Ferret Facts and Trivia on Ferrets
If you are thinking of getting a pet ferret there are some things you should know first. They are not cheap and easy pets.
Ferrets are members of the weasel family. They are not rodents. They are carnivores and were once used to hunt rabbits. As such anybody who keeps rabbits, or rodents, as pets may want to think again before getting a pet ferret.
Ferrets are incredibly smart animals. They do not do well in living situations were they are kept caged for any length of time. They are very smart and playful. Experts recommend ferrets have at least three hours out of their cages every day. Failure to provide them with this additional stimulus, or change of scenery, will result in a very stressed ferret, and can lead to aggression or health problems.
The average lifespan of a ferret is 6-8 years, depending on care, health, and where it came from (the animals from mass breeders often have shorter lifespans with more health complications).
When out of their cage a playful and curious ferret might nibble on cords so all electric cords should be up or safely covered so that a curious ferret cannot get at them. Additionally their curiosity might get them into trouble so they should be supervised when out of their cage.
The cage itself should be large, typical ferret cages are 3, or more, feet tall, with several shelves and climbing opportunities. Ferrets enjoy nesting places and most stores sell ferret sacks which can be suspended in their cages.
Ferrets can be litter trained but typically they decide where they want to go to the bathroom and will always use that place, so it is best if you follow there example and put the litter box where they want it to be rather than trying to get them to change their behavior.
Ferrets are not legal in some areas. Although you might think it is okay to smuggle an illegal pet into an area this is entirely unfair to that animal. Not only will it be hard to find food, and veterinary care, but if caught the pet might be confiscated immediately and euthanized.
Ferrets enjoy the companionship of other ferrets, people who plan on getting one might find getting two to be a good idea.
They are smelly, this smell is often reduced by having the ferret de-scented at the same time it is spayed or neutered.
Many ferrets sold in pet stores come from mass ferret breeders (eg. Marshall ferrets). It must be noted that if you want a quality animal you will not buy from these sources. Rather you should look for a ferret from a reputable breeder. Ideally one who has taken their animal to shows. Most importantly look for a breeder who has handled the young ferret a lot before selling them.
Ferrets are prone to diseases, be sure you have a knowledgeable veterinarian in your area.
Ferrets can be fed good quality kitten food in an emergency, but this is not a good option for long term feeding. They really should have a good quality ferret food.
Ferrets can, and do, bite. Young children might be turned off if bitten. These pets are best for people who are experienced with animals and aware that biting is a natural response to fear and poor handling. Ferrets should never be encouraged to nip.
Ferrets can be leash trained and taken for walks, in fact this is a very good activity for them when out of their cages. Use caution when walking them near dogs who may see them as prey.
Ferrets enjoy a series of toys and things to climb into, on, and to explore. They love tunnel systems.
Dried fruit is often sold as a ferret treat but cannot be digested properly by them in the short time it is in their digestive system and can actually cause blockages.
You can also look online at Ferret.com if you need help finding ferret food and supplies.