Honoriki are small fluffy animals belonging to the weasel family. These animals are often kept as pets. The species was obtained as a result of a hybrid of the steppe and forest ferret with the European mink. The name honorik, formed from the merger of the names of the parents, is used only in Russia, all over the world these animals are called, like ordinary domestic ferrets & # 8212; fretka (frette, or fredka).
Origin of the species and description
Honorik — a hybrid species obtained by crossing Mustela eversmanni (forest polecat), Mustela eversmanni (steppe polecat) and Mustela lutreola (European mink). This species was bred by the famous Soviet zoologist Dmitry Ternovsky in 1978. Since this species is bred artificially, these animals can be found mainly in captivity, although honoriki are also found in the wild.
Outwardly, honoriki differ little from ordinary ferrets. The body of animals is thin and flexible. These animals have a thin and rather long neck, a small rounded head, and a long, fluffy tail, which the honorik inherited from the European mink. Honorik is slightly larger than ordinary ferrets. An adult individual weighs from 400 grams to 2.6 kg. The height of the animal is about 50 cm, the tail is about 15-18 cm.
Honoriki differ from ferrets in thick and fluffy hair and specific coloration. From the minks, these animals got a black awn, it is equally evenly distributed over the entire brownish underfur. From ferrets, animals inherited a flexible body shape and large ears bordered by a white stripe.
In recent years, these animals are practically not grown in zoos due to the rarity of minks, and the difficulty of breeding animals, and more and more often traders under the guise of honoriks sell ordinary ferrets. But real honoriki are still the result of crossing three species, you can distinguish an honorik from an ordinary ferret by the structure of the fur, the presence of a black awn and a fluffy long tail.
Appearance and features
Honoriki — small animals with a long and thin body. Very nimble and fast. The head of the animal is small. The eyes are small, the iris is brown. The chin and upper lip are white in color, most honorics have light stripes behind the eyes and on the ears of the animal. There are long whiskers near the nose. The wool is thick, better than that of a mink, in structure it is more like a sable, the length of the awn is about 4 cm, the underfur is 2-2.5 cm.
The underfur is usually brown or brown in color. The limbs are small, however, this does not prevent Honoriki from moving fast enough. The tail is quite long, about 15-20 cm, the hair on the tail is especially long and fluffy. Since honoriki are a species, artificially bred male khanoriki are sterile and cannot bear offspring. But females are able to bring healthy offspring when crossed with ferrets.
An interesting fact: Honoriki have well-developed anal glands that secrete an unpleasantly smelling liquid, males mark their territory with it and scare the enemy away when danger.
Honoriki adapt well to environmental conditions. In winter, the animals are protected from the cold by their thick fur; closer to summer, the animals begin a period of active molting, during which the animal’s coat is renewed. In addition, at different times of the year, the frequency of metabolism and the magnitude of gas exchange change.
In the summer, the animals have less weight, the fat layer is practically absent, by winter the animals gain up to 30% of their own weight, an impressive fat layer appears, and the hair grows back. The life expectancy of these animals in the wild is about 5 years, in captivity these animals can live up to 12 years.
Where do the honoriki live?
Since honoriki are artificially bred animals in the wild, it is quite difficult to meet them. In the natural environment, honoriki are found in the habitats of their progenitors. Honoriki can live in the territory of central and southern Russia, in the west of Europe, in Eurasia and central Asia.
Honoriki are found in the Czech Republic, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria and on the territory of Ukraine. In the wild, animals live mainly in forests and forest-steppe. Animals make holes for themselves, where they live. They like to settle near water bodies, honoriki inherited the ability to swim well from minks, and in the summer heat they can spend a lot of time in the water.
Honors are often kept as pets. In captivity, these animals are best kept in separate cages, in which a hammock or soft blanket is placed. It is better to place a cage with an animal in a calm, warm place, protected from drafts. Honoriki are quite smart animals, they quickly become accustomed to the tray, they know the place for food. The cage for the animal should be spacious and always clean.
The animal cannot sit in the cage all day, because it needs to move, so honoraries are often allowed to walk freely around the apartment. True, it is better not to leave animals unattended. Honoriki can hide in the most secluded places, get into a washing machine and a trash can, so when leaving home it is better to lock the animal in a cage.
What do Honoriki eat?
Honorics are omnivores and eat basically the same things as ferrets.
The diet of Honorics includes:
- mice of all kinds;
- water rats;
- wild birds and their eggs;
- large insects such as locusts, grasshoppers, dragonflies and others.
Sometimes ferrets get into burrows of hares and strangle hares. In captivity, honoriks are usually fed boiled poultry meat, eggs, porridge, boiled fish, vegetables and fruits. In no case should these animals be given smoked meats and salty foods, as animals can die from such food. Honoriki are active animals and they constantly need a lot of food and water.
Water should be in the cage all the time, it is better to pour it into a drinking bowl so that the animal does not spill water. In order for the animal to feel good, it is necessary to feed it with high-quality food, uneaten food leftovers must be removed from the cage, as uneaten food quickly deteriorates, and the animal can be poisoned by eating spoiled food. If you don’t feel like developing a pet’s diet, you can buy ready-made dry balanced food at a pet store.
When releasing an animal for a walk around the house, it is imperative to follow it, because ferrets are very fond of chewing wires, climbing into trash cans and pantries, where the animal can also be poisoned by eating something inedible or spoiled. In the summer, you can feed less honoriki, it is also necessary to dilute the diet with vegetables and fruits. In winter, animals need more meat. In order for the pet to feel good, it is good to add vitamin complexes for ferrets sold in pet stores to the food.
Features of character and lifestyle
Honoriki are very active animals. They swim very well, run fast and easily climb into even the most inaccessible places. In the wild, animals quickly dig holes, are good at hunting mice, birds, amphibians and snakes. Very agile and nimble. They hide from enemies in holes, they are able to dig deep passages, both in the ground and in the snow.
The character of the honoriki is aggressive, we must not forget that these are still predatory animals. Honoriki can live next to a person and even recognize him as their owner, but they can behave aggressively. Therefore, these animals still should not be started in families where there are small children, and you should not start hanoriks if you have hamsters, ornamental rats, birds, because they can become the prey of this little predator. But with cats and dogs, these animals get along well.
They are especially active at night. When animals do not sleep, they are restless, honoriki are constantly moving, running and jumping. They like to play among themselves and with the owner, they do not like loneliness. Domestic honoriki practically do not smell, even in danger, animals can smell slightly of musk, but wild honoriki emit a sharp-smelling liquid from the anus when threatened.
Honoriki are very smart animals, they are easy to train. When the animals feel comfortable, they let the owner know about it with a pleasant coo. Feeling dissatisfied and furious, an honorik can snort and hiss with displeasure. If the animal is in serious danger, it may even scream. Little honoriki squeak to let others know that they are hungry.
An interesting fact: The character of an honorist is formed by 4 months, it is at this age that you can start working with animals – accustom them to the tray and other commands.
Females are better trained, males are more devoted to the owner, but lazy. The bad character traits of these animals include their perseverance. If an animal wants something, it will demand and get its way. It is almost impossible to wean an animal from bad habits of nibbling wires or digging up earth in flower pots, therefore it is better to immediately prohibit the animal from negative actions, and when releasing it from the cage, monitor every step of the animal.
Social structure and reproduction
Since honoriki are a hybrid species, males of these animals cannot have offspring. Females are fertile and are able to bring offspring several times a year when crossed with ordinary ferrets. The mating season for Honoriki begins in the spring and lasts until late autumn. Closer to spring, the sex glands in animals increase significantly.
In females, a loop becomes noticeable – the edge of the urethra, in males, the testes increase at this time. Mating in animals occurs quite rapidly. The male can chase the female, or grab her by the neck and drag her to a secluded place. When mating, the female squeaks, tries to break free and run away. After mating, females usually have withers peeled off, teeth marks can be seen on the withers, this is the norm and the wounds of the female will heal quickly.
Offspring are born 1.5 months after conception. Before giving birth, a pregnant female is usually placed in a separate cage so that the male does not harm the offspring. In one litter there are from 2-3 to 8 cubs. Cubs are born completely white and completely blind. Little ferrets grow up very quickly on their mother’s milk. At the age of about a month, ferrets begin to eat meat.
Interesting fact: Ferret puppies have an innate instinct to follow a moving body. The cubs, as soon as they begin to confidently stay on their paws, begin to follow their mother. The juveniles are ready for mating at the age of 6-7 months.
Natural enemies of honors
The natural enemies of Honorics are:
- wild cats;
- large snakes;
- eagles, hawks, falcons and other large birds of prey.
Honoriki are very cautious and nimble animals, and they rarely fall into the clutches of predators. Usually prey to predators are young ferrets, and old, weak animals. These enemies are not terrible for home honors, however, home honors are often prone to various diseases.
- carnivorous plague;
- parvovirus enteritis;
Most diseases can be to warn by giving the animal the necessary vaccinations, and feeding the animal with a balanced diet. If the animal is ill, it is necessary to contact the veterinarian, who will prescribe the correct treatment. It is not advisable to treat the animal yourself, as this can lead to unpredictable results.
To prevent diseases, try to monitor your pet, avoid contact with sick animals, clean the cage more often and ventilate the room where the animal is located. Often ferrets get fleas, these parasites can be eliminated with the help of drops and shampoos that are used for cats. Small scratches and abrasions are not terrible for animals, they heal quickly, you just need to make sure that the wound does not fester.
Population and species status
In the Soviet years, on the territory of our country, honoriki were bred on zoo farms. In our time, due to the difficulty of breeding these animals, work on breeding honoriks was stopped. Firstly, because minks have become very rare animals, and since the mink population is on the verge of extinction, it is more important to preserve the mink population than to cross rare animals with ferrets for the sake of experiments.
Secondly, the breeding of honoriki is unprofitable due to the fact that males born from such crossing are not able to have offspring. Females bring offspring from ordinary ferrets, but offspring are not always born healthy. Honoriki, in fact, is just a completely successful experiment of Soviet zoologists. Scientists have received a hybrid with a beautiful, valuable skin. But unfortunately, there is no point in continuing this experiment.
There are practically no such animals left in the modern world, and traders often dissemble ordinary ferrets, or a mixture of ferrets of different species, as Honoriki. Species status of wood ferrets and domestic ferrets — species that do not cause concern. Mink species status — species on the brink of extinction. Honoriki do not have conservation status as it is a hybrid species. To preserve the population of ferrets and minks, it is necessary to stop deforestation in the natural habitats of animals, create more nature reserves and reserves in the habitats of animals.
Honorik is a wonderful animal, with beautiful fluffy fur. They are good pets, recognize the owner and lend themselves well to training. Keeping honoriks at home is quite simple, but buying a real honorik is not an easy task, because there are very few of these animals left, and breeding of animals of this species has not been carried out for a long time.