Do you know what is a ferret?
What about: what does a ferret look like?
If want to know all about ferrets, then welcome to my educational Friendly Ferret website! Here I will share with you what is a ferret, do ferrets make good pets, can you train them, what do they eat, and every other information about ferrets you can think of! I am a ferret owner for more than a decade and I am researching them for even longer. I am also consulting about them with experienced ferret breeders and veterinarians so if you have any other questions about ferrets, this is the place to be for you!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Is a Ferret?
So, first thing’s first. Do you know what is a ferret? A ferret is a small mammal from a Mustelid family that includes wild animals like polecats, otters, minks, etc. There are many animals like ferrets so I have mentioned only a couple of them. The full list of other animals that look like ferrets read in my post about Ferret-type animals.
You can easily recognize a ferret by its long body and short legs. It is important to say that ferrets are beasts, meaning they are carnivores. Most people find that surprising since an average ferret size is around 14-20 inches, much smaller than an average house cat. Find out more about the ferret’s physical characteristics by reading What does a ferret look like?
Do Ferrets Make Good Pets?
If you are thinking of having a ferret as a pet, then you will be glad to hear that they are very popular pets. Keeping a ferret as a pet is not impossible. Actually, they can be very interesting life companions so this is definitely an idea you can consider. Now, the next question you should be asking yourself is Why are ferrets good pets? To help you with that question, I have made a list of the pros and cons of owning a ferret.
One of the reasons why ferrets are good pets is because ferrets can sleep 16-20 hours a day. Don’t be fooled, once they are awake, they are high-energy pets so you will have fun around them. A thing you should also know about ferrets as pets is that a life expectancy of a ferret is around 5-8 years so you will have a ferret by your side for a long time.
Before you go running to a pet store to buy a ferret, you should know a few things about them, and about having a ferret as a pet. One of the most important things you have to check is the legality of a ferret. Yes, there are countries where ferrets are illegal to keep as pets. The most famous one is the state of California. All the reasons for their legality are listed in Ferret legality in California. If you aren’t from California but you still want to check their status, find out about it in my post Ferret’s legal states.
Taking Care Of A Ferret
Taking care of ferrets as pets is much more than choosing a good ferret diet or a place for them to live. It is also about knowing how they interact, where do they live, where do they sleep, and how to make the best life with them by your side. That is why I am here, to show you everything you should know about them before they enter your life.
What Do Ferrets Eat?
As I have already mentioned, ferrets are carnivores. That means the natural and best ferret diet is raw meat. But, that is not the only option for feeding ferrets. Another type of ferret food you can use is kibble, or also known as dry ferret food. Which one is better? It is up to you to decide and for me to help you with that decision.
When a ferret is eating raw meat nutrition, it eats meat, bones, and organs. That means you should find a trustworthy source of meat that can fit your ferret’s nutritional requirements, as much as your wallet. Your ferret can eat mice, rats, rabbits, chicken, turkey, duck even bigger meat like lamb and beef. You can read more about that in my post about the ferret diet.
The second option for the best ferret diet is kibble and most of the time, it is the best cat food for ferrets. Cats and ferrets have similar nutritional requirements so ferrets can eat cat food. The best cat food for ferrets is actually kitten food for ferrets because it is higher in overall nutrients, but it has to be without fruit and vegetables. There is a lot to learn about picking the best cat food for ferrets and now is the best time to do it.
Treats aren’t food so keep your pet healthy by thinking about ferret treats too. If you want to buy healthy snacks for ferrets, you should go by the same rule as to when picking up the best ferret food. The good thing about ferret treats is that you can have treats for the raw meat diet and for the kibble diet. Check them out in my post about ferret treats.
Do Ferrets Smell?
Ferrets belong in the Mustelidae family, meaning they have a certain musky scent. If you ask ferret owners, you will see that most of them love that smell because it reminds them of nature. But, there are some who can’t get used to it and those persons need to know how to minimize the ferret’s smell.
Not every ferret smells the same and sometimes, the smell can be a sign of a serious medical condition. What happens in the ferret’s body to produce that smell? If you want to know, read my post about Do ferret smell?
Where Do Ferrets Live?
Most ferret owners keep their ferrets in cages during the day when they can’t keep them supervised. Those cages aren’t small, they can be as high as an average human with multiple levels in them. They should come with solid plastic platforms that can’t damage ferret feet and should have good locks on the doors because ferrets are escape artists. What else do they need to have? Read in my detailed guide about the best ferret cages.
Ferrets are very mischievous pets that love exploring so letting them free roam can be dangerous. That means they will end up under your couch, in the drawers of the kitchen cabinets, behind the closets, etc. So, if you want your ferret to free roam, you have to close all holes and small openings, remove plants from the floor, and do other various tiny details you can find by exploring the world of properly ferret proofing your home.
Accessories You Need For A Ferret
Besides a big and sturdy cage, there are other things you need to keep your ferret healthy and entertained. You have to fill that cage with good water and food bowls, hammocks, blankets, and a suitable litter box. Also, you will have to find a good ferret litter to put in the litter box in and out of the cage.
Now that you covered food and hygiene, you also need to think about traveling, entertainment, and grooming like nail clipping or ear cleaning. Sounds too much to remember all of them? Use the list of must-have ferret accessories so you can be sure you got everything covered before a new family member comes into your life.
How Much Do Ferrets Sleep?
Ferrets are big sleepers who love to sleep 16-20 hours a day. They are mostly active during morning and evening so it is a good idea to adjust your life according to that information. If your ferret lives in a cage, it is your duty to let him our twice a day for a couple of hours. An average time spent out of the cage is around two hours in the morning and two in the evening. That is enough to fulfill the ferret’s needs.
When a ferret is sleepy, he will lay down for a nap at that exact moment. So, it is up to you to make sure your ferret has enough comfortable and safe sleeping locations all over your home, no matter whether it is in the cage or out of it. The best thing you can do is to fill the cages with different ferret hammocks and pillows. You can also put a few safe-sleeping spots for them out of the cage. How to do that? Find out by learning more about ferret sleeping habits.
Can You Play With A Ferret?
Ferrets are one of those animals that act like they are babies for the biggest part of their life. Everything around them is a toy, everywhere they go they see a playground. Playing with a ferret is not a hard task because it is fulfilling for both of you. There are numerous games you can play with your ferret and there are even more toys you can use for that.
If you want to achieve the best scenario for you and your new pet, then you have to play with the best toys there are for ferrets. For example, they love tight spaces so a tunnel is a must-have toy for every ferret. On the other hand, sponges are a big NO-NO for ferrets because they can swallow them. What else? Read in my post about the best ferret toys!
Can You Train A Ferret?
You can easily train a dog, but cats aren’t so cooperative. What about ferrets? Well, you will be glad to hear that you can train a ferret to do many things and most of them require some ferret snacks for a bribe. Besides useful training I will mention in the next paragraph, you can also teach your ferret tricks and you can read more about that in my post about ferrets training.
You can teach your ferret to use the litter box or you can make your ferret stop biting. If you want to go on adventures with your ferret you can do that too. Grab a ferret harness and train your ferret to walk on a leash. Those situations are the most common things people train ferrets for.
Can Ferrets Live With Other Pets?
Ferrets love company and they love to play with other ferrets as much as with other pets. The best combinations are ferrets and cats because ferrets love cats and cats tolerate ferrets. Also, most of the time ferrets and dogs are also an OK combination, but it requires a lot of supervision thanks to the dog’s size and nature. You can read more about their relationship in my post about ferrets and dogs.
But, not all pets are suitable to live with ferrets in the same household. For example, ferrets and rodents are not a good combination. Ferrets are beasts and they can hurt other small animals, including rodents. You can find out more about living in a multi-pet household in my post about ferrets and other pets.
All Types Of Ferrets
The most popular ferrets are brown ferrets with dark brown masks around their eyes which makes them look like little thieves. But, that is not the only type. There are white ferrets, black ferrets, and different shades of brown. You can even pick a ferret with shorter or longer fur.
Those different types of ferrets are called sable, albino, DEW, even angora. A ferret’s fur length or color doesn’t affect his personality, so picking up a ferret should be based on your interaction with a ferret and a ferret’s character.
Male Or Female Ferrets
There are a few physical differences between a male and a female ferret. Male ferrets are bigger, while female ferrets have smaller heads. Also, female ferrets are more complicated to handle during the heat cycle since they can’t get out of it on their own. That is why it is very important to neuter your ferret if you don’t plan to breed ferrets.
Other male and female differences are connected to their behavior. For example, female ferrets are usually the dominant ones, while male ferrets are more laid back, we can almost say lazy. But, remember, this is not a rule so focus on the personality of a ferret you want to have by your side, not the gender or the type of fur.
Baby ferrets are called kits and they are high-energy furballs that require attention every second. Most kits bite and don’t use the litter box, but that is not because they are evil, it is because they don’t know it is forbidden to bite others or they don’t know what a litter box is for. So, when you decide on getting ferret kits, make sure you gather all the patience you have to teach them a few things.
If you get a kit from a good breeder, there is a high chance you will get a socialized ferret. That means a kit won’t bite or, if it bites, it will be a gentle nip (that is normal in the ferret world). Most ferret kits go to their new homes when they are at least 3 months old, the perfect time to start exploring the world around them.
Ferrets For Sale
If you are looking to buy a ferret, you have to consider a few things before it. You have to check how much does a ferret cost, where can you buy a ferret, or, if you are interested, think about ferrets for adoption. Those are a few steps you have to investigate before you decide on buying a ferret.
How Much Does A Ferret Cost?
There isn’t one average price of a ferret because this depends on where you plan to buy it, what type of a ferret, and other expenses people often forget to consider. The question How much is a ferret? focuses solely on the pet, but you have to buy everything that pet needs before he comes.
Besides a pet ferret cost, you also have to buy things for a ferret, like a cage and other accessories. Also, you have to add veterinarian expenses into the equation and a bunch of miscellaneous things. It is a good idea to consider every aspect of a ferret’s life in a question: How much does a ferret cost?
Where Can I Buy A Ferret?
The cost of a ferret depends on where you buy it. There are a few options for you to consider, but some of them are better than others. Keep in mind that places with high-quality ferrets hold much higher prices than ones with cheap ferrets. Also, consider that you buy quality in those places. Now, what do I mean by that? Let’s check out.
Pet Shops That Hold Ferrets
The cheapest option is to buy a ferret from a pet store. Pet shops with ferrets buy their ferrets from ferret farms. Ferret farms are places that breed ferrets to sell them. The problem with those farms is that they don’t provide good living conditions for ferrets. Ferrets are crowded, they eat low-quality food and they breed ferrets with similar genetic material.
Those ferrets undergo descenting and neutering before coming to a pet store, which is way too early for them. Pet store employees often don’t have time to deal with ferrets so they aren’t socialized. When you buy a ferret from a pet store, he will probably bite, be smaller than average, and not in the best shape. Those are only a few reasons why you should avoid buying cheap ferrets.
Ferrets From Breeders
The more expensive options are ferrets from private breeders. But, keep in mind that there are good and bad breeders. Bad breeders act very similar to ferret mills. They breed ferrets with similar genetic material and they breed them just to sell them so they can make money. Taking care of a ferret or feeding a ferret with the right food is not their concern.
The better option are breeders that care about their ferrets. Those breeders think about the genetic material, work with kits so they are socialized, and feed their ferrets good quality nutrition. Sometimes it is not that easy to find the difference between those two breeders. Make sure you’ve picked the best possible option so read my post about ferret breeders.
Rescue Ferret From Shelter
The last option you can consider is to take a look at ferrets for adoption. You can do that through a local ferret rescue or through a person who is in need of a ferret rehoming for some reason (doesn’t matter what). Adopting any animal is a great option for you and the animal that has been given a second chance.
Another good thing about adopting is that you can adopt a baby, an adult, or an old ferret. So, how can you do it? There are a few rules you have to respect when looking to adopt a ferret, but that only shows that a person is serious about finding the best home for that ferret.
Wild Ferret Animals
There are many wild ferret animals scattered all over the world. They all belong in the same Mustelid family so they share physical and diet characteristics. But, the most interesting ones (for us) are minks, polecats, and black-footed ferrets.
Black-footed ferrets have a very turbulent history due to human intervention (and not in a good way). They were considered extinct and fortunately, they recovered. It is a long journey for them to exit the “endangered” category and you can read all about that in my black-footed ferret post.
Minks are another interesting ferret-like animals that are around people for different reasons. Unfortunately, people often breed minks for their fur on the farms, but they are far from domesticated animals, unlike ferrets. There are a few other differences between minks and ferrets so make sure you check them out also.
Polecats are the most interesting ferret-like animals because they are very similar to ferrets. There are even some breeders that breed polecats and ferrets. Their offsprings are healthy but more energetic and not that tame as ferrets. Polecats aren’t domesticated so a ferret-polecat hybrid can be wilder than a regular ferret as a pet so they aren’t for inexperienced owners.
How Friendly Ferret Happened?
After ages of researching about ferrets, I’ve decided I was ready for one and I’ve started gathering things I would need. I must admit, I did some wrong choices in the beginning, but it wasn’t because I didn’t know, It was because it was everything I could find. For example, I had a much smaller cage than it should’ve been and I used low-quality kibble. Those were one of the reasons why I decided to make the Friendly Ferret brand.
I have seen so much wrong information online, where people treated ferrets like dogs, but they are nothing alike. Due to that, I entered the ferret community, visited many ferret shows (as a sponsor, writer, guest, and judge) so I can gather experience from ferret owners in different cities and countries.
The main goal of my Friendly Ferret website is to give a detailed education about ferrets with good information to all ferret owners who seek it. You can learn a lot about ferrets simply by reading my posts. If you have doubts or any questions about them, don’t hesitate to send me an email with the question. I am sure you will find your answer in my posts because I covered 90% of the most important ferret information.
My second goal is to develop products that are safe for ferrets. I will develop simple things like hammocks to more complicated ones like cages and dry food. I have had my share of bad ferret products and I will use my experience with those to make the best things for ferrets. It is my wish to keep you and your ferrets happy, healthy, and safe at all times.
So, the first step I can offer you in your journey with a ferret as pet is to help you decide whether a ferret is a good pet for you. You can do that by filling up this questionnaire about your life, your habits and what it means to own a ferret.