In many ways, ferrets and rats are very similar creatures. They are both very social by nature and prefer to be with at least more than one of their own kind. Furthermore, both ferrets and rats are playful little creatures. They require regular exercise and stimulation, so it’s a good idea that they have plenty of toys!
Due to the many similarities between ferrets and rats, most people would think that they would get along very well with each other. However, you should be warned that this is not the case.
Can ferrets and rats get along?
Ferrets and rats both make really great pets for a variety of people. They are amusing little animals and can be very rewarding to care for. But, just because ferrets and rats both make great companions with humans, that doesn’t mean they make great companions with each other.
In fact, it is almost certain that ferrets and rats will not get along. In their natural habitat in the wild, ferrets are carnivorous predators. They hunt, kill, and eat entire small animals. Those animals include rodents like mice, hamsters and rats. In short, if you attempt to make your ferret and rat get along, there is a very high chance that it will not end well for the rat.
Can domesticated ferrets be taught not to attack rats?
Some domesticated ferrets, though carnivorous, are placed on kibble diets. This means that they will eat pellets of compacted nutrients and meat products. Feeding your ferret kibble is a little bit easier than providing them balanced meals of meat and other necessary proteins such as pork, chicken, and eggs. Many believe that this type of diet helps to domesticate them further and discourages possible aggression.
However, it is important to keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to breed out or domesticate away a ferret’s predatory nature. After all, there is a reason why ferrets are also used as mouse deterrents. Furthermore, it is highly discouraged because it is generally not right to try and change a pet’s nature. Part of being a responsible pet owner is understanding your pet’s needs and providing for them, not attempting to drastically change them.
As such, even if your ferret is passive and cuddly, and subsists off a kibble diet, chances are that it will still attack a rat. Ferrets are predatory and aggressive, despite the fact that they may be perfectly nice to you. It is best to simply never mix ferrets with rats, because the rats will almost always be injured (or worse).
Can I have both ferrets and rats as pets if they are kept separate?
Of course, lovers of small furry critters will find it difficult to limit themselves to one species. Both ferrets and rats are so fun to have as pets that it seems a shame that they don’t get along. However, rest assured that you can still have both ferrets and rats as pets as long as you ensure you are taking the appropriate proactive measures.
If you choose to keep ferrets and rats as pets in your household, you will need to make sure that you keep them completely separate. In fact, they should be as far away from each other as possible. If you can keep your rats in one room and ferrets in another, that is ideal. It’s even better if the separate rooms are on different floors of the house, if possible.
The reason that you want to ensure your ferrets and rats are as far apart as possible is because ferrets are so naturally predatory that, if they get any hint that there are little rodents to hunt down in the house, they will use their cunning and intelligence to try and sneak out of their designated space to go try and make a snack out of the rats.
The same applies to other animals that are classic prey for ferrets. These include birds as well as backyard chickens and even hamsters.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to understand is that your ferret will not get along with rats. In fact, chances are that they will even try to hunt and kill the rats, if given the opportunity. Thus, if you want to have both pet ferrets and pet rats in the same house, you must do everything you can to ensure they will remain separate.