These lively and curious animals were originally used for hunting rabbits and rodents. Ferrets were often sent down holes to flush the prey out as a way of vermin control.
In today’s day and age, whilst still being used for hunting, ferrets are more commonly known for being a household pet and this is becoming more and more popular each year.
They make great household pets due to being fun loving. If you are considering becoming a new ferret mommy or daddy, there are certain things to consider before making the jump.
In This Blog:
Bringing a Ferret into your Life
Whilst they can be affectionate and spirited pets, they are not recommended for households with younger children.
Not only are ferrets delicate, being seriously injured if they are dropped or handled incorrectly, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for them to bite their holder (quite forcibly) if they feel threatened or startled.
Therefore if you want to prevent any incidents for occurring when your back in turned, no matter whether it has been minutes or hours, wait until the children have matured and can understand how delicate handling required and consideration is required.
When introducing a ferret into your life, you need to consider their living arrangements. They love to dig, go through tunnels, and run around so make sure that you have enough space to accommodate this behaviour.
Being able to set up an appropriate habitat will keep your ferret as happy and stress free as possible.
Your Ferrets Home
A converted shed or purpose-built enclosure is highly recommended as a living arrangement. Afterall, ferrets cannot live in a hutch all their life as they need space to run around and stretch their legs. If they have a large outdoor space, in the house or enclosure, then a hutch or cage can be used for the remaining time.
Pet ferrets are infamous escape artists. They love to take themselves on little adventures if given half the chance. So, as a responsible owner, always make sure that no matter where they are, whether they are awake or asleep, their enclosure is securely fastened and locked to prevent escapees.
No matter whether your ferret is kept in an indoor enclosure, or they reside outdoors, the same rules apply. Take note that they don’t cope very well with cold, harsh winter weather. Conversely, they also struggle in the blazing hot sun in Summer too.
Appropriately, ferrets in the wild will dig a hole before they sleep in the Summer. This is to hide from the bright sunlight and provide themselves with a dark space to help improve sleep quality.
As an owner, you should aim to mimic this environment in their domesticated home life, otherwise they can become ill. By providing them with a sheltered area in their enclosure or cage, this reduces the risk of illnesses and keeps them happy and content.
As much as natural sunlight can affect them, artificial light can be just as bad for your pet ferret and will also affect their sleeping quality.
Your ferret will thrive if they have friends to play along with when you are not home. Much like cats, they are known to sleep for most of the day. 14-18 hours per day to be exact. For the rest of the day, they are very energetic and energetic animals who demand a lot of physical stimulation and play time.
A companion ferret can help do this in your place and they are both more likely to tire themselves out rather than come running to you.
Make sure to provide them with lots of different toys and activities to keep them occupied whilst you are out of the house – this will also keep them out of mischief.
If you are to keep your pet ferret on their own with no other ferret friends, be sure to play with them very regularly as bored ferrets can develop naughty and destructive habits.
Food And Snacks
Similar to our feline friends, the cats, ferrets are compulsory carnivores. Their diets must contain meat.
The most natural and best diet for them is raw meat, including whole prey. This is due to the high protein content. Kitten food is also acceptable to feed them, as is dried ferret food.
Raw meat which they can eat:
- Chicken wings
- Lambs heart
- Large raw animal bones (not cooked as they can splinter and big enough so they cannot fit it all in their mouths)
The idea of feeding a raw meat diet may put you off and make you feel a bit queasy, but this replicates their natural eating habits, and your ferret will be very happy with your choice.
If you want to treat your ferret, they love a whole raw egg which is still in its shell as they thoroughly enjoy breaking through the shell to get to the yummy goodness. This should only be given once or twice per week.
When it comes to feeding time, make sure you only offer them their food for 30-60 minutes as they have a rather unpleasant habit of hiding their food if they are not particularly hungry at the time. Nobody wants to find a rotten smelly present when cleaning out their enclosure!
Ferret Play Time
They love to play with one another and also with you, so what better way to treat them than to get them some cool accessories and toys for their enclosure.
Tunnels will always be a major hit and they will be ecstatic if they find a new one to play and hide in. By offering them tunnels to play in, you will be helping to replicate their natural behaviours and occupy their mind.
Another great thing to consider purchasing for them is a hammock. Sleep is an important factor to a ferret’s healthy lifestyle, so a hammock can help them curl up and have a good sleep. A hammock with a hideout underneath is even better as ferrets love dark spaces.
If you own a cat and they have lots of toys, share some with your ferret. They will love to play with crinkly toys which make noise or some balls to throw around. You can also engage in a bout of tug of war if you have any ropes on hand.
Whilst ferrets require a lot of space to explore and run around in, if you have the space to spare or a shed which you have been meaning to sort out all summer, then you will have a perfect environment for a pet ferret to keep you entertained whilst they play hide and seek!
They may sound tricky to look after and keep clean, but if you keep on top of their dietary requirements and provide them with an adequate living space, they will be quite simple to keep on top of and you will both be very happy and satisfied.