Ferrets as Pets - Fun or a Hassle?

Ferrets as Pets

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  • Adopt a ferret

  • Ferrets as Pets

    Although gorgeous, there are a few things worth considering before getting ferrets as pets.

    It is very important to research this animal as much as you can because they are unlike any other pet. They do need a lot of care and they thrive on attention.

    Me and my partner (Doug) saw our first ferrets in a shop window.
    I could not take my eyes of them; they were unlike anything I had ever seen before. I was well and truly under the ferret spell. After a very quick discussion with the pet shop lady I convinced Doug that this was the animal for us and we should bring it home that very day.

    So… this turned out to be a bit of a stupid idea as we knew nothing about ferrets!

    I had thought that our new pet would sit still and lie on my lap while I watched TV, learn tricks and just need minimal care because it was so small. Having ferrets as pets was meant to be awesome...

    It turned out that I was very, very wrong. The ferret never stopped moving, it bit us all the time, had a terrible smell which over powered our whole 1 bedroom apartment, needed our full attention while out playing (it was draining!) and the worst was that it was more attached to Doug than me!(Grrrrrrrr)

    It was not fair! This was not what I had signed up for. I soon realized that I actually regretted getting the little girl and till this day I feel really bad about that…

    The reason I am telling you this now is not because I want to make myself look like a bad ferret owner (I think I have come a very long way since those days)but I want anybody who is thinking of keeping ferrets as pets to consider a few things before making this choice.

    I will provide you with all the information I can, so that the best choices can be made to make your first ferret owning experience as fun as it can be .

    After you get some great experience you will fall in love with your baby. Ferrets as pets can truly be a blessing!

    Kissing a ferret

    Ferrets as pets – Before you buy

    • Do you have time to get to know your ferret and care for it on a daily basis?
    • It is very important that you spend lots of time with your ferret in the first few weeks; this is the time that they will choose who you will be to them – a friend or a menace. In this time you need to learn to respect each other and they will test your patience with biting . You will also need to get acquainted with the pooper scooper, because there is a lot of poop to clean!

      Ferrets should get at least 2 hours out of their cage daily, when they are babies it might be a little less because they tire very quickly (This can be awesome! I have a photo of baby Binxi and Doug sleeping in bed after a lot of play, they were both so exhausted! When Doug left for work Binxi kept sleeping for ages…I even covered her up, SO CUTE!)

      You will also need to provide them with fresh water, food and change their cage everyday.

    • Do you have any small children in the house or animals that could be potentially dangerous to your animal? Even adults could be a threat!
    • This is very important to consider. Ferrets are tough little animals…if they are playing with animals their own size! Unfortunately, there have been countless fatal accidents involving children , animals and adults.

      They have been stepped on, sat on, attacked, dropped etc. This is no joke, even me and Doug did not escape this type of tragedy – twice. Our two first ferrets, Slinky and Skittles, were stepped on and crushed (they were two separate occasions). This is a truly horrible thing to have to go through. My advice is to walk like you are stuck to the floor when they are running around!

      The worst thing is that our friends have taken to asking us if our current ferrets, are still alive nearly every time we see them! (Thanks for the reminder! I think we feel bad enough as is!)

    • In some places owning ferrets as pets is illegal. One of these places could be where you are currently living. Have you checked?
    • I know that in Queensland (Australia) they are illegal and also some parts of America eg. California. Be sure to find out.

    • Are you renting your apartment or house in which you are living in? Are pets allowed?
    • There are ways of getting around this ; ask your agent if the owners might reconsider, move house or just make sure you hide them really well when its time for the inspection (just make sure they are safe).

    • Can you afford the vet bills?
    • If you don’t intend to breed your ferrets (I would not recommend it if you are a first time owner) then they will need to be de-sexed.

      The females once in heat stay in heat until they are bred. If they are not bred the over exposure to hormones at this time will lead to aplastic anemia, which in the majority of cases is fatal. It is crucial that you get your Jill (female ferret) de-sexed.

      The males once in heat can get really territorial, aggressive and they smell really, REALLY bad! Even though Bear is the gentlest ferret he got really aggressive when he started eh...getting randy. After being de-sexed he is much better and smells a whole lot better too.

      Ferrets also need to be vaccinated every year for Canine Distemper. There are two initial vaccinations that need to be given in the first year. The first one is at 8 weeks and the second at 3 months.

      There are many additional vet costs that may come around.

      We have been to the vets countless times, some were minor things others were not so minor. Please keep this in mind when purchasing your first ferret. Having ferrets as pets can cause a lot of stress at times!

    • Ferrets with proper care can live up to 10 years (sometimes more). Are you prepared for a long time commitment?
    • Once you buy a ferret you will need to plan your vacations carefully as you will have to consider who to leave your baby with. Plus, you will not be able to go overseas for too long because you have a responsibility to your ferret to look after him...also they get very attached to you and miss you. In fact some ferrets get severely depressed when their owners leave for too long. So I hope you have done all your major travelling for a while...

    I hope that all this information has helped you with your choice. Feel free to look over the rest of the site…the education does not end here! These are just things to consider before you buy. Having ferrets as pets is a lot more complex than this, but it is also great fun!

    Back to top of Ferrets as Pets page.

    Types of Ferrets - How many are there?

    The Black Footed Ferret - How it came back from the brink of extinction!

    Common Ferret Questions - What you should know about your pet.