When someone says “ferret”, most people still have question marks above their heads regarding the ferret itself or some more important detail about them. Some say they are the perfect pets, others say they are high maintenance. To determine in which category you fit, you’ll have to know a thing or two about ferrets. They might be unusual pets, but when you get to know them they will steal your heart almost immediately. Ferrets are little fuzzy predators who dook, dance, hoard and sleep all the time. If you raised your eyebrow reading the last sentence, then you are at the right place, because we’ll talk about ferrets. I can talk about ferrets forever and to avoid that 😀 I have made main categories of ferret’s life. Under each category are related posts from my blog and with each title you can learn more about the specific subject.
WHAT IS A FERRET?
A what? A ferret? Is that like, a rat?
Carpetshark, limousine mouse, catsnake a.k.a. the ferret is a mammal from Mustelidae family, meaning it is in relation with otters, weasels, wolverines, stoats and skunks. It may not seem like a typical pet, but ferrets are domesticated and they aren’t capable of surviving in the wild alone. You can recognize the it by its long and slim body, short legs and their small size. Its length is about 50 cm including 12 cm long tail. Male ferrets are twice the size of female, weighing about 2 kg (with a female about 1 kg). Most people connect ferrets with rats and other rodents, probably due to their size and appearance. Well, appearance can be wrong. Ferrets are actually obligate carnivores and they feed on rodents, rabbits and small birds.
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Common ferret behavior
They hold a record among pets in hours of sleeping during the day with more than 20 hours of sleep every day. But, don’t get me wrong, they may sleep a lot, but they aren’t caged animals. Ferrets require about 4 hours during the day out of the cage so they can exercise and spend their energy. So, when they aren’t sleeping or eating, they are running around. They are known for their famous war dance – jumping, running into things, acting all crazy! When the excitement is through the roof they will produce a sound called dooking.
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Ferret history and domestication
Like cats and dogs, ferrets started their journey with humans like working animals. They used to hunt rabbits and rats and they are by human’s side for 2,500 years now. Their actual place of origin is unclear but they are considered to live in ancient Greece, among other places. Only during last few hundred years, their popularity as a pet has grown. The main proof of their domestication is that ferrets can’t survive on their own in the wild.
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Why are ferrets illegal in some countries?
Even though ferrets are considered domesticated, they are illegal in some countries across the world. They are considered illegal in the USA in California, Hawaii, District of Columbia and New York City. Among European countries, Portugal is the last one with the ban on them, but it is a matter of time when they will be 100% legal even there. Australia and New Zealand are another stories. In Australia, they are banned in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and whole New Zealand. In other states, owners must meet many requirements before he can get him as a pet. Reasons for that are outdated and wrong and most ferret lovers are fighting against that law which bans ferrets as pets.
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INTERESTING FERRET FACTS
- Latin name for the ferret is ruffly translated as furry little thief, which suits them good because ferrets are known for stashing stuff like keys, slippers and other small things under the couch
- Baby ferrets are called kits, female ferrets jills and male ferrets hobbs. If you have a group of ferrets you can call them a ferret business.
- When the ferret is exploring an unknown area its fur puffs to make it look bigger. The best way to see the puffiness is on the tail and that is called bottle brush tail.
- Ferrets are known for their ability to get in trouble so you will have to ferretproof your home. Simply it means to make your home safe for your fuzzy.
- You mustn’t bathe your ferret more than 3 or 4 times a year. Too often bathing can make their skin too dry, which is very itchy and scratchy.
- In the past ferrets dragged wires through tunnels in many facilities and they were really hard working animals.
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LIFE WITH A FERET AS PET
Is the ferret a good pet for you?
Even though they do have unique nutrition needs, ferrets are becoming more and more popular as pets. In the pet category, they are right in the middle of cats and dogs by their personality. They are not as high maintenance as dogs (mostly I mean about taking your dog for a walk 3 times a day) and they aren’t as antisocial as cats. Ferrets can be attached to their owners very much, so if you plan to have a low maintenance pet, look again. If ferrets are that awesome, why are there so little information about them? Because they are still rather unknown as pets, but we will change that. 🙂
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How and where to get a ferret?
The best thing to do if you want to get the ferret is to contact your local pet or ferret shelter and ask for the recommendation. There are too many unprofessional breeders which are having ferret farms and those must be avoided. Unprofessional breeders breed ferrets too often with similar genes and those ferrets can get illnesses like insulinoma or adrenal at a young age. The best thing you can do is to adopt the it from a shelter where you can find young and old ferrets. Everyone deserves a second chance.
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What do you need for a ferret
Before getting the ferret you must see what do you need out of equipment. For example, when you can’t be with your ferret it has to be in a cage with available water and food. When you are playing with your ferret great thing is to have many toys and tunnels because ferrets love to interact with their owners. When you are traveling with the ferret, a transporter is a great solution and when you are going for a walk, put your ferret on a leash and go with it!
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Best nutrition for ferrets
Ferrets are the most adorable beasts. They should eat raw meat, whole prey or high-quality kibble if you can’t feed them with raw. They have a very specific digestive system which doesn’t provide them the ability to digest fibers from plants. So, meat, bones, and organs are the best food for them. If you can’t feed them raw meat, there are few premium kibbles for cats but there are some requirements they must meet. Not every kibble on the market is a good ferret kibble. The most important thing for a kibble is to have on the list of ingredients first 3 ingredients meat (chicken, lamb, turkey…) without any grain in the kibble.
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Health in ferrets
Since ferrets are unknown as pets, people don’t know how to handle them and that is why it is extremely important to find a good veterinarian who has experience with ferrets. They aren’t generally unhealthy animals, but due to inexperienced owners and veterinarians, they become ill more often. Young female ferrets must be spayed or they can develop aplastic anemia if you don’t intend to breed it. When ferrets come in certain age (about 4 years or more) they become more prone to illnesses like insulinoma, adrenal disease but they can be avoided with proper care and nutrition. When you notice that your ferret is lethargic, vomiting or losing hair, go to the vet because every minute counts with ferrets and their health.
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Playtime is the most important time of day
Ferrets act during their entire life like they are still kits. When they aren’t sleeping, they are running and playing. If you want to bond with your ferret more, play with it. Playing is the best way to interact with your ferret and the more you two interact, your ferret will become attached to you. Many toys like balls, a mouse on a string and tons of boxes mean a great time for the ferret. Every ferret has its own personal best in toys category, a toy with what it can play for hours. But, beware, do not use toys made out of sponge, rubber or very small pieces because ferrets love to chew things and when they swallow small piece it can cause a blockage, which is very dangerous for them. Avoid that kind of toys and check toys on weekly basis and you will have no worries. If your ferret got bored with its toys, just put them away for few weeks and after a while, bring them out. Your ferret will be so excited like every toy is completely new! If you have the time and the energy there are many toys which you can do it yourself. All you need for them is an idea, will and stuff that your ferrets love.
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Can you train a ferret?
Yes, you can. I don’t consider litter training a true training because ferrets are clean animals and when they figure out what a litter is for they will do it there, usually pretty quickly. I am talking about more challenging training. When a young ferret comes to you, if it hasn’t been properly taken care of, it will bite and you have to teach it not to bite. They don’t bite out of fear and they don’t want to hurt you, they are just like puppies and kittens, they need to learn. Ferrets can also learn tricks. Roll over, high 5, Bang, jump, every ferret can learn a trick with proper motivation. 🙂
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Events & shows
If you want to spend some time with other ferret lovers and share your experience you can do that on many ferret shows and events in your area. Ferret shows can vary from big international ferret shows to small local shows. There are also the ferret Olympics or just regular get together in your city. Ferret lovers love to hang together and let their fuzzies play. It is really an awesome experience to talk with another ferret owner in person.
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Why is important to do your homework?
Before getting a ferret, learn more about them because their nutrition I have talked about is just a little part of their interesting life. When you learn about them, they aren’t that complicated to have, all you need to do is to prepare yourself. Ferrets can live up to 12 years and when you are planning to get a pet you are planning to make a commitment for more than just one or two years. When you get to know them you will know that they are all worth it. 😉
And that is why Friendly Ferret is here. Here you can find out everything you want to know about ferrets. Their nutrition, behavior, which games to play, how to teach, how to introduce… Friendly Ferret site is here to provide you correct information about ferrets as pets, products made especially for them and products made for ferret lovers. Friendly ferret is made for all ferret lovers and their adorable pets. This is the best place for you and your ferret because they are an inspiration and loveable companions in Friendly Ferret. Since ferrets are getting more and more popular, we have to raise awareness about them, because they aren’t ordinary pets.
Writes Friendly Ferret blog for 3 years now and learnes about ferrets for 6 years. Her source of inspiration are two ferrets, energetcic Yoda and ladylike Frida. Read about adventures of Anja, Frida and Yoda on Friendly Ferret blog.
Frida is a 4 year old sable ferret and the first ferret that came into Anja’s life. She is the ultimate boss in the huse, if she wants to cuddle – It’s cuddle time! If she wants to play – It’s play time! But, who could resist this cute face? We know, we can’t.
Energetic bomb – jumper is what is Yoda all about. He is only 4 months old and he’s favorite hobby is eating so we expect to have a big boy when he grows up. He is a reall smart-ass jumper who thinks that floor is lava so he jumps from one place to another.
WHAT ARE FRIENDLY FERRET GOALS?
Read our Friendly Ferret blog to learn about ferrets behavior, habits, health concerns, food diet and much more here. Ebook about my first Friendly Ferret is almost here!
Ferrets are big sleepers who love to cuddle up in something soft and warm. Because of that, hammocks are on the top of the wish list of every ferret and we know that. That is why are making great quality, warm and comfy products for ferrets.
It doesn’t matter if you have one ferret, more ferrets or you are just planning to get one, ferret fan products are good choice for every ferret lover and enthusiast. Check out our hoodies, Tshirts and more in our ferretastick webshop.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH FIRENDLY FERRET!
Feel free to ask whatever you want and we will be more than happy to help you. Contact us for inquires, suggestions, questions or support on contact form or ditectily on e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by contact form.