Are you looking forward to adopting your first pet and you thought about something a little more exotic, like a ferret? Here is everything you should know about these animals and how to properly look after them, including how to choose the perfect ferret cages.
Ferrets are inquisitive, playful, and overall adorable, but are they really the pets you want in your house? For such small creatures, they surely are extremely demanding and you’re going to spend all your spare time trying to care for them and train them the best way you can.
What are the costs?
The first thing you should think about when you plan on expanding your family with a new pet is how much you are going to pay for it, especially in the long term.
Unlike rodents that are low-maintenance, ferrets are more complicated beings that have special needs. If you plan on adopting one from a shelter, you’re obviously not going to pay for it but if you think about buying one from the pet store, prepare to pay up to 300 dollars.
Other long-term costs you should consider include food, cages and shelters, bedding, grooming products, collars, vaccines, and potential visits to the veterinarian once in a while.
How do ferrets interact with your family members?
Although they are social creatures, these mammals may not be the best option for your family, especially if you have small children. Caving into your kid’s requests of getting a new pet is something bound to happen at a certain point, but not all pets require the same amount of care.
In other words, if you’re trying to teach your child how to be more responsible or hope to make him or her socialize more, perhaps you should start with some small rodents, like mice or hamsters. They don’t require too much space or pampering, so they’re perfect for preschoolers.
As for ferrets, the older your child, the better. Keep in mind that these adorable animals have a rather mischievous personality and they need someone to teach them discipline. They have a tendency to bite unless properly trained, so they don’t make great companions for young children.
The good news is that they do get along well with cats and dogs, so there is no need to worry about making special arrangements to accommodate all your furry friends.
How much time should you spend with them?
Dogs need constant care, entertainment, and love, whereas cats need their independence and they will mainly ask for your attention whenever they need something.
When it comes to rodents, things may look easier. Most of them will be fine living in cages or small spaces and, since they mainly tend to sleep during the day, they’ll require minimal interaction with their owners.
Ferrets also love sleeping and tend to do so up to 18 hours a day, which shouldn’t make them too high-maintenance, right? Wrong. The rest of the time they spend awake they are very active and require all your attention.
Ferrets are quite demanding and will easily bond with their owners. Specialists say that you ought to try spending at least 4-5 hours a day with your pet and that you shouldn’t leave it in the cage for too long.
What about the smells?
Each animal comes with a certain smell and keeping it inside the house will not make things easier, especially if you’re sensitive to odors. However, with proper caring and cleaning techniques, you can eliminate or, at least, minimize the bad smells coming from your pet.
Ferrets have a specific smell and are known to mark their territories with a smelly fluid. In order to prevent that, you need to neuter both males and females. Females that cannot mate when they are in heat tend to develop anemia and get sick.
Changing their bedding every other day is also a great way to keep away the stinging smells.
Are these animals safe?
Ferrets can become great companions for both adults and children, as long as they learn boundaries and how to properly act inside the house. You shouldn’t expect your new pet to learn its manners in a short period, as ferrets are notoriously curious, intelligent, and disobedient creatures.
However, with proper training and love, these animals will have no problem integrating into their new habitat. Although they’re not generally aggressive, ferrets do have teeth and love playing around and biting.
Thus, we don’t suggest keeping valuable objects in plain sight or where your pet can reach them. This also means protecting any outlets and electrical cords, just like you would do if you were having a toddler wandering inside the house.
Keep in mind that these mammals love jumping and climbing and can do a lot of damage for creatures that don’t spend more than five hours a day awake. We suggest checking some online tutorials about how to properly train your ferret.
What about food?
A general misconception is that ferrets are rodents and, therefore, eat the same food as mice or hamsters. However, ferrets are members of the weasel family and relate to wolverines, otters, skunks, and minks, which makes them carnivorous.
So what do they eat? Just like any other carnivorous animal, they require a high-quality source of proteins to keep their bones strong, teeth sharp, and their fur shiny. They have a quick metabolism and need to eat frequently, so make sure you always have food available.
Generally speaking, ferrets should eat every 3-4 hours, but don’t exaggerate with the portions, unless you want to deal with an overweight pet. You could feed them chicken wings, turkey necks, minced beef, pigeons, rabbit meat, lamb heart, game birds or raw animal bones. They can also eat whole prey like rats or mice.