A dear friend of mine was visiting my blog and mentioned that her favorite pet would be a ferret. Why? Because they are so cute, so lively and playful. She is right, of course. Ferrets can be great pets. They are by nature cuddly and just love to play endlessly with you. Their energy sometimes seems to be limitless. As ferret owner you might get faster tired than your little furry friend.
Nevertheless ferrets have a unique character and special needs and requirements which makes a ferret not the right pet for everyone. There are some things you need to know before you decide to get a ferret for yourself or your family.
First let‘s speak about the general age a ferret can reach. Under good circumstances a ferret can live up to 7 years. This is considered to be a very old age. Generally ferrets grow only 3-4 years old.
One main characteristic of ferrets is their need for move. When ferrets aren’t sleeping or napping they run around. And I mean really running around. And it‘s not just the young ferrets having so much energy that literally explodes in movements.
This fact must be considered before getting a ferret. Since you need to offer your ferret a home in form of a cage or habitat, this cage must have a certain size to accommodate the ferret‘s need for move. A correctly sized cage is even more necessary for your ferret if you leave home for several hours for work or school. And the cage needs to be of at least two stories if you decide to have two ferrets.
This leads to another point. Ferrets are very social, meaning they like to have friends – your family members and/or another ferret with whom they can play endlessly. So besides planning for a lot of playtime with your little ferret, you might decide getting a second ferret – what actually many ferret owners end up doing. The step of getting a second ferret must be thought through the same thoroughly as with the first one.
First of all, not all ferrets like each other. So, you need to observe your two little guys for several days to make sure that they understand and like each other. Also guarantee them both access to food and sleeping places. They shouldn’t start fighting over food, toys or loungers.
While ferrets are great as pets for children you still need to consider one habit ferrets have that might cause some problems. Ferrets just love to burrow, dig and chew. This behavior comes from their wild cousins that live in groups and are very territorial. They like to burrow and run and dance around. This characteristic makes them explore their world, your home I mean, dig where they can, chew on everything they can get their teeth on. So, you will need to hide your shoes, socks as wells as electrical cords and just everything that lies around and might put your ferret‘s spirit of adventure on fire. This means that when you release your ferret friend to roam your home freely, you have to watch over him – the whole time. Your home definitely needs to be „ferret-proof“!
There is another point to be considered before getting a ferret. And this is how you answer the following question: are you very smell-sensitive? If yes, you probably won‘t choose a ferret. Why? Like skunks ferrets release a smell when they are scared. The smell is not as potent as we know it from skunks, but the scent might linger for a while before dissipating. Here in the U.S. the ferret‘s glands producing this smell are surgically removed – which in other countries is considered to be an unnecessary mutilation. Nevertheless even with removed glands ferrets still can produce their specific musky scent.
And a final consideration goes to feeding a ferret. Ferrets are strictly meat eaters. In wild they hunt and eat rodents such as rabbits. They cannot digest plant food, fruit, vegetables or grain. There is specific ferret food available that is high in protein, moderate in fat and low in carbohydrates, you will want to buy this food. Some ferret owners try to feed cat food or even raw meat. Both though is not recommended for ferrets.
Before getting a ferret as new pet you have to check on the laws of your state or country. Ferrets are not everywhere allowed to be kept as pets. Some states and countries have different types of restrictions about keeping ferrets as pets. I recommend to find out if ferrets are allowed where you live.
Having spoken earlier about the necessity of buying an appropriate ferret cage for your new pet friend I invite you to take a look at the following ferret cage.
Ferret Nation Ferret Cage
- Two story ferret habitat / cage with stand
- Includes: 2 pans, 2 removable shelves, 3 ramps with ramp covers
- Full-width double doors
- Bar spacing of 1″ designed specifically for ferrets
- Extremely sturdy durable metal
- 4 locking wheel casters
- Size: 36“ L x 25“ W x 62.5“ H
We bought the double for our solo ferret. We’ve had her for over 4 yrs and finally opted for a cage and I’m glad we chose this one. I hate to “cage” her up so I wanted to be sure she had lots of room to roam and boy does she! The ramps come with coverings so it’s easier for the ferrets to walk up/down each level. Also, the cage comes with wheels so it’s easy to push if necessary.
Love this cage for our two ferrets. The top cage can be separated from the bottom cage. Great for keep ferrets separate when introducing them. The wheels move nicely and it can go from room to room easily. The doors latch shut great and our 3 year old has not figured out how to open it. Thats a plus!
Love this cage. Its super roomy, easy to clean and very mobile and light. Our little ferries were very happy with it!