Getting a ferret is a really exciting time, but owners need to make sure it’s the right decision for them, their family and the prospective new furry friend.
Ferrets have short digestive tracts which means it is difficult for them to break down and absorb nutrients from plant-based proteins.
There are 5 main types of ferret that are distinguished through different colourings, but their mannerisms and needs are similar. Ferrets need to be trained properly and should be played with daily, which can take up quite a bit of time, but their endless energy will keep you laughing. They also sleep for 18 hours a day, meaning that they don’t really need attention during the working day and there’s nothing sweeter than a bundle of fluff curled up on your lap at the end of a busy day.
Ferrets can be kept either indoors or outdoors, depending on the amount of space you have; and if you decide you’re going to let the ferret free in the house, make sure you’re prepared, as you will find things will suddenly disappear and if unlucky, a few holes in the carpet might appear too!
Living areas for ferrets need to be extremely secure; they are very good at escaping. Outdoor areas for ferrets should also have very good protection from the elements as they are prone to heat stroke due to an inability to sweat.
Ferrets are extremely social animals and need to be taken out of their living areas and played with daily.
Ferrets are carnivores and need to eat meat in order to survive.
On average a ferret can live from about 6 to 8 years but some have been known to live as long as 11-12 years.
Ferrets will play with anything, they love hiding in dark corners, playing in tubes and chasing a ball. Ferrets can use an exercise run outdoors as long as you remember to have fresh water on hand, along with places for them to keep out of the sun. Another thing that ferrets love is to play outside in the autumn leaves but as they don’t have a homing instinct, so be sure to walk them on a lead. Even if the ferret is just playing in the house, water must be on hand at all times.
Ferrets are curious pets that enjoy digging and love trying to escape- so please make sure that the areas the ferret will be playing should be escape proof.
Ferrets need a constant supply of water and food that’s easy for them to access. They’re also really clean animals and will always go to the toilet in the same place. Keeping a litter tray in the cage is ideal, and you should clean it regularly to stop it getting smelly. Food and litter should be kept well apart, as ferrets can be very funny about this.
Make sure the ferret home is escape proof, with a separate sleeping area. The sleeping area for ferrets should be nice and warm, either hammocks or ferret-sized nesting boxes are ideal. If you have more than one ferret, they’ll curl up and sleep together and they probably won’t be able to tell where one ends and the other starts!
Ferrets can give a playful nip, which is fine, but if they feel frightened or threatened they can bite hard. If children are old enough to deal with this and to train them, then they might be an ideal pet. For young children who won’t understand the responsibility then they’re probably not right for this type of family just yet and could cause a nasty injury.
Introduce your ferrets to cats and dogs slowly. Some dogs will be fine to meet the ferret so long as both the ferret and dog are vaccinated against distemper. Some introductions can be dangerous so make sure you evaluate your current pets’ temperament so see if they are suitable to be introduced to a ferrett!
Cats and dogs should be allowed to sniff the ferret’s cage, before they meet. To introduce them both, hold the ferret while the two explore each other. If this doesn’t go well then you should try again a few days later. Always supervise a dog and ferret together as if they don’t get on they might have to be keep separate.
Other Pets- If you keep hamsters, rats, gerbils or rabbits, then they should be kept well away from the ferret. If this is not possible, then a ferret may not be suitable as a pet. There’s every chance the ferrets survival instinct might kick in, which could result in a nasty fight.
Ferrets will instinctively find a favourite place to use as a toilet and to persuade a ferret to go somewhere else can be difficult. The litter tray will need cleaning out once a day, otherwise you might find that the furry friend might find somewhere that they would prefer to do their business! If you’re having trouble getting the ferret to use the litter tray, you can put some of the ferret’s droppings into a corner of the tray; this should encourage them into the right place for next time!
If you have a question, please email us or call us on 0800 413 969. Our dedicated consumer care team are available to answer any questions you may have. If you are concerned about the immediate health of your pet, please seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.Email us