Ferret as pet is an excellent choice if you can devote some of your time, money and a lot of attention and love, but in return, your ferret will entertain you, return your love and kindness, the bond you will have with your ferret is exceptional and different from that of a chain or even a dog.
What is a ferret ?
First of all, know that even if it is put in the section “rodents” in petshops, the ferret is not a rodent like hamsters or gerbils … etc., a ferret is a carnivore of the family “mustelidae” like Badgers, otters and wolverines.
Ferrets have an elongated body, short legs, rounded ears and thick fur that protects them from the elements and especially when they sneak underground pursuing their prey in his burrow.
It usually hunts rodents, such as rats and rabbits and eats fresh meat prays, so you should never leave your other rodent alone with a ferret or even put them in contact, your hamster, rat or chinchilla will surely serve as a meal to your ferret.
The name ferret is derived from the word “Furonem”, which means “thief” and, this name fits very well to ferrets, and if we analyze their scientific name which is “mustela putorius furo”!
In translation, it will give “mouse-killing stinky thief”, we can remove the word stinky, even if the ferrets smell a little, but they are well professional thieves and rat killers.
To summarize, what’s a pet ferret in the eyes of his parents ? :
A ferret is an excellent pet, beautiful, which does not smell really strong, which has a beautiful soft fur, an animal nice, soft and intelligent, which will sow the mess everywhere in the house if you do not supervise it and which will steal your wallet, your sock and your keys of cars as soon as you will have the back turned, but you are going to adore it…
For info :
A neutered male ferret is called “Hob” while the female is called “Jill”.
Neutered ferret male is called ” Gib ” and a spayed female is called ” a sprite “.
Do ferrets make good quiet house pets?
Ferrets spend almost 18 hours a day sleeping, mostly during the day, so they are very quiet lying on the sofa or preferably in their cage.
Ferrets are high-maintenance pets, so be prepared for their awakening to be a little energetic, because as soon as you take them out of their enclosure, you will have to share their insatiable instinct to discover, to go everywhere and under all your furniture, to pull and drag your shoes and your cell phone charger … etc.
In what cases are ferrets not recommended as pets?
Yes, if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to a ferret, you shouldn’t have one! Ferrets are very sociable and love to interact with their peers and the family members who welcome them.
They sleep 18 hours a day, but love to spend the remaining 4 hours running around the house and doing their usual mischief.
Ferrets can also be a danger to animals like rabbits, mice, hamsters, lizards, etc. because they are excellent predators, but ferrets can get along well with a cat and a dog.
Ferrets can also cost you more than other animals, so you need to budget at least $1000 annually just for them and if all goes well.
If you have a baby, it is better to keep him away from your ferret because he will not hesitate to nibble him a little if your baby pulls his fur or hurts him without paying attention!
If you don’t have enough space in your home, you should consider getting another pet because ferrets need space and high and wide cages.
How much do pet ferrets cost ?
For the ferret itself, you have three options:
- Adopt a ferret from a Shelter
- Buy a ferret from a pet store
- Buy or adopt a ferret from a Reputable Ferret Breeder (my favorite after the shelter).
Ferrets are generally quite expensive compared to cats and dogs, you can buy a small ferret from $90 to over $450.
Those from pet stores like Petco can cost less, up to $299, but it’s a bad deal considering the money you’ll spend on medication and vet visits, because they were born to unselected parents.
You can find baby ferrets at the breeder’s from $100 for the “Black sable & Champagne” breeds, the “Chocolate & Albino” breeds can be bought for up to $300 and the most expensive are usually the “Cinnamon” breeds, where a young ferret costs up to $500.
Is it better to get 1 or 2 ferrets?
Ferrets are very social and it is highly recommended to have at least two ferrets at the same time so they can play and interact with each other.
If you only want to have one ferret, you should spend more time with him every day after you take him out of his pen, because he needs to feel part of a group.
Ideally, you should have several ferrets, brothers and sisters, just make sure that the males are neutered, you’ll just be supervising them as they’ll play with each other.
What do you need before getting a pet ferret?
We have seen the price of the ferret which can vary from 100 to more than $500, but the costs do not stop there, because to have a ferret as a pet you will need other accessories and other monthly expenses and this is what we will see here the essential:
- An enclosure (a cage)
- A Litter-box + Litter
- Sleeping Material ( bed or a hammac )
- Food to Water dishes
You will also have other expenses like for :
- Food and treats
- Enrichment (toys…)
- Regular visits to the vet, vaccinations & 18 weeks at 8,12 (and for rabies), and possible treatments.
- The leash and other accessories for outings like water bottle …etc
Pet ferrets lifespan ?
There are many factors that can affect the lifespan of a ferret, its genes, the genes of its parents, its diet and especially its ability to resist the various diseases to which they are exposed.
The ferret that you will buy in a pet store like Petco or PetSmart, it will generally live between 5 and 7 years, which is relatively short for this kind of pet.
The reason why ferrets sold in pet stores do not live long is because these ferrets are not bred from selected parents who have predispositions to fight diseases such as lymphoma, insulinoma, hyperestrogenism, distemper, and diabetes. and to be born without malformations as well…etc
The ferrets sold in pet stores are from Pet Mills, a kind of pet factory; that’s why I never recommend you to buy your pet from pet stores.
Ferrets purchased from a reputable breeder live longer
If you want a ferret that can live up to 13 years, I recommend you to buy it from a breeder who is passionate, who has certainly selected holy ferret parents without predisposition to diseases and the ferret females are bred only for a certain number of times unlike the pet mills.
All of this will allow the breeder to breed purebred, resistant, holy ferrets that will live almost twice as long as those sold in pet stores.
Are ferrets intelligent?
Erica Modelic of Ferret’s USA Magazine has proven that ferrets are very intelligent compared to other pets.
It has been proven that ferrets are smarter than cats and dogs and are expert problem solvers and always find a way to get what they want.
Ferrets also have a good memory and remember where they leave or hide things and especially the location of any object in your home, every room they have access to.
Pet ferrets do recognize their names, they can learn to respond to verbal and visual commands as well.
Ferrets seem to not communicate with their parents but this is not true, they apparently use their behavior to tell us what they want and not sounds or tail wags like a dog or cat would.
What we know for sure is that ferrets will return your kindness and love and you will feel it in their eyes when you pet them and play with them.
Ferrets are quick learners, you will soon see that when you bring them home, give them just a day or two and they will record the entire layout of your home, where the hiding places are, the doors, the holes, the food source, etc.
Ferrets are very exploratory and you will need to provide them with lots of enrichments, such as toys and puzzles to solve in exchange for treats, things to climb, tunnels, trips to the park (with a leash) and walks …..
Can I train house-train a ferret ?
Yes, absolutely!!! Of course ferrets can learn new things if you want to teach them.
If you are patient enough, you can start by potty-training your ferret, leash training him/her, teaching them to do acrobatics and rolls on the ground, to bring back objects (they love it !! those little thieves hhh) …
The ferrets are also trained to hunt rodents, rats, smiles and even hares and this for a long time.
Ferrets are therefore very intelligent and can learn anything you want to teach them.
The weight and size that ferrets can reach?
Called “Winter Chub”, ferrets tend to gain weight during the winter and can weigh up to 40% more than their initial weight, which means that a ferret will almost double its weight during the winter. They will return to their normal weight in the spring.
The size of a ferret will depend mainly on its diet, gender and breed. Females can measure up to 20 inches from snout to tail tip and weigh up to 3.5 pounds.
Male ferrets are a little longer than their female counterparts and can grow to 23 inches and weigh between 3 and 5 pounds.
What does a Pet ferret eat ?
Ferrets are obligate carnivores and are ideally fed fresh prey such as small mice and their digestive system is ideally prepared for a carnivorous diet, which consists primarily of fresh meat and bones.
Ferrets are usually fed raw chicken meat, frozen mice or special carnivore chicken or lamb maid pellets which must be grain & corn free.
Ferrets can’t digest food containing complex carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and dairy-based, so ideally you should not feed fruits and vegetables to a ferret.
The difference between a male and female ferret?
Male ferrets are generally a little longer and stockier than male ferrets, but if you want to be sure of your ferret’s gender, you will notice between the two back legs of the male ferret a kind of belly button but which is actually its pennis, which the female ferret does not have!
Is it better to have a male or female ferret ?
Speaking of character, male ferrets are not so different from female ferrets, even if some people say that females are a little more demanding and aggressive than males, which I find false because they are the same for me.
I advise you to have at least one couple and the gender is not so important, a male with a female or two of the same gender, the main thing is to have a couple so they keep each other company and play and interact with each other, it’s more beautiful to see too.
Do Pet Ferrets Really stink ?
Ferrets have their own smell (musky smell), I can’t call it a stink, it’s just the smell of ferrets, it’s not strong and you will quickly get used to its smell as it will get used to yours and your cat or dog’s.
Ferrets that weren’t descented also have two scent glands, one on each side of their anus, they contain a very smelly liquid when the ferret is not neutered and if the non-neutered ferret releases this liquid when he is excited etc., he will produce a very strong odor (this is called “Poofing”, it’s like a skunk releasing its odor to defend itself.
These scent tassels are normally removed before the ferret is put on sale, so you don’t have to worry, unless you buy ferrets for breeding purposes!
Ferrets can’t, they just have a different smell than your cat or any other pet.
So that your ferret’s cage does not smell strong, you must potty-train your ferret, clean his litter-box, bedding, accessories … etc, daily and also consider even changing his diet
Non-neutered male ferrets can be a bit stinky during the breeding season, but ferrets are usually all neutered before they are sold, at least here in the USA.
Are Pet Ferrets dangerous?
If they are vaccinated, they are not likely to transmit rabies if they bite you, and I have not heard of any cases where ferrets have transmitted zoonotic diseases to anyone!
You are probably wondering if ferrets bite, especially after you see their sharp teeth!
First of all, know that ferrets sold at pet stores are very young and nipping & biting is a normal behavior at this age!! it’s a game for them and the bites are usually painless, just for fun hh
A ferret that you buy from a reputable breeder will usually never bite you because it is probably well socialized and used to being handled by humans…etc
A ferret can use his canines and bite you to defend himself if he is antisocial and if he is not tamed ! It is rarely the case but a ferret can become aggressive and bite if his living conditions are terrible, like locking him 24/7 in a tiny cage and feeding him badly…etc
You can of course Bite-train your ferret and teach him not to bite you, this will take some time and patience but the result is usually good and the ferret will soon understand that he has nothing to fear from you and will stop seeing you as a threat or competitor.
Are ferrets the right pet for me?
Ferrets are very fun and almost not at all demanding when you get to know them. Their only requirement is a little more attention, supervision, a strict diet, at least 2 hours of playtime a day, ferret-proofing a room or two and a little money saved for the vet especially from the age of 6, 7 years old especially for those of them that were bred badly and those who are not bought from a passionate breeder.
Ferrets sleep on average 16 to 18 hours a day, so if you buy the ideal cage large enough, install all the necessary, a good hammock, their water and their litter pan, then cover the cage so that it is dark inside, in this case your hamster will spend all day in its enclosure.
You can then take them out early in the morning if you have time, otherwise, at dusk for two hours per day so they spend, eat and play.
Is a ferret dangerous for kids ?
Ferrets are great family pets however they must be supervised, especially when you have little grade school and younger kids
A ferret will make a sound to warn and then bite to defend itself when it feels threatened or someone hurts it!
For children who are in college, it’s OK, they can quickly learn how to play with a ferret and the tricks to avoid like never pull the fur of a ferret or surprise him from behind because they have a bad sight … etc
A ferret’s jaw is very powerful and its bite can be dangerous because it can even break a bone in a finger if it bites seriously!
Ferret babies are also nibblers, they bite just to play and their bite is usually painless.
To teach a ferret to stop biting, Scruff him and hold him for a moment on the ground he’ll stop biting .they can’t bite closed hand, don’t put your finger in front of their face !
Do ferrets need to go to the vet ?
Yes, unlike cats, dogs, hamsters, etc. who only go to the vet if they are sick, a ferret needs to go to the vet at least twice a year just to make sure everything is ok.
Ferrets also have vaccines to do like rabies, that’s why it’s necessary that you put at least $300 a year for this kind of vet bills.
Let’s wrap all this Up
Ferrets are incredible pets and the bond you will form with them is far incomparable to the one you have with a cat or dog.
They can of course be very noisy once awake and released in the house and require very special attention.
They are great explorers and can break things, which is why you need to Ferret-proof your home before you bring your ferret in.
Your ferret will steal things from you and chew others, he will urinate by mistake somewhere until you put him to potty-training .
Despite all this, I guarantee you that it is worth the cost to have a ferret as a pet because it is an unforgettable experience and an incredibly sweet animal, It’s an unforgettable experience and an incredibly sweet, affectionate and intelligent animal that will know how to cheer you up and make you forget your worries, just with his antics and acrobatics that won’t end until you put him back in his cage.