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What's For Dinner?

Ferrets are obligate carnivores that require a diet quite different from many other pets.

By Julie Fossa

What's For Dinner?Nutritionists study ferret diets, veterinarians recommend various ferret diets, and owners have specific — and varying — beliefs about ferret diets. Much debate surrounds which type of ferret diet provides the most complete nutrition. Is there a best diet for your ferret?

Ferret Biology 101
Prior to domestication, our ferrets’ ancestors would stake their claim to a portion of real estate by marking the perimeter with their scent to keep out competitors. The inhabitants could then hunt the area for mice, frogs or the occasional juicy bug for their dinner. Leftovers were stashed for a bedtime snack. Nature equipped ferrets well for hunting prey. Their canine teeth are sharp and curved. Strong jaws open wide to deliver a deadly, suffocating grip on their prey. Carnassial teeth, located at the back of the jaw, are pointed and fit together perfectly to efficiently slice flesh and crack bone. Despite having some of the best hunting equipment available, however, ferrets have been domesticated for so long they do not know how to recognize prey or defend themselves if lost outside their homes. 

For the full article, pick up the 2011 issue of Critters USA or click here to buy the issue.

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