Ferrets are mammals which belong to the sub-species Mustela putorius furo and are sometimes called as mustela furo. Today most of the ferrets are pets with some exceptions of wild ferrets.
The main reason for domesticating as with all wild animals was for hunting purposes. But there are different schools of thought about the original species that was domesticated to evolve the present sub-species of domesticated ferrets.
Mitochondrial DNA reveal that it was probably first domesticated by the Egyptians around the 1500BC. But there is no present day indication s to substantiate this claim.
Around 425 BC, the Greeks show some evidence of domesticated the ferrets. As a matter of fact, the name ferret is derived from the Latin word 'furittus' meaning 'little thief'. The Romans too could have used ferrets for hunting.
Present populations of ferrets are found in the Shetland Islands and in remote areas of New Zealand. The reason why they have survived here is because of the absence of competition and similar sized predators. In fact sever colonies of wild ferrets or feral ferrets are found in these geographic areas. New Zealand has the distinction of having the world's largest ferret-polecat hybrids in the world.
It was only in the last decade of the twenty first century that one saw a sudden spurt in the ferrets becoming pets in the United States.