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File:Ferret 2008.pngThe ferret is a domesticated mammal almost certainly being selectively bred from the European Polecat (Mustela putorius furo). Male ferrets are substantially larger than females. They typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur. They have an average length of 50cm including a 13 cm tail, weigh about 0.72 kg, and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years.

Several other small, elongated carnivorous mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae also have the word ferret in their common names, including an endangered species, the Black-footed Ferret.

It is likely that ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years. They are still used for hunting rabbits in some parts of the world today, but increasingly they are kept simply as pets. Given that they are members of the mustelid family, ferrets have a pungent smell about them, so they do not made good pets in most domestic, urban or city environments.