Ferrets are domesticated animals that have been helping humans and living as pets for over 2,500 years. Ancestors first used these tiny creatures to help hunt rabbits and control the rodent population. As time went on, they became part of a common pet in many homes around the world. But are ferrets easy pets?
If you are considering adopting a ferret, knowing everything they require for a happy and healthy life is critical. Some elements can determine if a ferret is a suitable pet for you.
Some pet owners seek out animals that will suit their lifestyle, whether sedentary or regularly active. Many individuals will like how small ferrets are and how easy they appear to be. Before adopting any animal, knowing their needs can help you decide if a ferret is the best fit for your home.
Their enclosure will take up space since they should have more than one floor to explore and play. These cages can be expensive and are not small enough to sit in a corner and be forgotten. You will also have to supervise them when they run free as they can get into quite a bit of trouble due to their curious nature.
Ferrets are not just cute pocket pets that require care and maintenance, just like other pets like dogs or cats. Ferrets can live five to ten years or more, so they are a more considerable commitment than other small cage habitat pets.
If you have never owned a ferret before, you may have reservations about what type of habitat they need, how much their daily food will cost, and if they require things like toys or special visits to the vet. You may wonder: Are ferrets low maintenance?
Ferrets can be an excellent companion for many people, even beginner handlers. As long as you are thorough in providing everything your pet needs during its life, these small creatures can be friendly and loving. When determining if they are low maintenance, these pets will fall more to the high maintenance side due to their social and exercise needs.
These animals are naturally quiet, so you do not have to worry about barking or crying when you leave them home alone. They are intelligent and curious, so they can benefit from toys and items that challenge their attention. They bond well with their owners and will seek out attention from you.
When it comes to maintenance and care, your ferret will be most active in the morning and evening hours. They will need to be out of their habitat at least once per day to play and interact with you. This free time is also essential to provide the exercise they need to avoid obesity and related health conditions.
Ferrets can be litter trained, similar to cats, and they are generally clean animals. They will groom themselves often and shed twice a year. During these shedding seasons, regular brushing and additional grooming can help minimize the hair in your home.
Ferrets do not need a bath often. If they are bathed too frequently, their musky odor can become stronger rather than lighter. A bath every month or two will be sufficient for your pet. While some people associate a ferret’s smell with cleanliness, that is not the case.
One consideration when it comes to these little animals is that they are susceptible to hairballs, much like cats. They will require regular hairball remedies to help minimize any issues. Some other necessities your pet ferret needs to stay clean and healthy in its habitat include:
- Escape-proof cage
- Hammocks to sleep in
- Tunnels or pipes
- Caves or igloos for hiding
- High-quality litter that does not clump and litter box (pee pads are an alternative for tricky locations)
- Food and water dishes
- Collar and leash
- Transportation carrier
- Special shampoo (but baby shampoo works too)
- Ferret toothbrush and toothpaste
- Nail trimmer
- Newspaper for cage substrate
With a clean and organized habitat, your pet ferret will remain healthy and happy throughout its life.
Before you take the plunge and bring home a new pet ferret, you should consider some of these elements. Adopting a pet is a commitment and should not be taken lightly.
- Ferrets are naturally predatory and may not live well in a home with other small creatures, such as hamsters, mice, or others.
- Young children may not have the capacity to handle a ferret gently, causing harm or having the pet bite them during interactions.
- Ferrets require annual veterinarian checkups and medication for heartworm disease.
- They need exercise out of their habitat cage every day or they can become depressed.
- They eat meat and cannot digest fruits and vegetables like avocado.
- Ferrets may still carry an odor even if they are de-scented.
- They will chew on everything, and some preventative proofing measures should be in place during their free time in the home.
- Owning a ferret is a long-term commitment of five to ten years.
- Some ferrets have a longer coat of hair, which requires more grooming.
- They will require time for training to ensure they are socialized and adapt to your home.
- Between the special food and toys along with regular veterinarian checkups, a ferret can be costly.
It is critical that you explore all of the elements of owning a ferret before choosing to bring one home as a pet.
Ferrets have been in homes as pets for many years and can be excellent companions. They are smart and love to play and cuddle with their owners. You can even find them in different colors for a unique pet.
Any responsible pet owner should research what their animal will need on a regular basis, including food and daily care, while planning ahead for annual vet visits and emergency care. Ferrets are not the easiest pets to own, but if you are aware of their requirements, their needs are simple, and you are sure to provide them with everything for a long, healthy, and happy life.