Are you looking to add a furry, droopy creature to your life? Here are 10 tips before you get your own ferret.
Ferrets are a domesticated form of the European polecat. They’re found in the wild, but when things get tough, their lifestyle is to hunker down and wait for the snow to melt so they can go hunting. But they also seem to have adapted well to living as pets, and are incredibly affectionate animals who like cuddles more than food.
They’re very playful animals who can be trained easily enough – but if you want them to be more domesticated, you might have an uphill battle on your hands! Ferrets require daily exercise and attention from their owners, so if you’re not sure whether ferret ownership is right for you, know that it’s worth putting some serious thought into it first!
Ferrets eat special food and the most popular of these are Mazuri and Science Diet. Do your research before you buy as they vary in price. Expect to pay over $150 for a healthy, well-bred ferret from a known breeder or store (the cost of buying from a pet store is negated by the fact that they are healthier than ferrets that have been bred to be sold in stores).
1) The right amount of shade
Ferrets need 15-20% shade at the time of day they’re most active; this can be achieved through curtains or shades in windows, or by using a ferret bed or tunnel which provides such an environment.
2) A proper diet
Ferrets need high quality cat food that provides protein and calcium as well as moisture and fiber. Feeding your ferret dry food without any added nutrients can cause constipation and other digestion issues. Additionally, fresh water is important for digestion throughout the process of eating.
The main concern about proper nutrition is providing enough protein in the diet of ferrets so they can grow strong and healthy. It’s also significant to provide the dietary needs with calcium for strong bones, especially during early life stages when their bones are not yet fully developed.
3) A quiet, safe environment
When you take your new ferret home, please keep in mind that while they’re very small and playful, they can still get hurt. You need to provide a safe place for them to play and explore while you keep them safe and out of harm’s way. If your ferret has been declawed or neutered/spayed for safety reasons, please keep the cage door closed when your ferret is playing or sleeping so that he or she won’t escape.
4) A source of entertainment
Ferrets are nocturnal (active at night), but they will require their fair share of daytime play time. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough toys and beds for your ferret to keep them occupied while you’re at work or sleeping. We recommend a ferret bed, blanket, and toys as well as the recommended diet of food and water.
If your ferret is not getting enough to play with, you can make your own toys using chenille stems (the soft, floppy pieces of cloth), toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, and cotton balls. You can also use empty toilet paper rolls as chew toys for your ferret.
5) A good place for your ferret to sleep
Your new pet will likely try to sleep on your bed, couch, or even in your lap while you’re watching TV. This is a normal behavior, but if it continues for too long you might want to consider getting another bed so that your ferret won’t be tempted to curl up in the one bed that’s reserved for you.
A ferret’s sleeping schedule is a little different from our own. They are active at night and sleep in the day, although some ferrets sleep during the day as well. They typically go to bed at dusk and wake up around 8-10am, during which time they might spend some time playing or grooming.
6) A healthy, clean environment
Ferrets are prone to several health problems, and it is important that they stay healthy by having a clean environment. We recommend that you wash your hands with soap and water before handling your ferret to avoid spreading germs. You’ll also want to wash any bedding and toys that you intend to give your ferret so that the toys don’t become covered in his or her germs.
7) A family who understands the responsibility of caring for a pet
Ferrets are very social creatures and require plenty of interaction with humans and other animals. They enjoy playtime with their “pack” or owner just as much as they enjoy being alone. If you’re not a very social person, then perhaps you should look for a different pet.
8) The right cage
You’ll need to provide your ferret with a cage that’s at least 3xs as large as the ferret is when standing on all fours. This size of cage is necessary for ferrets to be able to run around and play without feeling cooped up or confined.
9) A proper bedding material
We recommend using paper-based bedding material (newspapers, paper towels, kitty litter) in combination with hay and soft toys for your ferret’s bedding. This will help your ferret’s bedding stay cleaner for longer, and they will enjoy digging out the toys and hay in which he or she likes to dig.
10) A ferret that hasn’t been used to other pets
Take this one step further before you adopt your new pet by not familiarizing him with any other pets in the house. This way, he won’t try to bite them as it may be unfamiliar territory for him. Make sure to keep the people and other animals away from your ferret.
Anytime you adopt a new pet, it’s important to do your research first. This is especially true if you’re adopting a ferret – because since they can’t be left alone for long periods of time, there are a few things you need to consider in advance to ensure that your ferret will be safe and happy in its new home.
We hope that you found these 10 tips helpful! Feel free to comment below with your own tips about caring for a pet ferret!
Bonus: Pets are our reason for living. If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t know what love was… Each one, teaching us the lesson that life is love.