Ferret Dead Sleep - Dead or Asleep?

Ferret sleeping

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The first time I ever experienced this crazy ferret behavior (the Ferret Dead Sleep, Dead Ferret Sleep or DFS) I absolutely freaked out and started crying because I thought Bear was dead!!!

We were shaking him and calling his name, yet all he did was lie limply in our hands.

I was not prepared to lose another ferret as we had lost two previous ferrets under very unfortunate circumstances. I was panicking, crying and started to blame my partner when suddenly…two sleepy little eyes opened and the sleeping prince awoke. Phhhheeewwwwwww…

“What the hell just happened?!”

Little did we know that ferrets have a reputation for freaking out their human companions in this manner.

In some ferrets the Dead Sleep is more common than in others and some ferrets don’t do it at all.

How to recognise a Ferret Dead Sleep???

    • Its body goes LIMP
    • The ferret seems to be LIFELESS
    • SEEMS like its NOT BREATHING
    • APPEARS to be DEAD

    This condition is usually normal, so you don’t have to be too worried. Most owners get used to it after the initial freak out, but some people still have a heart attack each time it happens.

    Ferret dead sleeping

    If you are worried that your ferret might be in a coma then there are a few things you can check for to make sure that they are just sleeping. These are:

    • Check the ferret is warm

    • Check that it has a moist pink mouth

    • Check that he/she is breathing regularly but slowly (the breathing might be very shallow)
  • All of these signs should mean that your ferret is just soundly asleep, so you do not have to rush to the vet. Ferrets in a coma have cold extremities, drool, may stiffen, have convulsions and moan.

    If your ferret’s sleeping patterns have suddenly changed and you find that he/she is going into the Ferret Dead Sleep more frequently, a trip to the vet may be a wise idea. Although ferrets do sleep a lot and some do enter the Dead Sleep, be aware of your fuzzies sleeping patterns and any changes that occur to it.

    If the fuzzy sleeps more often than usual, he may be giving you a sign that there is an underlying medical condition. In which case, a visit to the vet might be in order.

    Here is a great YouTube video that shows the dead sleep. The guy did a great job in it...just wish he had a shirt on :P

    Here is a little video my sister took of me and Binxi (Sammy also makes a small appearance).

    Binxi was so tired after a few good, solid hours of play that she just passed out in my lap. I thought it was really special (as you can probably tell from the expression on my face) as she has only done this twice before.

    So I was pretty chuffed with myself!

    She is not in a Dead Sleep but she is pretty close, I would suggest turning up the volume to hear my sister's special sound effects. Enjoy!

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