Why Are Ferrets So Flexible4 min read

The name ferret comes from the Latin furittus, meaning “little thief.”  The name was well deserved: these small animals are prolific hunters and will create a short-lived empire out of any damp, dark place they can find.

They are furry, cute pets and are popular because of their playfulness. And what makes them pretty unique is that they are very flexible. They are awesome animals.

They are very flexible and can fit through almost any opening they come across. The fact that they can fit through an opening so small is amazing.

In the wild, their environment is that of small burrowing animals. It is a tight space, with plenty of opportunities to get stuck in one position and not be able to move.

When Ferrets go underground, their spine can strech out, making their body 30% longer!

Why ferrets are so flexible like rubber

Ferrets are so flexible that they are able to make a full circle with their body. How can this be explained?  

The truth is, Ferrets are very flexible like rubber because they have a flexible vertebral column. If the vertebrae were solid and immobile, the ferret would not be able to bend its body into the positions that it commonly does.

A Ferret’s vertebrae are more flexible on the back than a for example a human’s, meaning they are much more capable of movement.

The uniqueness of the ferret skeleton

Striped Skunk Skeleton
Sklmsta, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The processes on each segment of the spine are thinner than those on other animals – allowing more movement

Ferrets are a lot more flexible than most other pets, and it’s not due to their long and skinny bodies. It’s actually because of their unique skeleton.

Most animals have heavy and sturdy bones to support their bodies, but ferrets have thin and light bones.

As a result, ferrets can contort themselves into a variety of fun shapes and positions.

The backbone’s flexibility is allowing the ferret to move like an eel. A ferret has 15 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar, and 3 sacral vertebrae.

These vertebrae are separated by an intervertebral disc, which absorbs the movement’s shock, and the vertebrae of the backbone attached to the muscles with the tendons’ help.

How flexible is a ferret?

Ferrets are the Rodney Dangerfields of the animal world. They are fascinating animals that have a lot of unique characteristics.

One of the more interesting things about ferrets is their flexibility. They can move in ways that most people wouldn’t think possible.

They can twist, turn, and contort their bodies in ways that would make a contortionist jealous.

Do Ferrets Have Spines (really?)

Yes. They do! Like all mammals! What may surprise you is that most of their bones are actually spongy and hollow, making them supremely bendy and able to twist themselves into a pretzel.

Despite their skeletal differences, these playful creatures can do all the same tricks as other animals with more rigid skeletons, like jumping, running, and climbing.

They are also surprisingly nimble, and they can balance on thin poles, which, now that we mention it, is pretty impressive.

How are ferrets so bendy?

The answer to this question is actually pretty simple: ferrets are so bendy because of their genetics. They have a unique skeleton that allows them to be extremely flexible.

You might be thinking that it’s not particularly astonishing that a mustelid might be flexible; after all, ferrets have a long, lithe body that’s built for digging.

But the ferret’s real talent lies in the way it can bend its body to a seemingly impossible degree while not injuring itself. (Ferrets are so flexible they can twist up to 180 degrees both vertically and horizontally.)

Ferrets use their body’s flexibility to greatly affect their main mode of hunting—in the tight and twisty burrows they inhabit.

Did You Know

Ferrets are active, playful, and intelligent mammals. They are also related to the weasel family and have similar behavior and body structure. Ferrets are often kept as pets in the United States.

Although they are legal in most countries, some have specific restrictions on keeping ferrets as pets. Ferrets are exceptionally playful and have been known to make “Ferrety” sounds while playing.

Despite their common name, ferrets are not rodents. Ferrets are, however, related to polecats and minks, making them a mustelid.

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