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Confusion About Sexing Ferrets

How can you tell male ferrets from female ferrets?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: September 1, 2011, 5. a.m. EDT

comparing the abdomens of a female and male ferret
© Rebecca Stout
The female ferret on the left is visibly different from the male ferret on the right.

Q: I am having a problem trying to figure out the sex of my ferrets. I got the ferrets from a pet store that buys from a large-scale ferret breeder. When we purchased the ferrets, they told us the ferrets were boys and about 6 to 8 weeks old when we got them. Shortly after we got them, one of them appeared to go into a heat of some sort -- the genitalia got swollen and remained that way for about two months. It returned to normal size, but my other ferret has never gone into a heat-type situation. Its genitalia look just like the ferret that did. The ferrets are spayed or neutered and de-scented. Is there any other way I can tell if they are girls or boys?
 
A: In this image, the male ferret is on the right. On the male ferret, you can see the prepuce on the midline of the abdomen. The penis is hidden inside the prepuce. If you look on the female ferret on the left, there is no “tissue” apparent on the midline as it is on the male’s. Also, in female ferrets the mammary glands are apparent by evidence of the symmetrically placed nipples on the abdomen.

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