[ history of the domesticated ferret | ferret art ]

Here is a brief history lesson of our beloved ferret. I've also included some ferret art for you.


No one knows who domesticated the ferret. There are many scientific theories and ancient hieroglyphic writings that show something about it, but it still remains a mystery. Around 400 BC, Aritophanes (448-385 BC), a Greek satirical writer wrote a series of plays that are the earliest known writings likely to be of the ferret. Some people suggest that the Egyptians domesticated the ferret. It is said that before the Egyptians worshiped the cat, they where worshiping ferrets, although there is no proof for this theory. Ferrets are also shown in drawings from the 1300's being fed by humans into rabbit holes to chase rabbits from their burrows.

Ferret Carrier and Hunting Trap

This is a Hunters Wooden Ferret Carrier and Hunting Trap. The hunter would put his hunting ferret into this wooden carrier and off they'd go!


Click on the thumbnail to enlarge photo. To learn about a painting, just scroll over its thumbnail.

Sherborne Missal: 1300 A.D. Henry J. Johnson (I believe this is the creator):
This painting contains pictures of a ferret, ermine, sable, weasel, pine martin, ratel, pole cat and skunk. The designation on the prints says “PLATE XIX CARNIVORA”. The ferret in this painting is of a wild one, obviously. :) This painting is from a rare American Natural History Book printed in 1880. So I believe the painting is from 1880, I could be wrong though. Louis Agassiz Fuertes: 1918 - The black footed ferret! Landau: 1963- Another gorgeous painting of the black footed ferret. This painting was on a cover of a magazine back in 1964. Not sure which, what I have here is all that I have been told. George Louise Leclerc Buffon Comte de: 1707-1788- This man spent years writing *Historie Naturelle*. Beginning his study in 1749, it was left unfinished at the time of his death. This engraved circa was on page 63 of *Historie Naturelle*. The caption on top of this reads: Der Tltis Tab LXIII. John Church: 1805- A Cabinet of Quadrupeds - London Adam: 1801-1866- This is a canvas print titled Ferret Hunting done originally by *Adam*. What his last name is I couldn't tell ya. 1898- This is a woodcut print from the book Animate Creation; popular edition of 'Our Living World'. I'm not sure of the author, but the period is accurate. 1899- This picture is titled *Bill placed his nets and introducted the ferret*. This picture actually came from a children’s publication printed in 1899. 1848- The original of this is a hand colored engraving from Goldsmith's Animated Nature. This engraving includes a Weasel, Ermine, Pine Martin and Vison. 1896- This beautiful woodcut page illustration is from the book Kings of the Forest and Their Kindred Tribes, by W. A. Foster. Queen Mary's Psalter: 1310 - 1335 A.D. Gaston Phebus: Livre de Chasse (book of the hunting) 1390 A.D. Leonardo da Vinci: 1489 A.D. Paulus Potter: Created sometime during the 17th Century Domenico di Bartolo: 1443 Fresque de Matteo Giovanetti: 1343 This is beautiful portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First and her pet ferret! From what I have been told, this image came from the cover of *Queen Elizabeth I, a Pitkin Guide*. So I am unsure of the exact author and time period. This is from *The Ferreter's Tapestry,* a fifteenth-century tapestry from Burgundy, France. It is in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries. It shows peasants hunting rabbits with purse-nets and ferrets. The woman in the upper left corner is holding a wicker basket and a man removing a white ferret from the basket. Again, unknown painter.