General Question

jessy4980's avatar

Do female ferrets smell?

Asked by jessy4980 (1points) September 12th, 2008

Im just wondering if the female of the species smells as bad as the male or even has a smell at all?

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16 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

Yes, they exude an odor, also.

Ferrets are distant cousins to the Skunk and Weasel, which may explain that.

tWrex's avatar

My sister in law has 3 ferrets, 2 males and a female and I can attest that they all stink equally.

JackAdams's avatar

This has inspired me to ask a related Q, and I’m grateful!

robmandu's avatar

Oh boy! Another JackAdams’ question! We haven’t had one of those in what… um, 5 minutes?

JackAdams's avatar

I must be slipping…

robmandu's avatar

Maybe. Your current average is 5.08 questions/day (or 4.85 if you use the non-official tool). I think that’s been trending down over time lately.

JackAdams's avatar

I’m impressed with your knowledge!

How many times did I fart, in 2003? Just curious…

robmandu's avatar

The American Ferret Association has this to say:

Ferrets are known to have their own natural musky scent. This scent is present in all ferrets, whether they’re early spay/neuter ferrets, later alter ferrets, or intact ferrets (not spayed or neutered). Contrary to common belief, however, the natural scent in ferrets has nothing to do with their anal glands. The scent is in fact produced by oils in the skin and is mostly apparent in intact ferrets who are cycling into their reproductive season. Once a ferret is spayed or neutered, most of its odor is eliminated, though a light musky scent will remain. Owners who may find this remaining scent stronger than usual can easily alleviate the problem by replacing the ferret’s bedding (hammock, sleep sacks, etc.) with clean bedding. Frequent bathing is not recommended. This will in fact have the opposite effect to the one desired, since the ferret’s skin will produce more oils to replenish what was lost in the bath.

In addition to their natural musky scent, ferrets, like skunks, are born with the capacity to emit strong odors through their anal (scent) glands. As applied to domestic ferrets, the term “descenting” refers to the surgical removal of these glands. The term is misleading, however, since it seems to imply the removal of natural body scents that, in mild form, are a permanent feature of ferret physiology. These scents can never be totally eliminated, since, in ferrets, they are not produced by the anal glands but by sebaceous secretions of the skin.

JackAdams's avatar

You know, all of you should be extremely proud of me, for not answering this question with, “Yes, if they have a nose, then they smell.”

Larssenabdo's avatar

If you get your ferret from a petstore, it will be neutered and descented and the smell will be relatively minimal. If it bugs you, used scented drier sheets and change the bedding twice a week, as AFA recommends. AFA is a great resource, btw; wonderful people.
I can notice a slight difference between late-altered boys and girls; the boys probably have more scent glands, but these would come from either a rescue (possibly) or a breeder. A responsible breeder will not sell you an unneutered ferret, but THOSE boys are the really stinky ones. Ferrets come into season, in the US after Xmas to about March, and when they are in season, that is when they are pungent.
Some people like ferret smell, just as some don’t mind wet dog smell. I’ll take either over cat litter box smell. Our little ferret girls smell a bit like corn chips when they wake up from naps.
Best to you.

Larssenabdo's avatar

PS, Skunks were removed from the Mustelid family several years ago.

JackAdams's avatar

But they still attend the reunions.

Larssenabdo's avatar

Tru dat. They always bring potato salad, is what I heard.

JackAdams's avatar

Yeah, but they always have to sit by themselves, at the card tables…

Larssenabdo's avatar

Cheap paper plates, flimsy plastic forks, crappy desserts…

JackAdams's avatar

You got it!

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