Ferret Life

Why ferrets are so flexible

Why ferrets are so flexible?

Ferrets have fur on their bodies. They are so delicate in weight also like around 2 kg adult weight. Their body skeleton structure makes them flexible, fast and active. Which are consists of 200 bones just like the other mammals including humans. Let’s know why ferrets are so flexible. Ferret’s skeletal system is consisting of three main parts which makes them different from other animals which are;

  1. Made up of the skull, vertebrae, ribs, and sternum (The axial skeleton).
  2. Done up of the bones of the front arms, rear legs, shoulders, and pelvis (The appendicular skeleton).
  3. It’s of the kneecaps, the fabella in a tendon of the rear legs and, the penis in males (The heterotopic skeleton).

Why ferrets are so flexible like rubber

The ferret’s body is so flexible and full of strength and functionality. As they are considered speedy mammals. The skeleton of the carnivores evolutionary evolved because of the variations throughout, the skeleton of mustelids are the same. Here we will know why ferrets are so flexible

The uniqueness of the ferret skeleton

If you will observe closely to the younger ferret’s skeleton. You will get to know that it has more bones like 2-3 times more than an adult ferret but these fuses together soon. The vertebrae are a little longer than in most mammals and true neck vertebrae and the limb bones are a bit shorter than in most mammals. As compared to the other mammal’s ferrets have longer skulls.

  1. The skull

The ferret skull is long and flat for many reasons. As it makes him biting hard as compared to other mammal and very useful for killing animals near your size. His bite is so sharp and hard that he can get through a pencil and his body is so flexible and fast turned while running down. So don’t let it bump into your head.

  1. The vertebral column

The flexibility and power of a ferret are due to its unique and great energetic vertebral column which is longer than any other mammal. That’s why while running or sprinting. They can make sudden moves and change directions while running real fast because of their strong muscles of the back.

Most of the ferrets don’t show it the actual ability to reach warp speed obviously living at home. But you can check the lightning speed of ferret in the wild. As they fast run while carrying heavy loads in their mouth and change direction with flexibility.

They can carry 2-3 times their body mass and for turning around in burrows or hide on tree limbs. It also helps them jumping and landing and act as a shock absorber in falls. Most of them can jump 2-4 times long to their body or sometimes even more which is 10-25 feet in humans. As this power comes from the muscles of the back and the strong vertebral column.

  1. Arm bones

The ferret’s bones are small and tiny ossified in the muscle. Where the arm bone is linked with scapula, humerus, Radis, and ulna are the same as a human. Their arms are very strong because the elbows are extended on the end for digging purposes.

The carpels (wrist bone), metacarpals (hand bones) and phalanges (finger bones) are the same. Except for the 3rd phalanx which has claw handling and supports till the nails of a ferret.

The ferret’s arm has five digits front and back with tiny bones and tendons where they pass over joints. In humans, there are 1 or 2 at thumbs but ferrets have 2 for every digit and fingers have 3 finger bones like humans. So you can imagine what he can do with a thumb which is like a human finger.

  1. Leg bones

Of course, the legs bones exclusively play an important role in the flexibility of the body by which they jump and run. The ankle bones (femur, tibia, and fibula) and the foot bones are the same. As hand bones but limbs are short and powerful which is why they dig faster and can run fast. The short limbs of ferret allow them to burrows and quite energetic for digging, climbing and running around.

Moreover, ferrets have considered the strongest animals on earth pound per pound due to their bodily structure. These tiny creatures are quite strong to their size. His tiny and short legs are a good set of a shock absorber. This makes him digger, climber and leaper along with powerful spinal cord which allows jump 5-10 times to their body length without injury. However, jumping from the 3rd or 4th floor of a building without an injury is itself an amazing factor to measure the flexibility of ferret.

  1. The pelvis

Just like the other carnivores, the pelvis of the ferret is composed of 2 os coxae and 1 sacrum. As compared to human pelves are twisted because of upright posture. The male ferret has an os penis (bacula) and the female an os clitoris.

  1. Back and chest bones

All carnivores have different lengths of vertebrae. Even including humans are modified for upright posture and the neck bones are short as ferrets have cervical vertebrae. So the length of the vertebrae considers the length of the neck. Which enhances the flexibility of the ferret and makes him more energetic.

Ferrets                              Humans

15 T with 30 ribs              12 Thoracic vertebrae

8 bones of Sternum         1 or 2 bones

5-6 Lumbar vertebrae      5

3 sacral vertebrae            5

18 caudal vertebrae         3-4

  1. Head bones

Ferrets have 9 hyoid bones in the head.  The incisors are rooted in 2 premaxillary bone which is not available in humans. The rest of the skull is the same with a couple of bones in the human skull. Obviously being an animal ferret jaws is different from the human. It also has a bony covering over the middle ear that is called an auditory bulla. The skull is a bit different from where the jaws articulate and protect ears and improve hearing.

  1. The tail

Usually, the tail of the ferret is half the size of its body’s length. As far as they can turn around while keeping their body twisted around at U-turn shape. The reason is the vertebral column is long enough and flexible which allows him to go in narrow places and turn out at a fast pace.

  1. Toenails

Ferrets are unique & intelligent, sharp and fast runners. Which are used to be hunters to catch the prey. As fast no one can escape from the catch. Their strong, sharp and non-tractable toenails are very useful for digging and climbing up the trees or anywhere else.

That’s why when petting a ferret you should be careful and allow them to climb over the things or multiple level cages are best. However, there are 5 digits on their foot which differ from dogs and cats.

Conclusion

The ferret’s whole skeletal system has unique adaptations than a human being has; it gives a ferret long and slender body with short limbs. Their long vertebral column contributes a major role in the flexibility of the body and reduces the risks of injuries whether they jump out of the building. Very fascinating to know why ferrets are so flexible? The bones are very strong structure in such a way that they have a total grip on everything they catch. However, the small bones of the limbs may have the risk of fractures.

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