Do Ferrets Make Good Pets: Pro’s And Con’s
Ferrets make good pets as they have been domesticated for over twenty centuries. Ferrets can make for exciting and entertaining pets as their personality is playful and inquisitive! In this article you’ll find out why ferrets make good pets.
Ferret At A Glance
This type of animal is not a rodent and is related to the European polecat. Ferrets have been bred for years as pets. Back then they were used primarily for hunting, usually hunting rabbits.
From the research available it’s known that ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2500 years and make good pets. However, they were originally used to hunt rabbits and are still used for hunting today in some parts of the world.
The good news is that people are seeing them more and more for their good nature and appreciate that ferrets make good pets.
Thanks to their curiosity they can be very playful. This is one of the reasons ferrets make good pets.
If the ferret is socialised and accustomed to humans from young age, they can be easily trained and you can build a strong emotional connection with them.
If you look after your ferret pet well, they can live up to 10 years but unfortunately on average they only live for 6 years.
Female ferrets is also known as a jill can grow up to 14 inches and weigh around 0.75 pounds to 2.5 pounds.
The female’s pregnancy lasts roughly 42 days. The babies are known as kits and are born deaf and their eyes remain shut for up to 3 weeks and that is when they start learning how to walk. At around 6 weeks the kits can be introduced to kitten type of food.
Male ferrets, also known as hobs, are bigger. They can grow up to 16 inches and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds. If they are not neutered, they can grow larger.
Ferret Personality Traits
They are very sociable animals and can be a great addition to your family, if looked after the correct way. Their behaviour is similar to cats and dogs. Therefore, you can train them to use a litter box.
Ferrets can live with other pets such as cats and dogs but shouldn’t be in contact with pets such as birds, rabbits, mice, and rats. Ferrets need more attention than pets such as cats and dogs, therefore the owner must be committed and prepared to provide them with affection and their time.
Are Ferrets Agressive
They are not normally aggressive but young children should be supervised when handling the animal as the ferret can nip until fully house trained or if it feels threatened or is mishandled which is the same for any pet animal.
Ferrets, the same as puppies and kittens, must be taught not to bite and what is an appropriate behaviour. A domestically bred ferret will not be aggressive normally but their personality is playful so they will enjoy games such as pretend hunting, tug of war, wrestling and more.
You need to be very responsible when caring for a ferret as if it escapes, it rarely survives.
They can make sounds but are usually very quiet. If your ferret makes sounds and noises it might mean that they are frightened or hurt.
Lazy But Playful
If you are a fan of an afternoon nap then you’ll be happy to find out that ferrets also love napping and can sometimes sleep for 18 hours a day. Now you have a nap partner!
Your pet ferret will need a few hours of exercise and play a day. Their playfulness can sometimes turn into mischief, but their nature is not hostile, so it should be taken lightly.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised that ferrets are very affectionate creatures. They enjoy belly rubs and scratches the same as cats and dogs. You can pick up your pet ferret and hold it close to your body to build a bond.
If your pet is pulling away or pushing you away, it means that they need their space in that moment. Even though ferrets spend much of their time sleeping and lounging around, if you start to play with them, they will immediately become energetic and playful!
Ferrets make for good pets, especially when they get older as that’s when they become even more affectionate and cuddlier. In additon to that, they can fall asleep in your arms regularly. When ferrets are older, they almost never bite or nip even if you step on them by accident or when they are hurt.
Are Ferrets Good Pets For Kids
Ferrets are lovely pets – affectionate, playful but they are also very demanding and require adult supervision. They are not suitable to be handled by young children unsupervised. The youngest age recommended is 7 years and above.
Ferrets can nip and bite on occasions and that can be dangerous to very young children. The child also must be old enough to be able to look after the pet correctly. Ferrets are not recommended for families with children younger than 7 years old and they should never be left unsupervised around babies.
Older ferrets and well trained ferrets are safer to interact with older children than young ferrets (kits) as they can bite until they learn what is appropriate behaviour.
What To Look For When Buying A Ferret
You can buy a ferret from a pet shop or contact a breeder directly. If you go through a breeder you want to make sure that the ferrets are well looked after. If the parents of your pet have been mistreated and have developed illnesses, it’s very likely that their offspring’s behaviour and health can be affected. Always check reviews and comments and ask the right questions such as:
- Where do you keep the ferrets
- How often do you let them out of the cage
- What diet are they on
- Do they have all their vaccines up to date
Another thing good to know is the different type of colours ferrets come in. These are some of the types of ferrets you’ll come actoss:
- Black Ferret
- Black Sable
- Champagne Ferret
- Chocolate Ferret
- Cinnamon Ferret
- Dark-Eyed White Ferret
- Sable Ferret
Read here if you want to learn more about the different ferret breeds Ferret Breeds
Health Checks When Selecting A Ferret
- Discharge from the eyes or nose can be a sign of an infection
- Wetness around the anus can be a sign of a diarrhoea
- Behaviour must be energetic and alert
- Not too thin
- Coat needs to be soft on touch with no visible flea infestation or bold patches
- Gums must be pink and no broken or missing teeth
Ferrets only eat meat as they are carnivores. Black footed ferrets’ diet normally consist of small mammals such as rabbits, rodents, mice. If that is not available, they will eat birds, eggs, fish, reptiles. This breed would usually eat between 1.7 to 2.4 ounces of meat per day.
A pet ferret will substitute the above diet with canned, commercially produced high quality ferret food. A healthy and balanced diet would consist of 20 percent fats and 36 percent of protein according to the American Ferret Association.
Ferrets and The Law
Unfortunately, in some States ferrets can be viewed as rodents and is illegal to have them as pets. Those states are California, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Other states will have strict rules about importing, selling, neutering, vaccinations of ferrets. More information will be available at your local government office.
- Group of ferrets are called a “business”
- When males are neutered, they will weigh less
- Like dogs they have canine teeth and similar to cats they can be litter trained
- They can be smelly, but that smell can be minimised when you spray them or neuter them
- They have scent glands and can use the scent as a defence technique
Pro’s and Con’s Of Owning A Ferret
Con’s Of Owning A Ferret
- You need to ferret proof your house as they can figure out how to get into the smallest spaces and that can be dangerous for them
- You need large cages and to make sure you let them out during the day to roam around supervised
- The love digging, so you’ll need to get them a scratch carpet if you have wood floors
- They require attention and play time. You’ll need to invest in toys and to invest your time to play with them
- They love stealing and hiding objects (as they are hilarious animals). You need to make sure that the house objects they are interested in are kept out of reach
- They can be costly. Ferrets require high quality meat and fats only diet. They also need to be taken to the vet regularly for checks.
Pro’s Of Owning A Ferret
- They are affectionate and cuddly
- Curious, adventurous, and hilarious
- Smart and inquisitive they can figure things out quickly and can learn commands
- They can sense your emotions and support you when you’re down
- They sleep around 18 hours a day and need around 4 hours intense play time
- If they have another pet as a companion, they can be fine left alone
- If they are fed good high-quality diet, they won’t smell anymore than any other pet
The most important point out of all, is that it takes a special human to own such a unique, funny, smart and affectionate animal. If trained and looked after correctly, what a ferret gives back to us is more than enough! They make for good pets and you’ll have a special bond.
If you have decided that you want a ferret as your new furry friend in the house, you need to understand that it’s a big responsibility and can be challenging at times. Under the Animal Welfare Act, if a ferret is under your care you are responsible for their well-being.
Learn more on How To Raise And Care For A Ferret by reading this article!