How to Take Care of a Ferret?
“Mustela putorius furo” otherwise known as ferrets are little creatures from the same line as weasels. They are playful and sociable, so it’s always recommended to keep 2-3 ferrets of the same sex together. Their curious nature will bring you joy and definitely lift your mood.
Ferrets can be fed just as easily as cats or dogs. You can find prepared ferret food in pet stores. And you only need to ensure the food is of good quality to maintain its proper nutrition.
After reading this article, you will know exactly how to take the best care of them.
So, let’s get started.
A Few Reasons to Make Ferrets A Part of Your Family
Here are a few reasons to make ferrets a part of your family:
Cousins to weasels and skunks, ferrets are sexually dimorphic. This means that the males are larger than the females. While the females can grow from 13”- 14”, male ferrets go from 15”- 16.”
The lifespan of ferret range from 6 to 13 years. This is ideal for introducing your children to a new friendly pet whom they can keep for a long time.
Neither Loud nor Aggressive
You won’t find ferrets making much noise if they aren’t in danger. They generally sleep 14-18 hours a day and are most active during the dawn or dusk hours.
Can Be Litter Trained
Ferrets can be trained to go on a litter. This is especially useful since you only have to clean the litter and not the entire cage.
Easily Available Food
If you’re not keen on making any extra or special food for your ferret, you can easily get some pre-prepared food from your closest pet store.
These cozy creatures are sociable and won’t make a big fuss in a crowd (unless they feel threatened).
You’ll be glad to learn that ferrets are quite intelligent. They are persistent and solve puzzles with enthusiasm. It is often advised to provide them with puzzle-based toys and games.
How to Take Care of This Fuzzy Mammal
In this section, I will tell you how to take care proper care of a ferret.
Where to Keep Them
Keep them inside the house. Make a large wood and wire cage. Keep the bottom flat and solid. Spread some wood shavings or hay in there. Throw in some extra hay to make it comfier.
How to Hold Them
To keep them tamed, they should be held regularly. Always hold them under the front legs and keep the rest of the body dangling because this is good and comfortable for their backs.
What to Feed Them
Although you can find ferret food in stores, it is good to know that ferrets eat meat. They require regular animal fat in their system because they have a high metabolism. While buying ferret food, see that you do not buy any fish for them.
You can give them a handful of dried ferret or cat food. Give them small portions of fruits and vegetables occasionally to serve as a treat. You need to ensure a constant supply of fresh water as well.
It is good to get your pet used to a mixture of different foods from an early age because they tend to fall ill by sudden changes in flavor or food. I always advise to buy one week’s worth of food at a time because they are choosy eaters and you wouldn’t want the food to go stale.
How to Keep Them Entertained
These mischievous creatures will spend the majority of their days in bed, but when awake, they are playful and curious. Buy them puzzle games and toys to keep them busy. This will entertain not only them but you as well as you will love their persistence and intelligence.
How to Clean Their Cage
It is necessary to clean a ferret's cage every day, and thorough cleaning is a must once every week. This should be done to keep their innate and distinctive musky smell to a minimal.
Follow these steps to clean their cage:
Step 1:Put them in a pet carrier when you clean the cage.
Step 2:Be sure to remove all the toys or buckets while you clean.
Step 3:Use a dustbin and brush to get rid of all the old wood shavings or hay.
Step 4:Replace the wood shavings with an inch in depth of new wood shavings or more to make it more comfortable.
How to Groom Your Pet Ferret
Fortunately, ferrets enjoy being groomed and do not make a fuss while you groom them. Keep them on your lap and hold them under their front legs. Use a grooming brush or mitt to brush their fur gently.
Although you will find that ferrets enjoy being groomed, it is advisable to keep baths to a minimum. They are innately clean animals and clean their coat in the same manner as cats. Frequent bathing will strip their fur of natural oils and make them smellier when their skin is dry.
Use fur animal shampoos and conditioners on them during the bath.
How to Maintain Their Health
Healthy ferret should have bright eyes and shiny, full fur coat. Their eyes, nose, mouth and rear side should not have any redness or swelling. They cannot have long nails so you should cut them regularly.
Additional Things You Need to Know
Here are some of the thing that you will do well to know about.
Regular vaccinations and veterinary check-ups are recommended to ensure safe health of ferrets. Generally, they are prone to fleas and heart worms and vaccinations should be used as a precaution. Yearly vaccinations can also save them from risks of canine distemper.
If you do not wish to breed ferrets, it is essential to have them de-sexed before they reach sexual maturity. This can be crucial for female ferrets because once in the mood, they will remain that way unless mated. This may also lead to a uterus condition known as the Pyometra.
Ferrets are of a speculative nature, and so you have to ferret proof your home just like you’d baby proof for your children.
It is wise to wait until your children are over the age of at least 13. This is because younger children may be easily frightened by nips or bared teeth of a ferret and might drop or retaliate, injuring the creature.
4. Dark Space in The Room
While making a cage for your pet, include a darkened space so that they can make themselves a cozy sleeping nest. It’s safer to use heavy ceramic bowls or lock-on bowls and sipper cups while feeding them since they can be very naughty.
5. Sensitive Areas
Similar to us and other animals, ferrets have sensitive eyes and ears. Be careful of these areas when you do need to bathe them. Since their ears tend to get a bit waxy, use a pet sensitive ear cleaner with wool regularly.
6. Hot Weather
These mammals don’t do well in hot weather. If you notice that the temperature has gone up to 27 °C, keep them indoors with a fan or if possible, place ice packs inside their cage.
Always think long and hard before choosing an animal as a pet. Animals, in general, can be a bit difficult to handle and ferrets are no exception. Of course, they are cute little things and will entertain you with their playful antics. If you do decide to get yourself a ferret, get one from a pet shelter.