October is Family History Month so we thought we’d take a look at the Ferret Family Tree this month. Ferrets belong to the Mustelidae family along with lots of other lovely creatures.
Let’s start with a bit of science homework. Remember in school science we learned about Kingdoms, Phylums, Classes, Orders, Families, Genus and Species?
Well we’re not going to be quite as detailed as that because it would take FOREVER! But we’ll start with Kingdom and see where we get.
Kingdom – Animalia
The Kingdom that houses ferrets is known as Animalia. Moving down the family tree, we reach the order which is where the ferret family tree starts to branch off.
Order – Carnivora
The Order we are interested in is Carnivora. Don’t confuse this with carnivores, which is about what animals eat. The Carnivora is the order classification which then splits down into two – feliform and caniform – which means cat-like and dog-like. Ferrets fall into the caniform side.
Each time we step down we are pinpointing more accurately towards a specific animal.
Super-family – Mulsteloidea
So we’ve got order, family, genus, and species. However, just to be awkward in family, you can have super-family, which sits just above family or subfamily that sits just below family.
For ferrets, we have the Carnivora order stepping down to the super-family of musteloidea and family – mustelidae.
Mainly we are going to be looking at everything in the super-family musteloidea. However, there will be one exception later in the month.
Next, we’ll look at the different genus and the different species, which is where we get down to the actual Latin name, Mustela Furo. For the domesticated ferret, Mustela is the genus and Furo is the species.
We’ll leave it there for this week. Next week we’ll look at the genus Mustela.