Ferrets are a popular pet, especially among young children, as they are exceptionally cute and appear to be easy to take care of. However, taking care of a ferret takes time and effort, and can have its downsides as well as its upsides.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about getting and taking care of a ferret, as well as any other details and warnings you should be aware of.
What do I need to know to take care of a ferret? You should know about the process of getting a ferret, whether a ferret will fit in your household, the costs of a ferret, how to feed a ferret and care for it, and how ferrets behave and what they need.
- 0.1 Ferrets as Pets: Pros and Cons
- 0.2 Should You Adopt or Buy?
- 0.3 Is it Illegal to Own a Ferret in California?
- 0.4 Is it Illegal to Own a Ferret in Other States?
- 1 Ferrets as Pets – Cost to Buy
- 2 Ferrets Care Sheet Guide – What to Consider
- 2.1 Are Ferrets Aggressive?
- 2.2 Time Required for Play
- 2.3 Ideal Space for Ferrets
- 2.4 Ferrets Vet Care
- 2.5 Ferrets Life Expectancy
- 2.6 Ferrets and Allergies
- 2.7 Types and Breeds of Ferrets
- 2.8 Ferret Personalities
- 2.9 Ferret Size – How Big Do They Get?
- 2.10 How Many Ferrets Should You Get?
- 2.11 How To Select The Right Ferret
- 2.12 Best Ferret Cages
- 2.13 Ferrets Play Area
- 2.14 Ferrets Gear
- 2.15 Ferrets Habitat
- 3 Useful Facts About Ferrets as Pets
- 3.1 How to Properly Feed Your Pet Ferret
- 3.2 Pet Ferret Housing: Indoor or Outdoor?
- 3.3 How Much Attention Does Pet Ferret Need?
- 3.4 Pet Ferret Grooming
- 3.5 Pet Ferret Exercise: Best Practices
- 3.6 Ears, Teeth, and Overall Ferret Hygiene & Care
- 3.7 Should You Bathe Your Pet Ferret?
- 3.8 What Can You Expect the First Month of Owning a Pet Ferret?
- 3.9 Are All Ferrets Domesticated?
- 3.10 Are Ferrets Children-Friendly?
- 3.11 Is My Child Ready for a Pet Ferret?
- 3.12 What Are The Most Kid-Friendly Ferret Breeds?
- 3.13 How Quickly Will you Bond With your Pet Ferret?
- 3.14 Are Ferrets Loud Pets?
- 3.15 Can You Train a Ferret?
- 3.16 Do Ferrets Smell Bad?
- 3.17 Do Ferrets Get Along with Other Pets?
- 3.18 Do Ferrets Like Toys?
- 3.19 Can Ferrets Destroy Your House?
- 3.20 Ferret Health Problems
- 4 Related Questions
Ferrets as Pets: Pros and Cons
There are many different aspects to owning a ferret, with some major pros and cons standing out above the rest. While owning a ferret can be an awesome and rewarding experience, there are drawbacks to it as well.
Are ferrets good as pets? Absolutely. Ferrets are very loving and playful animals that can fit well into your household as a constant companion. They can enjoy cuddling and affection as well as playtime, and they are relatively easy to bond with. Ferrets are also quite smart and can learn tricks as well as commands.
However, ferrets are a constant flight risk, meaning they will always try to run away given the chance. They’re also not very good pets for young children, as they need fairly complicated care and don’t do well when handled roughly. Ferrets also have a strong odor that will spread throughout your house, although it’s possible to get used to it.
Should You Adopt or Buy?
It is almost always best to adopt an animal rather than buying, as there are many animals out there that may be euthanized or forced to live in a shelter all their life if they aren’t adopted. Ferrets are no exception to this, as many rescue organizations find it difficult to adopt out their ferrets.
If you are sure you want to buy your ferret rather than adopting, you are better off buying from a breeder rather than a pet store. Ferrets from pet stores live in cramped conditions and can often have diseases, including genetic diseases from inbreeding. Breeders typically have higher standards and may even pedigree their ferrets.
If you choose to get your ferret from a pet store, be aware of the risks and make sure you are ready for the commitment if the ferret has health or behavioral issues.
Is it Illegal to Own a Ferret in California?
Yes, it is illegal for you to own a ferret in California. There is a statewide ban on ferrets as pets, which means that counties and cities cannot pass laws allowing ferrets unless the state repeals the law.
The most commonly cited reason for this ban is that ferrets cannot be vaccinated against rabies and therefore carry a risk of spreading the disease. While this isn’t true, the fear it garners is enough to dissuade lawmakers from repealing the law.
If you live in California and would like a ferret, consider an alternative such as a rat. Rats are equally as intelligent and playful as ferrets and have very similar needs. Owning a rat is legal in California.
Is it Illegal to Own a Ferret in Other States?
It is legal to own a ferret in 48 states, with California and Hawaii being the only exceptions. This means that all other states have no state laws limiting the ownership of ferrets, but counties or cities may have local laws that prohibit ferret ownership.
Hawaii’s ban on ferrets is mostly due to the fragile nature of the local ecology. If a wild or feral ferret population were to develop, it could upset the natural order and ferrets could become an invasive species.
Ferrets as Pets – Cost to Buy
How much a ferret costs depends on where you purchase your ferret from. You’re unlikely to find a ferret for less than $65 unless you’re getting them from an independent party like a friend or someone who is giving the ferret up.
Adoption costs are usually between $75 and $100 depending on the rescue or adoption center. They may even charge more in an effort to make sure people aren’t impulse buying ferrets only to bring them back later.
Pet stores charge around $75 for a single ferret and $125 for bonded pairs. They may charge as little as $150 for a bonded triple.
Ferret breeders are rare and may not always be reputable. They can charge as much as $250 for a ferret they claim has a pedigree, so it’s important to check the reliability and reputation of a breeder before spending that amount of money on an animal.
Ferrets do best in a large cage with multiple vertical levels. They cannot be kept in a hamster cage or a tank the size of one at a pet store. Expect to spend at least $35 on a basic ferret cage with wire walls and platforms, and more if you need a bigger cage for more ferrets.
A mid-tier quality cage will usually cost around $75-100 for a three-level cage with plastic platforms and sometimes wheels. These cages will usually be large enough for two ferrets, if not more, to live comfortably.
A high quality cage will cost around $250 and usually comes with slides or nesting areas as well as wheels. High quality cages can usually fit several ferrets, so if you are planning on getting more than one ferret, you will usually want to consider a higher quality cage.
Ferrets need plenty of toys to stay entertained, which can rack up costs fairly quickly. They also need items like beds, food and water bowls, and litter that aren’t always factored into other cost categories. You may even want to get your ferret a collar, leash, or fashion accessories.
The cost of different accessories will vary, but you can pay as little as $5 or less for certain small toys, while larger or more complicated items such as tracker collars or large toys may cost $20 or more. Altogether, you should expect to spend around $100 on ferret toys and accessories.
- Marshall Bungee Ferret Toy, Duck: $7 [link]
- Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube Small Animal Toy: $18 [link]
- You & Me Ferret 6 Pack Toys: $5 [link]
- Marshall Ferret Bell Collar: $5 [link]
- Marshall Ferret Litter Pan: $12 [link]
- Marshall Premium Odor Control Ferret Litter, 10-lb bag: $10 [link]
- All Living Things Ferret Hammock: $8 [link]
- Ethical Pet Stainless Steel Coop Cup Wire Hanger Kennel Pet Bowl: $4 [link]
Ferrets can’t digest vegetables, fruits, plant fibers, or starches, and need a diet that consists of only meat. This means that you’ll be paying a premium for ferret food that contains the highest percentages of meat and the lowest percentages of plant and grain binders.
Good ferret food will cost you between $15-20 for around 5lbs of food, which will usually last you around two to three weeks depending on how many ferrets you own. Expect to spend at least $30 a month on ferret food even if you only have one ferret.
In a pinch, ferret food can be replaced with kitten food because kitten food has a higher meat content than regular cat food. Kitten food can cost as much as $8 for 4lbs of food and will need to be supplemented with fatty acids, which cost around $13 for 60 capsules or $25 for 4oz of liquid.
Buying the right type of bedding can be very important for your ferret. You may find that your particular ferret prefers one type of bedding over another, but as a general rule you should not use wood chips or shavings as bedding.
Good types of bedding include paper shreds, paper pellets, and aspen bedding. You’ll pay about $10 for a 10 liter bag of paper bedding at most pet stores or on a website like Chewy.com, and this will usually cover a medium sized cage. You’ll need to change bedding frequently to keep odors at bay.
It’s important to have bedding in addition to a litter box area because ferrets enjoy burrowing and creating dens and sleeping areas for themselves. You’ll improve your ferret’s quality of life by providing enough bedding that they can hide and play when they want to.
Vet Visit Cost
A typical vet visit for a ferret will cost between $150-$200. This figure is just for one ferret, so expect to pay around twice that for two and three times for three, etc. Costs will vary depending on the availability of veterinarians in your area, the expertise of the vet you’re seeing, and other factors.
This also doesn’t factor in the cost of vaccines. Ferret vaccines are fortunately relatively cheap at about $15-20 but need to be done annually. You should take your ferret to the vet at least once a year for a checkup and vaccines, so expect to pay at least $200 a year in vet bills, not including emergencies.
Spaying or neutering a ferret can cost as much as $300 for a female and usually around $150 for a male. It’s important to get your ferrets fixed despite the cost, especially if you will be keeping both male and female ferrets.
Ongoing Ferret Costs
While some costs will be one-time such as cages and food bowls, other costs will be recurring and may drain your resources unexpectedly. Costs such as food, bedding, litter, replacements for old or broken toys, and vet bills may be expected but can still add up quickly.
You’ll spend about $360 a year on food, $300-400 on bedding depending on the size of your cage and how often you change it, around $200-300 on litter depending on the type of litter you use, and probably $100 on toys throughout the year unless you’re making homemade toys.
You’ll also spend at least $200 on vet visits annually, and if you are renting your home you may be paying rent for your pet as well, which is usually $10-20 a month. This doesn’t include the water you will be giving your ferrets or the cost of keeping your house a consistent temperature at all times
Between vet bills, food, water, bedding and litter, and other miscellaneous costs, the cost of a ferret can get pretty high. The initial cost of a ferret will be around $300-400 and can get as high as $600-700 if the ferret needs to be fixed or has not had its vaccines. This includes buying the ferret, buying a cage with bedding, litter, and a litter box, and buying toys and potentially a play pen, and getting your initial food and supplements.
In total, a ferret will cost around $1000 a year after initial costs, which is about twice as much as a dog or cat would cost after initial costs. Ferrets are expensive pets but can be well worth it for a playful and loving companion. However, if cost is a concern for you, you may need to consider getting a different pet that fits your lifestyle better.
Ferrets Care Sheet Guide – What to Consider
Are Ferrets Aggressive?
Ferrets are carnivores, which means in the wild they hunt other animals for food. You may think that they would therefore be automatically aggressive, but the opposite is usually true. When kept well fed and treated gently and with love, ferrets are usually playful and loving.
If a ferret is acting aggressive, it’s usually afraid or upset. The most common reason a ferret may lash out by biting, hissing, or scratching is that it is simply scared or unhappy and doesn’t know how else to express it. Soothing your ferret by talking quietly and petting it will usually help, as will giving new ferrets time to adjust to the household.
If a ferret that has previously not been aggressive suddenly starts lashing out, the ferret is probably in pain or sick. You should take a suddenly aggressive ferret to the vet as soon as possible, as it may be injured or have a serious disease that is causing it discomfort.
Time Required for Play
Ferrets are very intelligent and active animals, and they can’t stay in a cage forever. They need to spend at least four hours a day outside of their cage either free roaming or in a very large pen. You should always have toys available for your ferrets to play with on their own in this area.
In addition to that, you should have at least two hours of active play time with your ferret a day. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to play with your ferret with two straight hours, so try breaking it up into more manageable half hour or one hour play sessions.
It’s a good idea to play with your ferret before bed to tire it out, and any time it’s going to be kept up for a long period of time such as while you’re at school or work. Playing with a ferret is similar to walking a dog; it keeps them mentally and physically healthy and works out any pent up energy.
Ideal Space for Ferrets
It’s important to have a good cage space for your ferret as well as a good space inside your home where they can roam. Having the best possible space for your ferret will keep it happy and healthy by giving it a safe, comfortable space to be active in.
Cages should be about two feet long, two feet high, and four feet deep if you’re keeping two ferrets. Vertical cages are excellent for ferrets, although you should put ferret hammocks by higher platforms to prevent them from getting injured if they fall off a platform.
Play areas outside of the cage can be about the size of a room. You should make sure that you ferret-proof the room by blocking off outlets, appliances, plush furniture, valuable items, beds, cupboards, trash, and electrical cords. Once you have ferret-proofed the room, you should shut all the doors before letting them into the room.
Ferrets Vet Care
Young ferrets will need check-ups once a year in order to check on their health and give them their annual vaccines. Older ferrets should usually be taken twice a year, as they’re more likely to have health problems.
Ferrets can also get a variety of infections and illnesses such as ear mites, ringworm, diarrhea, heartworm, and even cancer. These will all require vet visits in order to treat properly. If your ferret is showing any symptoms of these diseases, you should take it to the vet immediately.
Veterinarians with ferret knowledge and experience can be rare, so it’s important to do your research about vets in your area before you even adopt a ferret. You’ll usually need to find an exotic animal clinic in order to get proper care for your ferret.
Ferrets Life Expectancy
Ferrets typically live anywhere between 5 and 10 years depending on a number of factors such as genetic health, diet and activity, and preventative care. Taking good care of your ferret can extend its lifespan by quite a bit and make it more likely to reach the 10 year range.
How long a ferret lives can also depend on when it is fixed, as fixing too early can prevent proper hormone development. Ferrets bought from pet stores are typically fixed very young, which can cause problems. If you’re adopting a ferret, you may have no way to know when it was fixed, but if you’re buying from a breeder, they can tell you when is best to fix your animal.
Ferrets and Allergies
While ferrets aren’t technically hypoallergenic, they can be good for people with allergies because they shed less hair than most regular cats and dogs, and they don’t shed dander like cats and dogs do. This means that if you are allergic specifically to dander, ferrets won’t trigger your allergies.
Ferrets do excrete some proteins that can cause allergic reactions in humans, but for the most part these are concentrated in the urine and shouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s still possible to be allergic to ferrets or have ferrets trigger your allergies even due to a small amount of hair or the protein present in their blood and saliva.
Types and Breeds of Ferrets
Ferrets come in only one breed, but there are different types whose differences are mainly in their shape and size. Bulldog ferrets are the largest type and have shorter legs and broad shoulders, while the whippet is the smallest and has an elongated head. Standard ferrets are of medium size and are the typical ferret most people think of.
Ferrets also come in long haired and short haired types, with the longest hair being the Angora ferret. Short haired ferrets are the standard, and most breeds have short or mid length hair. However, ferrets can have fur up to several inches long in some instances.
Ferrets can have a variety of patterns such as albino (all white), sable (similar to a raccoon’s patterning), or Dalmation patterned. They can also vary in size from as little as 1lb up to 4lbs. These variations in pattern and size make up different types of ferrets despite the lack of distinct breeds.
Just like people, ferrets can have their own personalities that are revealed as you get to know them. Some ferrets may love food and sleep, while others may be particularly high energy. Ferrets can even be cranky or mean, especially as they get older.
Overall, ferrets are known for being friendly, loving, and smart. While it’s not a guarantee of your ferret’s behavior, if you’re treating it well and keeping it healthy, these personality traits are usually the most prominent ones. Ferrets love to cuddle and play and will bond with you quickly under positive circumstances.
You’ll be able to ask rescue workers or breeders what ferrets have what personalities before you get the ferret so that you can make sure the animal will fit into your life well before you get it. It’s important to take the time to get to know a ferret’s personality to make sure you get along for the next 5-10 years.
Ferret Size – How Big Do They Get?
Baby ferrets, called kits, are usually only a few ounces in weight and a few inches long. They will usually grow to their full size in about four months, although a ferret can still gain and lose weight as an adult due to activity levels and diet.
Adult ferrets can be as small as 1lb and can get as large as over 4lbs. They are typically about 10-15 inches in length, with females being slightly smaller and males being larger. The size of the ferret will also depend on the type of ferret, with bulldog ferrets weighing on the larger side and whippets being on the smaller end.
How Many Ferrets Should You Get?
The number of ferrets you adopt or purchase mostly depends on your ability to take care of them, with upsides and downsides to both having one and having several. Ferrets are social animals and need a lot of play time, which means either you or another ferret will need to spend plenty of time with them.
Having one ferret means that you will need to spend more active time with your ferret to meet its social needs. Your ferret will need lots of toys and time outside of its cage in order to stay happy and healthy without a companion.
If you get two or more ferrets, they will be able to play with each other and help satisfy their social needs without as much active play time. You will still need to spend about two hours with them together, but they will play with each other throughout the day. However, more ferrets will be more expensive and will require more space.
How To Select The Right Ferret
Picking the right ferret can be difficult, especially when you don’t have much time to spend with it to figure out the personality. Ferrets each have their own quirks and different ferrets may fit better into different households.
If you are adopting from a rescue or shelter, see if you can spend some time with the ferret before you adopt to understand how you get along. Breeders may also give you this opportunity, although most pet stores won’t or can’t.
You also want to consider fur length and size and determine how much time you want to spend on grooming and whether you can feed a larger ferret more food. You’ll also want to consider whether you want a single ferret or a bonded pair, which will change which ferrets you consider.
Best Ferret Cages
The best ferret cages are typically over $100 in cost, with some getting as high as $250. However, they are usually well worth it, especially if you are planning on getting multiple ferrets. Ferret cages should be at least 2ft by 2ft by 4ft, with multiple levels for climbing. Some good cage options include:
- MidWest Critter Nation Deluxe Small Animal Cage: $250 [link]
- Prevue Pet Products Feisty Ferret Home, Black Hammertone: $120 [link]
- go2buy Metal 3 Doors Rats Rabbit Ferret Cage Playpen: $92 [link]
What cage you buy will depend on your budget and how many ferrets you have, as well as whether you care about how the cage looks in your home. Several come with handy wheels that will help you move the cage around.
It’s important to get a cage with plastic floors and platforms rather than wire ones, as the wire can hurt your ferret’s feet. Slides, hammocks, and tunnels are also great enrichment for your ferret, and cages that come with these are usually better environments.
Ferrets Play Area
Ferrets need to have a fully proofed play area that’s at least the size of a household room. Proofing a play area is a complicated process and will take some work to make sure that your ferret is safe and will not escape.
You’ll need to cover outlets, appliances, and electrical wires, as well as limiting access to plush or reclining furniture. Ferrets love to climb into holes and could get injured inside an appliance. You should also make sure there’s no laundry that may get put in a washer or dryer with a ferret hidden in it.
You should also block off or remove your valuable items and be prepared for bathroom needs by putting out a litter box. You need to close all doors and windows to prevent your ferret from escaping the room, as this will be their first instinct. Finally, put lots of toys out and always supervise your ferrets while they are out of the cage.
Ferret toys can be as simple as a crumpled piece of paper or as complex as a motorized toy that wiggles a lure around for you. It’s a good idea to get multiple different types of toys to find out what your ferret likes to play with. Try cat lures, tennis balls, tunnels, play castles, and even toilet paper rolls, old newspaper, or cardboard boxes.
You’ll also probably want a bell or locater collar for your ferret so that when they inevitably escape and hide somewhere, you’ll be able to find them. You may even choose to get a leash so that you can keep them within sight or take them outside.
- You & Me Skulls Small Animal Harness and Leash Set, Medium, Black: $9 [link]
- You & Me Deluxe Ferret Harness & Lead Set: $8 [link]
- Marshall Ferret Bell Collar: $4 [link]
Websites like Etsy sell custom fashion accessories like bandanas or frilled harnesses, so if you want to deck out your ferret in style you can go shopping for items like those. They also sell ferret toys and treats, as well as clothes and accessories for humans!
Ferrets need an environment that is between 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s best to keep them in a temperature-controlled environment. They need lots of bedding for burrowing and digging, and they should have readily available litter boxes.
Ferrets don’t need any sort of plants or dirt in their cages, and in fact plants can pose a health risk if eaten. Paper bedding and blankets are enough to provide a soft and comfortable habitat for your ferret. You can also include fabric hammocks for sleeping and playing in.
Make sure you don’t leave anything in your ferret’s cage that they could chew up or choke on. They may try to chew up and eat plastic and rubber toys, especially small items.
Useful Facts About Ferrets as Pets
How to Properly Feed Your Pet Ferret
Ferrets have a very high metabolism, so they need to eat several small meals throughout the day rather than eating larger meals once or twice. You can put food out for them in a bowl and they will eat it as they are hungry, preventing you from needing to be around for feeding time constantly.
Ferrets need high-protein foods, preferably foods formulated specifically for ferrets. Kitten food can work if supplemented with fatty acids. Dry food should be the primary part of their diet, as the chewing cleans their teeth. Make sure meat is the first ingredient in the list and there are no grains such as wheat or corn.
You can also feed your ferret chicken (raw or cooked) to supplement their dry food if you wish. Chicken baby food is another option, and these can make for a great treat as well.
Pet Ferret Housing: Indoor or Outdoor?
Ferrets are going to live their longest and healthiest life if they are kept indoors in an environment free of stress and fear. This means that if there are conflicts with other animals or small children, you may need to find a different space for them.
If you live in a very temperate climate and the outdoors rarely gets above 80 degrees or below 50 degrees, you may choose to keep your ferrets outside in a pen if you have other animals like dogs or cats that may cause conflicts.
However, most ferrets do best inside and should be kept in a room temperature environment – around 75 degrees. Keeping them inside also prevents encounters with wild predators, which could cause trauma or injury to your ferret.
How Much Attention Does Pet Ferret Need?
Ferrets need at least four hours of supervised time outside of their cage, but they don’t necessarily need to be engaged with the entire time. Your ferret may choose to play by itself or with your other ferrets while you keep an eye on them, but this still requires paying attention.
Your ferret will need at least two of these hours to be active interaction and playtime with you to bond properly. You can play with toys, pet or cuddle with your ferret, or play “tag” or chase them. (This is best done on your hands and knees so that you don’t step on them.)
Just like anybody, ferrets enjoy being acknowledged and spoken to even when not out of their cage, so it’s important not to ignore them when they’re up. Speak to your ferret when you’re in the room or open the door to pet it or pick it up if you have a moment of free time.
Pet Ferret Grooming
Ferrets mostly take care of grooming themselves when it comes to brushing or cleaning their fur. They will rarely need baths and in fact should not be bathed too frequently to avoid making the famous ferret smell worse.
If you own a long-haired or Angora ferret, you may want to brush their fur one or two times a week to prevent tangling and mats. You should do so gently and accompany it with petting so that your ferret is comfortable.
Short-haired ferrets don’t need brushing and will keep themselves clean. They will still have a distinct smell, but this doesn’t mean they’re dirty.
Pet Ferret Exercise: Best Practices
Ferrets need a lot of play and exercise to stay healthy. Ferrets love obstacle courses and running through tunnels and climbing into boxes, and will happily dig in pans of dirt or even rice.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to always be careful when playing with your ferret. They are much smaller than you and are easily stepped on or pushed around if you’re not careful. Your ferret may be roughhousing, but you should always be gentle.
It’s also important to monitor your ferret to make sure it’s not eating any of its toys while it’s exercising. Ferrets love to chew and may eat items like cardboard or plastic that can cause dangerous intestinal blockages.
Ears, Teeth, and Overall Ferret Hygiene & Care
Ferrets need a fair amount of care to stay healthy. You should be clipping nails, cleaning teeth, and cleaning out their ears on a regular basis. Ferrets only need to be bathed once every few months, if at all.
Teeth cleanings should be done once every two weeks if your ferret eats kibble and once a week if your ferret eats softer foods. Use a pet toothbrush and toothpaste and make sure you clean the back molars thoroughly.
You should trim your ferret’s nails once a week to prevent them snagging on anything and potentially tearing off. You can do this with a nail grinder or nail clippers depending on your and your ferret’s comfort levels with the two.
Clean your ferret’s ears using a vet-approved ear cleaning solution and a damp q-tip by applying the solution and massaging it into the ear, then swabbing the ear canal with the q-tip. If the earwax is dark brown or black, contact your vet to inspect your ferret for ear mites.
Should You Bathe Your Pet Ferret?
Ferrets rarely need to be bathed, and bathing them too often can actually make their odor stronger. Ferrets naturally have a strong smell, which can be alleviated by changing their bedding frequently but otherwise is a normal part of a healthy ferret.
You should bathe your ferret once every three or four months using warm water and pet-safe shampoo or soap. Stay away from soaps that may dry its skin out, as this can cause discomfort and scratching. You should wet your ferret thoroughly, lather the soap, and then rinse to remove all soap from their fur.
What Can You Expect the First Month of Owning a Pet Ferret?
Your ferret will need time to adjust to living in a new place with new people and possibly animals. Its personality may be different and it may be less friendly or cuddly than you expect. Your ferret will need time to adjust to your presence and bond with you.
You may also have to litter train your ferret, and expect accidents during time outside of the cage as they get used to finding and using the box. You’ll also need time to get used to the odor of ferrets, as they can have a strong smell that you may not like.
Your ferret may be more aggressive than normal and lash out or nip at you because it’s scared. Respect your ferret’s boundaries and if it hisses or nips at you, back away and allow it to calm down and get comfortable again. It may not want to be handled or cuddled until it gets to know you better.
Are All Ferrets Domesticated?
All ferrets except those released into the wild by their owners are domesticated. There is no such thing as a wild domesticated ferret population the way that wild rats or rabbits exist. It’s possible for someone to release their ferret into the wild, but it’s unlikely the ferret will survive on its own.
However, ferrets are descended from the wild European polecat, which still exists as a wild animal today. The European polecat has a wild population in Eurasia and Morocco, but it’s not possible for this population to mix with a domestic ferret population if the ferrets were to be released.
Are Ferrets Children-Friendly?
Ferrets can be good pets for children old enough to understand complex care directions and animal social cues. This means that children under about 10 years of age won’t be suited to take care of a ferret unless they are very emotionally mature and intelligent.
However, children in their teens can be great ferret owners and could even benefit from the experience. Giving an older child a ferret can help them learn how to care for an animal and respect its needs and space.
Young children can be around ferrets for short periods of time if they are shown how to handle the ferret gently and carefully.
Is My Child Ready for a Pet Ferret?
Ferrets take up less space than a dog or cat but usually cost more and need more attention, so it’s important to understand what option is best for your child. If your child wants a ferret, sit down with them and make sure they understand the responsibility.
You’ll need to decide after talking with your child whether you think they are ready. Have they done research? Do they have enough money to care for the ferret? Are they prepared to spend several hours a day giving the ferret attention? All of these are important questions to find the answers to.
What Are The Most Kid-Friendly Ferret Breeds?
While there are no technical “breeds” of ferrets, most ferret types are equally suitable – or unsuitable – for children. The main difference between the types of domesticated ferret is their appearance, with all of them having similar dispositions and needs.
A short-haired ferret is going to be better suited for a child because there’s less need to groom the ferret and less worries about children pulling on fur or getting it dirty. In terms of appearance, the only other factor that matters is what fur pattern your specific child likes best.
How Quickly Will you Bond With your Pet Ferret?
How long it takes you to bond depends on your ferret, how many ferrets you have, and how you interact with them and for how long. While different ferrets definitely will react and warm up to you differently, these other factors can play a big part.
If you have more than one ferret, it’s likely that they’ll bond more quickly with each other than with you. You may need work harder to get their attention and break into their social group. Bonded pairs may take especially long to warm up to you, as they’ll be strongly focused on each other as they move into a new home.
The more you interact with your ferret, the more quickly it will become close to you. Once your ferret understands that you are a source of food and comfort, it will trust you more and will begin to bond with you. Spend time playing and cuddling so your ferret knows that you’re a loving companion.
Are Ferrets Loud Pets?
Ferrets are actually very quiet pets and can be great if you have neighbors or live in an apartment and are worried about noise. Ferrets mostly only make noise when they are frightened or injured, and even these noises are fairly quiet.
However, ferrets may make noise running around their cage at night because they are nocturnal and they prefer to play during the nighttime. You can solve this either by keeping their room dark during the day and putting in a nightlight at night, or you can put the cage somewhere that the noise won’t bother you at night.
Can You Train a Ferret?
Ferrets are very intelligent animals and are fairly easily trainable. They can be trained to use the litter box as well as taught their name and to come when called. Some people teach their ferret to sit on their shoulder or head and even teach them tricks!
Just like with a dog or cat, the key to training a ferret is consistency. You should repeat the same command in the same tone of voice each time your ferret does something you want it to do. You may need to prompt the action by showing the ferret what to do or motioning with your hand, and you should reward that action with a treat.
Ferrets can be trained not to bite, but it may be more difficult to do so because they naturally nip at each other and their companions. The most common way to stop a ferret from biting is to grab it by the scruff and say “no” firmly.
Do Ferrets Smell Bad?
Ferrets have a strong odor that can be described as “musky.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that the smell is bad, and some owners even grow to enjoy it and find it comforting. However, the scent may bother some people, especially if it gets too strong.
To avoid the strong smell, you should clean your ferret’s bedding and litter frequently and dispose of it in an outside garbage can. You will also want to wash any cloth toys, blankets, or hammocks that your ferret spends a large amount of time around. All of these will absorb the scent and make it stronger if not kept clean.
You should also get your male ferrets neutered, as their scent will be strongest during mating season if they are not fixed.
Do Ferrets Get Along with Other Pets?
Ferrets definitely have the potential to get along with other pets, and in fact can become close companions and playmates with them. Whether or not this succeeds depends mostly on the personalities of your other pets as well as your ferret.
It’s important to introduce your pets carefully and in a controlled environment. Do so on neutral ground, so an area that neither animal considers to be their home territory. Make sure larger animals such as dogs are gentle with your ferret, and don’t risk introducing dogs with strong prey drives.
Cats may be more successful playmates to your ferret simply because they’re similar in size and disposition. Again, you should introduce them slowly and allow them to become used to each other before expecting them to play or get along.
Do Ferrets Like Toys?
Ferrets love toys, and the best part is that almost anything can be a toy to a ferret. You don’t need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on ferret toys, and instead can use objects around the house or gotten cheaply at the dollar store as toys.
Ferrets love to shred toilet paper rolls or run through the middle if they are small enough. You can also make a tunnel out of PVC pipe and allow your ferret to run through it, or you can fill it with rice for your ferret to dig out. Ferrets love to burrow and dig, so any toys that simulate those activities will be fun for your ferret.
You can also buy cheap cat toys such as lures to play with your ferret, or wicker balls bought at craft stores for your ferret to kick around. Ferrets also love paper bags and cardboard boxes to climb and hide in.
Can Ferrets Destroy Your House?
Yes, if you aren’t careful, your ferret can do serious damage to you house or your belongings. Ferrets love to dig, burrow, and chew, all of which can ruin your property. It’s a good idea to block off sensitive areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms and only allow your ferret in certain ferret-proofed areas.
You should also remove your belongings such as bags and books from the area, and be careful with baggy or flowing clothes. Ferrets may grab onto them and try to tear or chew through them.
Ferrets don’t intend to be destructive, so if you provide alternatives to dig in and chew on, they will usually go to those alternatives that are easier to reach. Giving your ferret enough toys and stimulation will help in addition to restricting their access to items and areas that could be damaged.
Ferret Health Problems
Certain colorations of ferrets such as Albino and Panda patterns are prone to deafness and may be born deaf or become deaf at a younger age. If you have a ferret with these patterns and think it may be deaf, try making a noise such as jingling your keys behind them to see if they react. If not, they’re probably at least partially deaf.
Ferrets can also have a variety of diseases that all animals can have, such as kidney disease or heart disease. These are less common unless the ferret has a diet that contains foods or chemicals it should not be eating. Bad diet may also contribute to hairballs and other intestinal blockages.
Ferrets can get a variety of viral or bacterial diseases if not kept in a clean cage away from wild animals. It’s also possible for a ferret to get cancer, with lymphoma being the most common kind among the types of cancer a ferret can get.
Can I have a ferret in an apartment? Ferrets are usually accepted in apartments that allow animals, but the landlord may be worried about the smell. Let them know that you will keep your ferret and its area clean to minimize this.
Can ferrets take medicine for dogs or cats? Ferrets can have some of the same vaccines as dogs and cats, but you should never give them medicine made for other animals because the dosage will be too high.
Can ferrets eat dog food? No. Most dog food uses too many grains and vegetables for ferrets to digest. They won’t get the nutrients they need and they may get sick.