Ferrets are very social animals and should be kept in compatible pairs or groups. In the wild, ferrets are predators, so don’t mix your ferrets with any other small species of animal.
Are ferrets aggressive
Ferrets must be taught not to nip or bite. A domestically bred ferret will usually not be vicious or aggressive, but it is in its nature to enjoy games that simulate hunting, tug-of-war, chasing, or mock combat.
A young ferret will not understand what hurts you and what doesn’t hurt you until you communicate the boundaries. Some ferrets do respond to fear, pain, or to certain noises or actions by biting.
Desexing your ferret is vital. This is particularly important for female ferrets, who remain on heat until they mate. Not desexing your ferret can lead to complications including anemia and ovarian cancer, which can be fatal. It can be performed from the age of four to six months old.
Just like with every other pet, ferrets have their own set of potential health issues and should be examined by a vet regularly. The exact recommendations are annual check-ups up until 5 years of age, and then every 6 months after that. Vaccines are highly recommended, specifically for rabies and distemper.
They are also a pretty high risk for fleas and should always be treated with a monthly preventive. Speak to your veterinarian about the best choice for your ferret. It is very important for ferrets to be spayed and neutered before reaching sexual maturity, which can be anytime between 6-12 months.
This is especially crucial for females because once they are in heat, they stay in heat until mated, which can lead to a few different fatal conditions like pyometra and aplastic anemia. Fortunately, as mentioned earlier, almost all ferrets you find in North America have already been altered at a young age.
Ferrets are strict carnivores which means that they must have animal protein and products in their diet in order to survive. They need a diet that is high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates and fiber. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your ferrets have a balanced diet.
To ensure your ferret stays happy and healthy, you should feed him:
- High-quality commercial ferret food or high-quality commercial dry kitten food
- Human-grade raw meaty bones each week. These will help keep his teeth clean and provide behavioural enrichment. Talk to your veterinarian first. Raw meaty bones must always be raw and must be large enough so that he cannot fit an entire bone in his mouth or swallow it whole. Never feed your ferret cooked bones. Make sure your ferret is passing stools normally and there is no constipation.
You can also occasionally give your ferret very small amounts of fruits and vegetables as treats. These must be soft and easily digestible (such as melon and pears) and only offered in minute quantities on occasion.
Never feed your ferret the following:
- Chewing gum
- Milk and milk-based products, such as cheese and ice cream
Even though ferrets are naturally clean animals, they are very well known for their musky odor. No matter how many times you bathe a ferret, the odor will never completely go away. This scent is much worse in unneutered ferrets. They also have a pair of anal glands similar to cats and dogs, with very strong-smelling secretions.
They rarely express these anal glands unless very scared and the scent often goes away after a few minutes. Bathing should be kept to a minimum – at most, once or twice a month. Bathing a ferret will strip its skin and coat of all of the natural (mildly stinky) oils, which will cause the body to overcompensate and keep producing more and more.
Basically, over-bathing a ferret can cause its odor to get even worse. They usually do a pretty good job of cleaning themselves much like a cat.
Toys for Ferrets
Ferrets love to play, so be sure to provide lots of toys in lots of variety for them. The more that they have to do, the less mischief they will be inclined to find. (If you don’t provide a toy, they’ll find or make one!) And, you will delight in watching them at play. Most cat toys are great for ferrets, but ferrets are harder on them than a cat would be.
They chew more vigorously, and foam or rubber, or small parts can get lodged in their windpipes or cause intestinal blockage. Be sure to buy toys that are durable. Specially made ferret tunnels, hammocks, and swings are also great favorites and will provide hours of amusement.
A ferret is a demanding pet for a child, requiring careful adult supervision and the maturity of the child. The child must be able to recognize that a ferret behaves differently from a dog, cat, or other pet. The child must also be old enough to handle the responsibility of caring for the ferret.
Ferrets are not recommended for a household with children younger than 6 or 7 years, and especially close supervision would be required around infants or babies. Because they are natural hunters, ferrets usually can’t be trained to get along with birds, fish, rabbits, rodents, or lizards.
If you have these animals in your home, you will need to provide vigilant supervision at all times. But ferrets can generally be trained to get along with cats and dogs.