For many people, ferrets and rats aren’t very different from one another. After all, they’re both small, furry creatures with whiskers, claws, and beady eyes.
Although ferrets are not rodents, they and other animals similar to them get a terrible reputation as smelly, dirty, disease-ridden animals. But both ferrets and rats are intelligent creatures. In fact, lots of people keep both of these animals as pets.
Today’s question, though, is this: are ferrets smarter than rats? Let’s find out!
When it comes to intelligence, ferrets and rats are quite comparable. Both ferrets and rats can learn tricks, be litter trained, and figure out how to escape from their cages. While their brains are very similar, it’s their personalities that make each stand out in its own right.
You’re probably fairly familiar with the idea of rats as test subjects in scientific settings. There’s a reason for this: Rats are very intelligent and pretty easy to train. While it takes a dedicated trainer to get the most out of a rat, you can teach these smart creatures many things.
Rats can learn a lot of fun tricks if you take the time to work with them. Some of these tricks can include:
- Running mazes
- Playing fetch
- Dropping a ball in a hoop
- Learning their name
- Paw shake
- Standing up
- Jumping through hoops
This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the tricks and games you can teach a rat. Not only will a rat learn its name and respond to it, but it will also form a close emotional bond with its owner and will enjoy learning and playing.
It’s no secret that rats have a negative reputation among the general population. When we think of rats, we think of sewers, garbage, diseases, and filth.
But the truth about pet rats is that they are very clean animals. Rats don’t like to get dirty, so they spend a lot of their time cleaning themselves. They will even groom each other if they’re around other rats.
While you’ll likely find a lot of dropping all over a rat’s cage, that’s about the extent of this animal’s dirtiness.
Ferrets are brilliant animals that have impressive problem-solving capabilities. They also have superb memory retention comparable to dogs and cats, and they have strong emotional intelligence.
Ferrets, which are part of the weasel family and not the rodent family, make excellent pets. Aside from being adorable, these animals are incredibly playful, friendly, and intelligent.
While ferrets are social creatures, most experts recommend keeping them in households only with children six years old or older. Younger children may not understand how to handle a ferret and could provoke a nasty bite or two.
But for the most part, ferrets are loving pets who tend to bond closely with their owners. They love spending time outside of their cage, playing games, and going on walks.
The most important thing is to keep ferrets species-appropriate. Otherwise ferrets can even become depressed.
Just like with rats and dogs, cats, and other animals, you can absolutely train a ferret. One of the best tricks that ferret owners appreciate is this animal’s ability to use a litter box or even a puppy pee pad.
But ferrets can learn other fun tricks as well, including:
- Stand up
- Jump over objects
- Paw shake
- Harness walking
Ferrets respond well to training with treats, so it’s a good idea to have a tasty snack on hand like this one to reward them during training sessions.
Ferrets also respond well to discouraging bad habits, like nipping or scratching furniture. You can train them not to do these by using a firm “No!” and spraying them with water.
Some ferret owners will also use a light hissing noise to discourage mischievous behavior, which is quite common in these playful animals.
Are ferrets smarter than rats? The short answer here is that neither animal is measurably more intelligent than the other.
Both ferrets and rats are very intelligent, trainable animals that make great household pets. While rats may be slightly cleaner than ferrets, ferrets have more energy and are more social.
There are pros and cons to both, but you’ll have fun training either one!