Ferret (Putorius furo), a domesticated albino variety of the polecat (P.feetidus), bred in Europe and America for killing rats and driving rabbits from their burrows. It is about 14 inches long exclusive of the tail, with yellowish-white fur and characteristic pink eyes, and invariably breeds true except when mated with the wild form, when the young partake of the characters of both parents. The variety probably arose in southern Europe or
Africa in classic times, when the polecat or the marten was kept as a mouser. When used to drive rabbits from their burrows, ferrets are muzzled or held in a leash; without this precaution they would probably gorge themselves with blood, and sleep till thirst compelled them to come out. They are also employed to kill fowls for the table, which they do very neatly with a single bite. Ferrets can never be called "tame," and show no affection for their masters, who, however, handle them fearlessly and are rarely bitten. But these animals never lose their thirst for blood, and there are instances on record of their attacking children in the cradle with terrible effects.