Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia Domains of Life
Phylum: Chordata  
Class: Mammalia  
Order: Carnivora  
Family: Mustelidae  
Genus: Mustela  
Species: Mustela putorius furo
(Encyclopedia of Life, 2013)  


Domain- According to rRNA sequences, all life is grouped within three domains: Bacteria and Archaea, also known as the prokaryotes, and the Eukaryotes.  The prokaryotes and Eukaryotes are separated by a number of things, one example being the presence of a nucleus. The ferret is multicellular and its cells have a nucleus.  It also possess true organelles within membranes, such as the mitochondria and Golgi apparatus. Another example of a Eukaryote is the Humboldt Squid  (Encyclopedia of Life, 2013).  

Kingdom: The ferret is classified as an animal because it is motile, heterotrophic, multicellular, lacks a rigid cell walls, and its embryo passes through a blastula phase.  Other examples of organisms within this kingdom are cats, dogs, sponges, and even the HUGE Paraceratherium (Encyclopedia of Life, 2013).      

Animal Phyla
Phylum: Chordata includes vertebrates such as mammals, fish, and reptiles. Mustela putorius furo is a vertebrate that is bilateral and symmetric with a head differentiated from the trunk and tail.  Other common structures of chordates include the notochord, and nerve cord (Tree of Life, 2004).  

Class:  Organisms that possess mammary glands that produce milk and have hair sometime within their life are classified as mammals.  The ferret has hair, mammary glands, and is warm-blooded which is common of most mammals (Tree of Life, 2004).  

Order: Most Carnivora have meat based diet although there are some that are omnivorous such as the giant panda.  Other characteristics of the carnivore are teeth, claws, and binocular vision. Other animals within this order include: tigers, the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), and bears (Encyclopedia of Life, 2013).  

Family:  Members of the Mustelidae family include: badgers, otters, weasels, skunks, and many more relatives of the ferret. Mustelidae is the largest family in the Carnivora order.  Common characteristics of animals in this family are short legs, thick fur, nocturnal, and all but the sea otter have anal scent glands used for signaling mates and marking territory (Encyclopedia of Life, 2013).  

 Genus: Mustela is the genus that includes weasels, European polecats, stoats, ferrets, and European minks.  Ferrets can be classified as a member of the Mustela genus by their long slender bodies, short legs, and the fact they are active predators (Animal Classification, 2008).   

Species: The ferret, Mustela putorius furo, has a long slender body usually 20 inches long including a 5 inch tail, brown, black, or white hair, with an average life span of approximately 8 years. Mustela is Latin for weasel, putorius=smelly, and furo =thief.  Therefore our ferret is a weasel that is a smelly thief (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014).  

Learn more about the Habitat of the ferret!