Ferrets are NOT rodents, they are members of the mustelid family like skunks. All you have to do is look at their teeth to be able to tell the difference. They have canines like cats and dogs. They are predators and should never be left alone with small prey animals (rabbits, mice, birds etc.) Also never leave them alone with young kittens. They may be small but they are strong and will latch on with their strong jaws.
I had 4 ferrets at the same time and you would never have known. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, like cats, and need a high meat protein diet that is chicken-based, not fish-based. Foods like Marshalls which is fish-based will stink your home to high heaven when it comes out the other end.
People make the mistake to bathe their ferrets often thinking this will help with odor. On the contrary, it actually CAUSES the odor because the skin is producing more oil to replenish what was lost. I NEVER bathed my ferrets unless they got into something stinky. Also changing their bedding every week will keep any odor down.
I actually LOVED the musky smell the kits made when they slept. I had one girl that smelled like buttered popcorn and would pick her up and just take a big sniff.
They are VERY intelligent and social creatures and would always make me laugh with their antics. I had one girl, the brains of the outfit, who would watch me open a drawer to put clothes away and when I walked away she would run over and try to open the drawer. They also learn from each other. The brainy girl figured out how to open the cage door, even though they said it was not possible (I called them). Within minutes the other girl, who had been watching, began opening the door.
Like all animals with teeth they can bite. My 3 girls, not the male, liked to do the Lick Lick CHOMP thing that many ferrets will do. It was not out of aggression, but I could always tell when they were about to do it. They eventually out grew it.
As much as I loved my crew I would never have another ferret. All ferrets sold in pet stores come from ferret mills. In the northeast it is either Marshall Farms or Path Valley Hill? All mine were Marshall Farms, which tattoo all their ferrets with 2 dots in the inside of their ears. They pump out ferrets much like puppymills. They are altered way too young which is what causes so many health problems. One of my girls develped adrenal disease at 10 months of age. Three surgeries later and multiple lupron shots didn't solve the problem.
Ferrets outside the US are much healthier since they are from hobby breeders, not ferret mills. They are also larger, usually around 5+ lbs, where all my ferts were only between 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 lbs. I was talking to a woman from Australia where they have never heard of adrenal disease or any of the US diseases found in our ferts. Also their ferts do not live in cages but have the run of the house like any dog or cat. They can be litterbox trained outside the cage, though my guys, except for the brainy girl, were never 100%.
They are wonderful companion animals, but not for everyone. Their lifespans are on average around 8 years. All mine passed before that, the oldest being 7 1/2 years old, the youngest 4 years old. They will always hold a special place in my heart.