Monday, January 23, 2012

Ferret Colors

By now you are just starting to realize that owning a ferret is a bit more involved than you might have thought at first. Still it is better to have an understanding of what owning a ferret really is like before you run out and get your first little ball of cuteness from the local pet/feed store.

Time to take a moment to realize that you will have to train them to use the litter box, not to bite, and what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Also if you have other pets you will have to think about how they will interact with your new ferret. Not all pets get along with ferrets and it isn’t worth the stress to the ferret, the other pet, and you.

I have been lucky that my ferrets and the dogs, cats, and even a bird have all dealt with them. Granted none of my ferrets are free roamers as explained in the ferret proofing posts.But they have all had a chance to interact with extreme supervision.

Now to decide on the ferret you want. You can start with a kit bought at the local pet/feed store or you could adopt one from a local shelter. Please be responsible and only get a fixed and descented ferret.

Unlike dogs and cats, ferrets don’t have breeds they have coat colors and patterns.(1) These refer to their fur. There are different colors/patterns to choose from. Only the guard hairs are the upper coat and have color and the undercoat is almost always white.

Sable is one of the most common colors. Manny, who is one of my boys, is a good example of a Sable

Chocolate: The guard hairs are a deep brown often referred to as Milk chocolate.


Albino: White coat and pink eyes and pink noses. Do not let people tell you that Albinos are mean they just look scary. Albinos are the pit bulls of the ferret world. Blizzard was one of the sweetest ferrets I have owned and wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Champagne: is a variation of a chocolate. The guard hairs are tan or diluted chocolate, and the undercoat is white or cream

Silver: This coat color has a number of variations ranging from light silver to almost gray. Many silvers will eventually lose all of their silver markings and end up as Dark-eyed Whites.

Marked White:

Dark Eyed White also known as DEW: White coat with black or burgundy eyes


Panda: can be any color and their distinctive marking is a white head that extends down to their shoulders and includes the neck and throat (a bib). They may have colored smudges of guard hairs around their eyes, and colored guard hairs form a saddle shape on their backs. Their eyes are generally a shade of burgundy, and their noses are pink or pink with a white outline. In addition to their heads, other white markings include mitts on all four feet, knee patches, and a white tail tip.(1)

DEW, Blaze, and Pandas can have a 75% chance of being deaf from a genetic defect called Waadenburg syndrome.

All but sable, chocolate, and albinos will eventually become DEWs after shedding their coats. This could happen in a ferret’s first year of life or after many years of blowing their coats.

Disclosure: Pictures are from Pet Finder’s site unless otherwise noted. Coat color descriptions come from Dr. Forest Smith’s website. I receive no compensation from either site.

1. Coat colors

Have a Chittering Good Day,



Carol's Critter Corner said...

Hi Jo,

Great info to know. I'd like to have a ferret one day. Right now I have too many pets but once the number dwindles we will see.


Jo said...

Thanks Carol,

Glad to know that my posts are giving insight to owning a ferret. I love my two little boys and I loved having my orignial 9. Beware of ferret math. *chitters*

Have a Chittering Good Day,

Mariodacat said...

It is so great that you post what it's like to own a ferret so folks can get an idea of what they are getting into before they do it. Adopting an animal comes with responsibility. I wish more people would check out what it's like to have an animal as a pet albiet cat, dog, ferret, hamster, rat, etc. All require special care.

Jo said...

Thanks Mario,

It is true that having an animal no matter what type means responsibility. We've all made the mistake of getting that "cute" critter without knowing what we were in for but most of us did learn things mostly the hard way. Thankfully we have a way to let others know what we have learned so hopefully they won't make the same mistakes. Thanks for reading.

Have a Chittering Good Day,