Ferret Care Sheet

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Info

Ferret, photo by silicon640c
Ferret, photo by silicon640c
  • Scientific Name: Mustela putorius furo
  • Lifespan: Approximately 8 years.
  • Handling: Any time after he/she gets use to you. He/she may bite if frightened or rough playing. Never grab a ferret by its tail
  • Size: Approximately 15 inches long.
  • Care: Medium
  • Community: Yes, ferrets will do well in a community of the same gender. Putting two different sexes in the same enclosure can cause breeding.
  • Lifestyle: Diurnal, active during the day. Usually sleep 18 hours a day. They can adjust their sleeping habits to yours. They require a lot of attention and love to be played with. If you cannot devote time towards this animal, this type of animal is not for you.

Enclosure

Wire Cage

A wire cage is a good choice, as it creates great ventilation, causing no humidity issues also avoiding respiratory infections. You do not have to worry about escapes, as these types of animals are too big to fit through the bars. It is recommended to buy an enclosure with multiple levels to allow more mobility and room for your ferret(s) to move around and explore. The cage needs to be at least 2 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet (LxWxH). That is the bare minimum for one ferret. If you are planning to get more than one ferret which is recommended, you are going to need something bigger. The best type of enclosure for a ferret is called a Ferret Nation cage. They are on the expensive side, but well worth it, and that size cage will be good for your ferret’s entire life.

 

I would not recommend an aquarium/tank for ferrets for several reasons…

  1. They are too small.
  2. They are too expensive if you are buying a big one.
  3. They are sound proof and do not allow your ferret to hear noises as he/she should, leading to him/her being startled every noise it hears when it is outside of the enclosure.
  4. Big ones are heavy and hard to clean when it comes to that time of the week/month.

Furnishing

  1. Decorations and necessities for their enclosure should include:
  2. Hides (hammocks to sleep in). You should also put soft fabrics and old t-shirts throughout the enclosure for them to lay and sleep on as well.
  3. Bathroom – Online and pet stores sell ferret bathrooms that which are plastic containers that are designed to fit into a corner of their cage. You will want to use dust-free ferret litter, not cat litter. Cat litter has dust particles that can clog your ferret’s nasal passages when he/she burrows in the litter. Your ferret(s) will choose a designated corner of the enclosure to use the restroom, so pay close attention because that is where you will put your ferret bathroom.
  4. A water and food bowl needs to be placed in your ferret’s enclosure. Instead of using a water bowl, you may use a water bottle dripper instead, made specifically for ferrets.
  5. They love playing as much as they love sleeping which means you need to buy lots of toys. When buying toys for them, it is important that you buy toys specifically made for ferrets. Do not try to wing it by buying your ferret cheap dog toys. They will rip them up and bite right through them, due to their sharp teeth and strong jaws. This can lead to choking hazards for your ferret, so make sure you buy toys made specifically for ferrets.  Also, they love tunnels to run through and play with. When buying a tunnel or tube, make sure it is at least 4 inches in diameter to make sure your ferret doesn’t get stuck when trying to go through.

 

DO NOT put a wheel in the enclosure. They do not have the body to use this type of toy. It will injur them badly. They have too much of a long spine to be put on one of these. It may also hurt their toes and nails which might get caught in the wheel. So I would advise you to not buy or put any type of wheel in your ferrets enclosure.

Temperatures

Temperatures must stay between 65-78 °F. If you cannot maintain these temperatures naturally because it is too cold, try using a ceramic heat emitter or red heat bulb for night time, and a regular daily house bulb for the day time. Up the wattage if the temps are still not getting reached. However, most houses reach these temperatures naturally, not having you to buy any lighting or heating.

Feeding/Diet

Feeding your ferret a good diet is extremely important. Ferrets are strict carnivores and should be fed a high protein (at least 35%), high fat (at least 20%) high quality chicken or lamb based dry ferret diet.

 

Some foods that are sold at local pet stores are:

  1. 8 in 1 Ultra-Blend
  2. Totally ferret
  3. Zupreem for Ferrets

Chicken or lamb should be a number one ingredient for the ferret’s food. It should be labels on the back of the bag where the ingredients are labeled. Avoid foods that list grain or corn as a first ingredient. Also, you should look for food that is naturally preserved with Vitamin E and has no artificial flavors.

 

DO NOT use cat food for your ferret. That is not a proper diet and is not healthy for your ferret.

This type of food can contribute to stones in the kidneys and bladder, malnutrition, dull coats and other health problems for your ferret.

 

Ferrets should be eating every 3-4 hours.

Hydration

Water must always be available to your ferret 24/7. You can either place a water dish in the enclosure which should be cleaned and replaced every day… or have a water bottle specifically made for ferrets placed on the side of the enclosure which should be re-filled when the water is low. Ferrets can become dehydrated very fast, so it is very important that water is available to them at all times.

Substrate

The best substrate to use is old t-shirts, sweaters, and clothing. Make sure there are no holes in the clothes that you are using. This can lead to one of your ferrets toes getting caught in it, also leading to one of his/her legs getting caught in it as well if it is big enough. Once your clothes is checked, put it in as the bedding. Your ferrets will love to burrow in your clothes and sleep in them. Just make sure to check daily for holes made by your ferrets claws. Other than that, just clean the clothes once a week in a washing machine and you are good to go. Try to stay away from bedding that you would use for a snake, hamster, guinea pig, and etc. That type of bedding can cause problems.

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