Captive ferrets, on the other hand, are extremely social and thrive in groups.

This does not necessitate the purchase of two weasels, especially if you intend to be home frequently during the hours when your weasel will be awake and eager to play.

However, having two weasels can be very beneficial when you are unable to be a companion so that your weasel is not alone.

Fact 15: Pet weasels enjoy being near you while you are doing whatever you are doing.

Weasels make excellent pets because they are highly observant, active, and intelligent. When they aren’t snoozing, the average pet weasel will do whatever they see you doing.

Even if you’re doing something mundane like sweeping the floor, this can be a lot of fun. Sweeping will no longer be boring with the addition of a weasel!

To summarize, having a weasel (a ferret) as a pet is not for everyone. However, for many working adults today, a weasel is the most ideal pet you could ever have.

While you are at work, your weasel will sleep the entire day. When you get home, exhausted from the day and ready to have some fun, your weasel will have just woken up and will be eager to eat, socialize, play, and explore.

You won’t have to worry about your weasel becoming anxious while you’re away because those hours will be productively spent napping.

If you are currently renting a house or apartment, most landlords are perfectly fine with a tenant who has a weasel that stays in a cage during the day (this is also safer for your pet in case they get into any area of the house they can’t easily get out of!).

Finally, if you own a weasel, you can create a Facebook page for your pet and upload cute videos to YouTube to entertain other weasel owners. This can improve your social life and provide you and your beloved weasel with your own 15 minutes of fame.

After a few days with your new weasel, you might forget what life was like before your adorable furry sidekick arrived!

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