Ferret Sleeping 101: How And Where Do Ferrets Sleep?


Have you ever wondered how much do ferrets sleep?

Why do ferrets sleep so much?

Ferrets are known as big sleepers, there is even a term ferret dead sleep. So, if you want to know more about how, where, when, and why do ferrets sleep? Then continue reading because this is my topic of the day. I will explain to you what a ferret dead sleep is, where they sleep and how many hours is normal to sleep in the ferret world.

How Much Do Ferrets Sleep?

Every day in a ferret’s life consists mostly of sleeping. That is reasonable since they sleep around 16 hours a day. They don’t sleep 16 hours straight, they have “awake” periods. Those periods are in a similar schedule every day, there are about 6 hours of sleep between about 1 hour or two of playtime.

yoda ferret sleeping

The best time for a ferret to run around is at dusk or at dawn. That is their natural “active time”, which means you don’t have to worry that your ferret will keep you up at night. They are sleeping at night. Actually, they prefer a dark environment for sleep.

Why Do Ferrets Sleep So Much?

That is part of their nature. Since they are mostly awake at dawn and at dusk, their sleeping schedule adjusted to the time period for dusk and dawn. Also, let’s not forget the energy they spend running around and playing when they are awake.

Kits Are Biggest Sleepers

The biggest sleepers in the ferret world are kits. Baby ferrets sleep 20-22 hours a day, they are mostly awake to eat and poop. Young ferrets, on the other hand, are much more active. They are curious, they have high energy levels and they don’t want to go to sleep, they want to explore.

why do ferrets sleep so much

Once a ferret exits that curious phase (becomes an adult ferret) it calms down and starts sleeping 16-18 hours a day. It is still crazy playful when awake, the only difference is that it is sleeping more. Also, male ferrets are considered bigger sleepers than female ferrets.

What If Ferret Sleeps More Than Usual?

Too much sleep is one of the most common symptoms (next to the loss of appetite) for many ferret illnesses. If you catch your ferret sleeping more than usual, it can be a symptom, but only if it comes in pair with some other symptom (like loss of appetite or loss of weight, vomiting, diarrhea….) If that is the case, the best for your ferret is to go straight to the vet.

What Is Ferret Dead Sleep?

Ferret dead sleep occurs when a ferret sleeps so deep it looks like it is dead. You can grab it, hold it, kiss it and it won’t move a muscle. You will feel like you have a doll in your hands because the ferret will be completely relaxed.  We don’t know why does a ferret deep sleep happens but we do know it is normal.

Check The Breathing

Sometimes people will assume that their ferret died because of the dead sleep. So, before you start panicking, check whether your ferret is breathing. Look at the chest and you will notice shallow breathing.

a ferret dead sleep

If you want to wake the ferret up, do it gently. It will take time, you can stroke it and try to wake it up with your voice but eventually, you will do it. Don’t do any sudden movements, don’t yell, and don’t toss your ferret around. That is not an option.

Should Ferrets Sleep In The Dark?

Ferrets sleeping should happen in the dark throughout the entire day and night. It is very healthy for ferrets to be in the dark for about 12 hours a day during the winter. During the summer it is a shorter period, about 8 hours because the days are longer.

Keeps Your Ferret Healthy

Ferret’s reproductive cycle and daylight are connected. If your ferret is spayed/neutered its body will still react to the daylight and it will send reproductive hormones to the adrenal glands just like it is preparing to be in heat. When a ferret is sleeping in the light, the body notices the differences. Their time for mating is in spring, so if they are constantly in the light, their body will think it is springtime – time for reproductive hormones to work hard which leads to overstimulating adrenal glands and eventually to adrenal disease.

how much does a ferret sleep

Due to that, it is best to keep your ferrets in the dark, especially during nighttime. They don’t need lights during the night.  It is always a good thing to give your ferret an option to sleep in the hammock in the dark, or even better, make a cover for the cage when you want to put your ferret in the dark. That way if you see that your ferrets are sleeping in the cage, you can easily cover the cage to remove them from the light.

Where Do Ferrets Sleep?

Once a ferret is tired, a ferret goes to sleep. Thanks to its deep sleep, a ferret can sleep almost anywhere. That doesn’t mean you should let it sleep under the couch or in the drawer. It means you should give your ferret a few comfortable sleeping spots all over the cage and out of it. So, let’s talk about what do ferrets like to sleep in and what should you provide them.

Where Do Ferrets Sleep In The Cage?

The most popular option for sleeping in a cage is a ferret hammock. You can hang a hammock inside the cage and your ferret will climb in it to sleep. Now, why do ferrets like hammocks? Probably because they are comfortable.

why do ferrets sleep so much

There are numerous hammock designs and I recommend the closed ones because there is dark even during the day. As I have already mentioned, ferrets love to sleep in the dark and a closed hammock allows them just that. They can tuck in, be comfortable and be in the dark.

If you have opened hammocks, don’t worry. You can easily cover the entire cage with fabric so the cage will stay in the dark even during the daytime. That way you can give your ferret peace for sleeping, separate it from the rest of the awake world and keep them in the dark.

Where Do Ferrets Sleep Out Of The Cage?

Ferrets are burrowing animals and they want to sleep in dark and hidden places so you can see unusual sleeping choices aren’t that weird when you think about it this way. Their instincts are working when they are looking for a place to sleep. That is why we can find them in drawers, under the couch, in the laundry pile, etc.

But, those places are not good ferret sleeping places. You can accidentally step or sit on your ferret and hurt it in those places because you didn’t check where he is sleeping. That is why it is your task to make similar piles around the room to keep them away from laundry piles and couches.

what do ferrets sleep in

Grab one of the hammocks or blankets from the cage and put it somewhere safe. Put a box under the desk, in a corner of the room, and place the hammock there. If your ferret already has a drawer for that, use that one, but don’t give your ferret a drawer if he isn’t using it. The same thing you can do with a laundry box, a shelf, etc. Remember that those places are reserved for ferrets and make sure every family member knows that. Avoid those places so you don’t hurt your ferret.

A good idea is to place a ferret in the cage once it is asleep so you don’t have to worry about where is your ferret sleeping.

Can Ferrets Sleep In Bed With You?

There isn’t a right answer to this question because it depends on the owner. You can let your ferret sleep with you on the bed. It is extremely adorable to snuggle your little fuzzy the entire night, but I wouldn’t recommend that. I am a little paranoid I will hurt my ferrets when I roll in the bed and squeeze them.

can ferrets sleep with you

Keep in mind that ferret’s sleeping period is about 6 hours with waking up for eating, going to the bathroom, or simply playing. If your bed is too high and your ferret can’t go to the litter, you could wake up with a surprise between the sheets. In the second case, if your ferret wants to play during the night, it will nip and scratch you until you wake up and play with him.

Should You Hold Ferrets In The Cage During Night?

I am holding ferrets in the cage during the night and I will probably continue doing that forever. I would strongly recommend that to every ferret owner because you can’t monitor them. Each day ferrets find a way to make a mess. If they do that while you are sleeping, something can go wrong and you won’t be able to intervene. Also, it is not a pretty picture waking up to a broken plant, shredded toilet paper, etc.

Should You Hold Ferrets In The Cage During Night

On the other hand, if everything is in order and they can’t make a mess, there is one thing you should think about. If you’ve left some fabric or bags on the floor for ferrets to play with, they can go inside to sleep. When you wake up, you don’t think about things on the floor, you are walking to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. So, you walk without looking where you step and you might accidentally step on your ferret. Most ferrets can’t recover from that which means it ends up fatal for them. That is something you can avoid at all costs and simply by closing them in a cage during the night.

How To Get A Ferret To Sleep?

Just like any other living being, ferrets will sleep when they are tired. That means there isn’t any magic trick you can do to make your ferret sleep. But, what you can do is play with your ferret. Run around and your ferret will run with you. Play with toys on strings, toss some balls around the room and drain the energy.

How To Get A Ferret To Sleep

After few mischief minutes, you can be sure that you will be able to grab your ferret, place it in the lap and start cuddling. A few minutes later you will have a sleeping ferret in your lap.


Now that you know how much do ferrets sleep and why you can adjust your needs to your ferret needs. Make sure that every sleeping spot is safe for your ferret and keep in mind that they love to burrow in many layers. If you have any videos or photos of ferret dead sleep, feel free to share them with us!

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Anja Delic
Anja is a Friendly Ferret owner and a ferret parent who is involved in the ferret world for more than 10 years. She started her Friendly Ferret blog when she got her first ferret Frida 8 years ago. In 2013, Friendly Ferret was recognized as a great source of information and it has become a good ferret brand for education, products, and fun. Since then, Anja was a part in many ferrets shows as a sponsor and as a judge, and she met many great and interesting people who share the same passion as her - ferrets. Anja is always opened for suggestions and advice, so if you have something to ask or say about ferrets, feel free to contact her on Instagram, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or support@friendlyferret.com