Choosing a Ferret: What You Need to Know
You think you want a pet ferret. Are you ready for the commitment? A ferret pet is lively and entertaining, a pet that truly enjoys spending time with people. Do you have the time to interact with your pet on a daily basis? Although these exotic animals like to sleep, they also need stimulation. This isn’t a pet that can be kept in a cage and forgotten all day.
But if you wanted a pet that you didn’t have to pay attention to, you’d have an aquarium, right? If you want a pet that enjoys spending time with you, then you’ll want to learn more about them. They’re smart; they can even be trained to use the litter pan. They’re very trainable, as long as you put in the time that’s needed. So here are some ferret facts to help you decide if there’s a ferret in your future.
Is the Ferret a Good Pet for You?
Are you going to be able to provide your ferret pet with a safe, stable home during its life? If you travel a lot for work, or if you have to uproot frequently, you may not want to choose this animal for a pet. If you’re a renter, make sure that your landlord will allow you to have it; not all leases accommodate ferrets as pets because of its natural odor.
What is the Ferret Lifespan?
You can expect to have your pet ferret for 6 to 10 years. They’ll be wonderful years with your fun-loving ferrets animal, so you want to be sure that you can make the most of those years.
How to Ferret-Proof Your Home
If there are any cracks in the walls or gaps in the furniture, you’ll need to remove them to keep your ferrets safe from harm. What are the objects in your home—your entertainment center, perhaps—that could be the climbing challenge they’re looking for? Do you have stairs in your home? Block them off so that the ferrets doesn’t go exploring. Is your furniture made of wood? Ferrets love to chew.
Does the Ferret Have an Odor?
The ferret has a natural odor that’s a musky, earthy smell. Some people may find it offensive, but it’s basically an animal smell. Ferrets have glands that secrete a particular scent that’s designed to mark territory and deter predators.
How Much Time do Ferrets Sleeping?
Ferrets do enjoy their sleeping time, approximately 18 hours a day can be spent sleeping. But when they’re awake . . . they want you to be awake too, during some of those hours, to give them some attention, some exercise, some me-time so that they get the stimulation that they need. Designate a couple of hours each day for ferret playtime.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Ferret?
The price of your pet ferret may depend on where you purchase it. Some experts recommend buying a ferret from a private breeder because there’s a greater assurance that you’ll be purchasing a healthy animal. The price ranges from $50 to $200.
What is Baby Ferrets Like?
For the first four weeks of life, a kit or baby ferret—born deaf, blind, and with minimal fur—depends entirely on its mother for survival. Just two inches long and weighing only a few grams at birth, the kit’s fur begins to grow and when they are adult, takes on a gray color.
Can You Find a Ferret at an Animal Shelter?
There’s always the possibility that a ferret owner decided not to keep the animal and surrendered it to a shelter. Shelters are nonprofit operations and they provide good care for animals, so you can be confident that if you adopt a ferret from a shelter, it has been well cared for. Shelters typically suggest a donation when you’re adopting a pet; the amount may depend upon the shelter’s policies.
Can You Find a Ferret on Craigslist?
You may also find a ferret for sale on Craigslist or through social media. In that case, the price may vary, but keep in mind that you’ll want to check to find out if the ferrets are in good health and has been neutered or spayed.
How Much Does it Cost Per Year to Keep a Pet Ferret?
You can expect to spend between $50 to $75 a year on ferret food, $30-$50 annually on litter costs (yes, ferrets can be littler-box trained!); $5 on grooming supplies; approximately $50 to $150 a year on vet costs, if there is a need for medical care; $5 for toys and $15 to $40 for treats. These costs are part of the annual budget for your ferret. The other items that you’ll need—cage, litter pan, hammock, leash, carrier, food and water containers—are one-time costs and are not extravagantly priced.
What is The Natural Ferret Habitat?
Although ferrets have a home in many parts of the planet, the different species vary according to location. The ferret habitat includes a variety of landscapes, ranging from forests, plains, mountainous areas, grasslands, the tundra, and the desert.
Is the Ferret a Rodent?
Ferrets do not belong to the rodent family; they belong to the Mustelid or weasel family. Because of this, they have more in common with bears than they have with rats and mice! They are related to martens, otters, minks, and badgers.
What is the Black-Footed Ferret?
The Black-footed Ferret calls North America home. These predators live in underground tunnels in prairie dog communities, which makes it convenient for dining purposes, as their menu of choice is . . .prairie dogs.
What is The European Ferret?
The European Ferret can be found not only all over the European continent but also in northern Africa and northern and western Asia, in forests, meadows, villages, and parks, as well as on farms and barns; In short, they go where the food is, food being mice and rats, birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Is the Ferret an Endangered Species?
At one point, the black-footed ferrets faced extinction, and a loss of natural habitat has threatened the numbers of European ferrets. For the former, programs that were designed to eradicate the prairie dog also resulted in a loss of habitat for the ferrets, which has been reduced to two percent of its former numbers.
What is a Healthy Ferret Diet?
The ferret in the wild is a hunter, and as you might expect, that means that his diet is primarily meat-based, with 30-40% of his diet coming from protein, and 20% or more from fat; fiber and carbohydrates should be eaten at a much lower rate. Ferret digestion is not compatible with a diet that’s grain-based, and they don’t handle dairy products well either. Dry ferrets kibble, pre-made, is designed especially for ferrets and will provide him with his meals in an affordable, easily served manner.
Do Ferrets Like to Eat Eggs?
Ferrets love to eat eggs, so you can scramble some up and give it to your pet. But you can also break an egg open and let them enjoy it in liquid form. You can even give the whole egg, as is, to your ferrets; not only will she enjoy the feast, but she’ll also enjoy trying to figure out the puzzle of how to get inside the shell.
What Size Should the Ferret Cage Be?
Ferrets do like to sleep a lot, but when they’re awake, they’re active and the ferret cage needs to be spacious enough for them to have room to expend all that energy. If you’re going to have two pet ferrets, the cage needs to be at least 42 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 26 inches tall. If the cage is only going to hold one ferret, then it needs to be at least 36 inches wide, 24 inches long and 24 inches tall.
How Much Time Should You Spend Playing with your Ferret?
Because ferrets need some time outside of the cage to get exercise and diversion, you need to know how much time you’ll be able to spend playing with your pet ferrets before you buy a cage. If you can’t spend four hours a day interacting with your pet, then get a bigger cage so that there are more sources of stimulation inside his home.
What Needs to be Done to Keep a Ferret from Escaping out of the Cage?
The cage will have bars holding the ferret in, and they’ll need to be spaced an inch or less apart so that she can’t find a way to wriggle out of her cage and escape. If you purchase a cage that’s specifically designed to house a ferret, it’ll meet these dimensions and will be safe. Make sure that you latch the cage door so that the exotic pet doesn’t get out.
How Often Should the Ferret Cage Be Cleaned?
The ferret needs a comfortable floor to walk on, so you don’t want a cage that has a wire floor. The floor should come with a solid pan or have sturdy carpeting on the floor. A removable floor is a real plus when it’s time to clean the cage, which should be done thoroughly once a week in addition to the basic cleaning that needs to be done every day. Of course, if you have a particularly messy ferret, a thorough cleaning may need to be done twice a week.
How Many Levels Should the Ferret Cage Have?
A ferret cage with at least two or three vertical levels, and ramps leading to each level, is perfect for letting your ferret run to his destinations. It’s a way of making sure that your pet gets the exercise that he needs. If you have multiple ferrets in the cage, choose one with a minimum of four levels.
Where Should the Ferret Cage be Located?
Remember that a ferret in his cage isn’t like fish in an aquarium. Your ferrets wants to be where the action is, at least some of it. He does need to sleep, so you don’t want to house him in an area that’s a constant center of activity. But keeping him in a room where there are people and things going on will attract his attention and provide stimulation.
What Temperature is Best for your Ferret?
Ferrets benefit from good ventilation, so locate the cage in an area where the heating and cooling systems work well. They don’t want to be either too cold or too hot—in fact, if they’re in excessive heat, they’re at risk of heatstroke—so keep them in an area where the temperature is between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid direct sunlight, as the temperature could go above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and jeopardize the ferret’s health. If it’s a nice day outside, open the window a crack so that the ferret can enjoy the fresh air inside his cage.
What is the Feisty Ferret Cage?
If you’ve got a lively, rambunctious ferret, you don’t just need a cage, you need a feisty ferret cage. The Feisty Ferret Home, Black Hammertone, comes with four levels of space, ramps, shelves, and a hammock. The platforms are removable so that cleaning is easy. Two escape-proof front doors have steel locks to keep your ferrets from getting out.
What are Some Common Ferret Cage Accessories
Ferrets delight in moving their food dishes, so if you want to avoid spills, choose a food dish that latches to the bars of the cage. Water bottles that attach to the bars are also a good choice, as ferrets work up a thirst with all their running around. The bottles should be located on different levels of the ferret cage; remember that your ferret is mobile and might get thirsty while moving from one level to another.
Does a Ferret Prefer a Hammock or a Bed?
While a hammock to us humans represents the life of leisure that we long for, not all ferrets feel the same way. Some prefer a bed. Provide one of each so that your ferrets can choose where he wants to sleep. You don’t have to buy a ferret bed; you can create sleeping space with a comfortable old tee shirt for warm weather, or pieces from a warm sweatshirt when cold weather comes.
Do Ferrets Need to Hide in Their Cages?
Just like us, ferrets sometimes get frightened or anxious. So create multiple shelter areas where your ferret can burrow when it wants to hide. Each ferret needs his own bedding spot, so if you have multiple pets, there should be multiple beds.
How to Maintain a Ferret Litter Pan
Just like the food dish and water bottles, the ferret litter pan should latch to the bars of the cage to avoid spilling and overturning. The pan should be filled with an inch of paper- or wood-based litter. Clean it daily. Do not use cat litter; it can cause respiratory problems or present a chocking hazard for a ferrets. Each ferret needs its own litter pan.
How to Keep a Ferret Clean
If a ferret’s cage is dirty, that will make the odor noticeable. By cleaning the cage and emptying the litter pan regularly, the odor will be reduced. Even though ferrets tend to be a bit messy, they don’t like to be dirty.
Should I Bathe my Ferret?
Actually, the ferret’s natural oils keep their skin and fur healthy. A bath would remove the oils, leaving the ferrets with dry skin. So you will only want to bathe your ferret if he’s managed to get really, really dirty, and even then, only once or twice in a year.
Do Ferrets Need Special Ear Care?
Ferrets get a lot of wax in their ears, something which can also add to the ferret odor. A couple of times a month, using a Q-tip that’s been moistened with an ear cleaner, then clean the outer ear to remove a lot of the wax.
What Kind of Dental Care do Ferrets Need?
Veterinarians recommend that a ferret should have annual dental cleaning. The vet will use anesthesia to do a deep cleaning so that, with special tools, tartar deposits can be removed and any broken teeth repaired.
Why do Ferrets Bite?
Young kits bite as a means of play but their teeth aren’t going to inflict harm. When they get older, they still like to bite when they’re playing, but you can train them not to do that so that they find other ways to play.
Where are Ferrets Illegal to Own?
Before purchasing your best exotic pets, always make sure to find out what the local regulations are where you live. In the United States, ferrets are illegal in New York City, Washington D.C., California, and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico. They are banned in Portugal, South Africa, and New Zealand.