10 Things You Need to Know Before You Get Ferrets
We are so excited to announce our two new family members! When Rebecca and I saw some ferrets at our local pet store, we knew we wanted to have some. However, we weren’t going to do an impulse buy on an animal, that is a big no no. So instead, Rebecca and I did our research on ferrets for a couple of hours before we decided we were going to be ferret owners.
These are the 10 things we learned about ferrets that everyone should know before being a ferret owner.
Ferrets Will Smell If Not Cleaned Regularly
Most people will tell you that ferrets smell. Well, all animals smell, even us humans! I find the musky smell to be very interesting and not too bad. However, it can quickly get overwhelming if you don’t clean up after them! Read how to reduce ferret smell for some in depth tips!
The ferret poop should be cleaned up two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, and the litter should be cleaned once a week. The first night we had Shiro and Kodiak, we did not clean there litter box. It stank in the morning!
You should also bathe your ferret once a month to reduce stinky-ness. Don’t do it too often, this can irritate their skin and actually make the smell worse (as they produce more oils to make up for it). It can also cause your ferret to scratch with skin irritation.
If you get male ferrets, they will smell more than their female counter parts. Sorry boys.
Lastly, there is some odor be gone you can get from your pet store that you put in the ferret’s water. This will help their poops not smell as much.
If you ferret still stinks too much, try having some basil or lavender plant near the cages. Make sure your ferret can’t get to it, but it will help mask the smell. Don’t use perfume, cologne or other sprays on your ferret as this will irritate their sensitive skin.
Ferrets Can Be Potty Trained
Thank goodness! That means that your ferret can run around your room while you watch them be completely adorable!
They tend to poop in corners, so make sure your litter box is in a corner and that your ferret knows where it is. Also, do not use regular cat litter for your ferrets, especially the clay litter. This can cause major breathing issues in your furry friend, which you don’t want!
Right before a ferret is about to go, they will lift their tale and give you an evil look. Don’t scold your ferret as they don’t know any better, but show them where the litter box is (and put their poop in it for future reference.
If you need help (our ferrets came pre-potty trained!), check out this YouTube Video.
Ferrets Are Born Biting, and Can Be Trained Not to Bite
This is good to know. Ferrets do bite when they are little, and it is a habit that they usually grow out of. You still want to train your ferret not to bite though. They do have powerful jaws and can break your finger bones!
If your ferret is biting you, do not hit it or scold. Instead, pick it up by the scruff (as mom cats do with their kittens), and if they are getting even more aggressive, pin them to the ground with their scruff for a few seconds. This is what ferrets naturally do with each other if one ferret is getting to wild for the other.
I also use this trick if I don’t want them doing something, like walking on my computer. It is amazing how quickly they learn!
Ferrets Are Generally Low Cost
If you go to a pet store, you may think ferrets are expensive. Yes, they are more expensive than my $0.17 goldfish. However, they do not have to cost you the $160 that they sell baby ferrets for.
There can be many ferrets up for adoption in your area. Check craigslist to see if there are any ferrets available, or google for a ferret rescue shelter. Unfortunately there are many people who buy pets without considering the cost or upkeep.
We purchased our two ferrets, along with their cage, some toys, shampoo and food for $100.
Once you have your ferrets, upkeep is fairly cheap. For shampoo, food and litter, you can expect to pay about $20 each month. Of course, that is assuming you don’t spoil your furry friends with treats, toys, playpens, leashes and the like!
Ferrets Don’t Do Well in the Heat
This is very good to know if you live in a place like Arizona. Ferrets are northern creatures and can easily get heat stroke. Make sure that your ferret has plenty of water and is not in a hot place. For this reason we do not keep our ferrets outside.
Ferrets Are Very Playful and Full of Energy
Wow, do ferrets love to play! There are some great videos of ferrets jumping about, playing with each other, in the garden, and the like. When you do let your ferret out to play, make sure that your room is ferret proof. You don’t want them picking up anything small on the floor or getting stuck in a place they shouldn’t be in.
They are also extremely fast when they want to be. Make sure you keep a close eye on your ferret!
Ferrets Have Strict Diets
I have even heard of some ferret food not being the best for ferrets (which is something I’m still looking into.) But ferrets cannot eat human food, dog food, or cat food, so be very, very careful what you feed your ferret! If your ferret eats something that doesn’t agree with him, it can back up his digestive system. Not a good thing!
Ferrets Tend to Get Sick
My gals seem to be ok for the moment. But everything I’ve read about ferrets, since they have been domesticated and bred for so long, they do tend to have health issues. It may be because of what they eat, but they are also very sensitive. To the point that if you have a cold or the flu, stay away from your ferret! They could catch it.
Ferrets should be taken to the vet regularly for check ups and their shots. Definitely take your ferret to the vet if he or she is showing signs of sickness.
Ferrets Love to Burrow
It is so much fun to watch these gals burrow. The love towels and plastic bags (make sure you watch your ferret and that they can breathe!) Today they got a pair of boxer briefs we were going to donate. It is their new favorite item. To the point that they are sleeping on it!
They will burrow in your garden, in your bed, up your sleeve! Wherever they can find space to go, they will go. So watch out and have fun!
Ferrets Sleep a Lot
Ferrets tend to sleep 14 hours or more a day. And boy are they adorable when they do sleep! We played with our gals for about two hours this morning. This afternoon, I asked them if they wanted to play. Nope mama, we are sleeping!
The best thing about your ferrets sleeping is the positions they get themselves into. It doesn’t look comfortable, but they sure seem fine with it!
We are so excited about our new family members. We are also very glad we did our research before adopting them, and knew what we are getting into. As with any pet, it takes a commitment.
Do you have any questions about ferrets? What did you wish you knew before you got your furry friends?