This week, we’re going to take a break away from discussing dogs and cats and cover another popular pet, the ferret! The ferret is not a wild animal, but a domesticated pet, descended from the European polecat. They are closely related to minks, otters, badgers, and skunks (which are also another fun pet!). Even though they are not considered wild animals, they are still illegal in some places, like California. Ferrets make fantastic pets because they have very engaging personalities and are incredibly playful. They’re like the clown of the pet world! They can learn to get along with cats and dogs, however they have have been known to attack birds and smaller caged pets (such as mice and hamsters), so you must be careful not to allow them access to your feathered friends or little critters.
Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box, as they naturally like to use the same corners for eliminating. Even though they can be descented, they can still have a musky smell, so this is not the pet for people with very sensitive noses. Since they can be very mischievous pets, it’s important that your home be ferret-proofed. They will crawl into small places and chew on wires. It is very common for an owner to lose a ferret only to find them napping in the sock drawer. One thing that any ferret owner will tell you, if you don’t want anything stolen, don’t leave it out! Ferrets are notorious for being little thieves. They will drag away keys, socks, anything they can carry in their mouths! You might find yourself late for work because your ferret decided to add your car keys to their hidden collection.
When they’re not causing mischief, you’ll find them sleeping away the day in their hammocks. It’s not uncommon for a ferret to sleep up to 18 hours a day. They’re naturally more active around dawn and dusk, but can adjust to their owner’s schedule. If you’re thinking about getting a ferret, consider getting two. Ferrets are social creatures and enjoy the company of other ferrets. It’s a lot of fun watching them chase each other through tubes and hop around your home. However, be careful because many owners will tell you that ferrets are like potato chips…You can’t have just one!
If you think that a ferret might be a good fit for you, make sure to do your homework, as they can be up to an 8 year commitment. Check with your veterinarian to be sure they are experienced with exotic animals and consider rescuing an adult before going to a breeder, especially if you have young kids. Baby ferrets, or “kits”, are extra nippy and make a bad match for children. It is important that introductions to all members of the family are done gradually and that both pets and human family members know the proper way to interact with their new furry slinky friend.
For more info on whether ferrets are the pet for you, visit here.
For info on rescuing a ferret, visit here.
If you have a ferret that needs looking after, please contact us! We love all animals, big and small!