Ferrets are small members of the weasel family that have been domesticated for more than two thousand years.
These energetic little bundles of curiosity are a big responsibility, often requiring as much, if not more, care than a cat or dog.
There are many benefits of owning ferrets. They are cute, friendly and they make great pets for people who have the time for them.
To make sure that your ferret remains healthy and safe as it rips about through life, though, you need to know a few rules of ferret ownership.
1. Know what you should feed your ferret
Ferrets live on a purely carnivorous diet – their short digestive tracts have no ability to digest plant-based food. While ferrets can eat scraps of plant-based foods, large bites can cause intestinal blockages.
Fruits and vegetables, for instance, can be life-threatening. To make sure that your ferret gets the nutrition it needs, you should discuss the proper diet required with a veterinarian.
Raw foods such as egg and meat are fine, however, Ferrets are not scavengers, so you need to ensure any meat provided for your Ferret is fresh and fit for human consumption.
2. You need to observe your ferret’s habits and familiarize yourself with them
It’s important to know your ferret as well as possible. This is the only way you’ll be able to pick up on changes that indicate a health problem.
If your ferret wakes up later than usual each morning or spends more time up at night than usual, you should be able to recognize that there’s a problem.
3. Be sure to give your ferret the right temperature and humidity levels
Ferrets are unable to take high temperatures – they aren’t built to lose heat through sweating.
Winters can also be dangerous, when the humidity is high. If the heat outside goes above 90°F, you need to make sure to put your ferret in an air-conditioned room indoors. If you don’t have air conditioning, you need to somehow create a cool area for your ferret – say, by putting its cage in the basement.
4. Give your ferret the darkness it needs
Pet ferrets do best when the indoors environment that you give them mimics the natural one outdoors. At the very least, your ferret should have a place where it can go for the cover of darkness, should it feel like it.
5. Make regular visits to the vet
Ferrets need as much veterinary care as dogs, cats and other regular pets do. Unfortunately, not many veterinarians are knowledgeable in ferret medicine. You need to do your research and find such vets. When you find the professional vet, make sure you visit them regularly.
6.Ferret-proof whatever rooms your ferret shouldn’t get into
If you plan to get a ferret, you need to be very careful about ferret-proofing your home. You need to make sure that your ferret has nothing to chew on in the areas that it is allowed in and that it has absolutely no way into the rest of the house.
It’s important never to underestimate how creative a ferret can get trying to find a way into an area of the house that it’s not allowed into.
7. Keep learning
Since ferrets are exotic pets, you won’t find as much information from the resources around you to help you raise them well. You need to be proactive and keep hunting for information.
The better informed you are, the healthier you will be able to raise your ferret. Never stop learning about your ferret, it’s always useful to know something new about your pet.