Ferrets

Training

Ferrets can nip for a variety of reasons. Baby ferrets or kits can nip too hard as a way to try to get your attention, to entice play or out of fear and excitement.

Quick Tip

It's important to know your ferret's habits. When do they wake up? What time do they go to sleep? What time is their favourite time to play? Knowing these behaviours will provide you with a clear indication about their health.

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Nip Training

Ferret skin is much harder than human skin and they often do not mean harm. If you adopted a ferret from a shelter and it came from an abusive household, it could be nipping or biting out of fear. If the nipping or biting is coupled with hissing and backing away, give your ferret some space and wait until he or she feels secure again. Ferrets can also nip or bite as a way to show dominance. Below I have listed some tips on how to nip train your ferret.

If your ferret nips, do not hit your ferret or “pop” him or her on the nose. This will only encourage biting and more fear. Clap your hands loudly and yell “No!” and put your ferret back in the cage immediately. He or she will start to figure out that nipping or biting equals a trip to the cage and no more play time.

Purchase some Bitter Apple, Bitter Lime. These products taste terrible (believe me, I tried a little). Spray a small amount on your fingers, toes or anything else your ferret likes to nip.

if your ferret has suddenly become a “nipper” think about things you may have changed. Have you started wearing a new perfume? Have you started putting lotion on your hands and feet? Did you just wash your hands with soap? Are you wearing lipstick or lip gloss? Ferrets can react to certain scents, especially those that contain musk.

Did you know?

Ferrets are carnivores and need to eat meat in order to survive.

Did you know?

Ferrets are carnivores and need to eat meat in order to survive.

Litter Box Training

Ferrets will naturally back up to go to the bathroom in a corner. This behaviour is usually taught to kits by their mothers. However, some kits have been removed from their mothers too soon. Other older ferrets that have been adopted from other homes and not trained may need a refresher course. If your ferret is missing the mark, consider the following tips:

When you take your ferret out of the cage to play, try waiting until they have used the bathroom (or check the litter box in the cage to see if there is fresh stool). Ferrets will always use the bathroom within the first fifteen minutes or so after waking up. But beware! Many ferrets will figure out your system and pretend to go to the bathroom just to get let out of the cage. Just be sure they actually produce!

If your ferret is not using the litter box in the cage, try using a litter box with a lower front ledge. Many ferrets don’t like to “hop” over the ledge of a litter box. They just want to back up. I actually made my own cage litter box by cutting a cat litter box in half. This eliminates the front ledge all together, and makes it less fun to play in. You can have some litter spill out of the front, however the excrement is always in the back corners of the box. It has worked wonders for me. Put bedding, toys and food in the corners you don’t want your ferrets to use as a litter box. If you have recently purchased a new cage, you can expect litter box accidents. Ferrets will have adjustment issues when their environment has been changed. Just keep placing stool in their new litter box and try to put food and toys in all other corners. This problem should straighten out with time.

Put litter boxes in just about every corner of the house to begin with. Use a ferret friendly litter box with a high back and low ledge in the front. Your ferret will usually pick out a few favorites. Place a heavy water proof mat under and around each litter box to protect your carpet from accidents. If your ferret likes to chew on the mat, spray it with some Bitter Apple. Again, if your ferret is going to the bathroom right in front of the litter box, a lower front ledge may be needed. Male ferrets seem to need larger litter boxes than female ferrets (due to their size).

Quick Tip

Ferrets are curious little things that can be drawn to places and things you might not expect so make sure your house is thoroughly ‘ferret-proofed’.

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Have a question?

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.

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