Ferrets are a more common house pet than you may believe. Some studies have found that there are currently 5-6 million domestic ferrets sharing a home with humans presently. Much like with a pet dog or cat, there’s plenty to know about caring for and living with these cute, bottlebrush-esque critters if you choose that you want to own one (or more) as a pet. Their care revolves around supporting their health and happiness so that they can live out a long and happy lifespan.
Ferrets have certain personality traits that are incredibly like cats. They love to play and explore just as much as they love to sleep and snuggle with their human family. These small, lanky critters don’t mind spending most of their time in a cage. Considering much of that time is spent sleeping anyway. However, ferrets will become tired of being cooped up and need some time to get out and run around the house for a few hours a day.
This means that a large portion of ferret care includes ferret proofing your house. Experts say pet ferrets should be allowed to get out and run around the house for a minimum of four hours daily. Allowing this time to get out and be active is incredibly beneficial for your ferret's lifespan. Your ferrets will be forever grateful if you provide them with plenty of toys to play with inside and outside of their cage.
They are intelligent and curious creatures who love mental stimulation. Without toys to play with you might find that your ferrets are getting into things they aren’t supposed to.
Ferrets' high intelligence means that they will become easily bored in their cage. Some become so tired of being in a cage they have been known to learn how to open the cage latch and let themselves out.
The diet of a ferret may come as a surprise to some animal lovers. Ferrets are known as what’s called an “obligate carnivore”. Meaning, they strictly eat animal proteins and fats because their bodies cannot absorb or otherwise work with nutrients from plants.
Some of the best animal product options for a ferret's diet include various meats, eggs, and fish that are classified as cold-water fish. Such as Salmon, Tuna, or Sardines. Providing a balanced diet of their much-needed animal proteins and fats will support a long and healthy lifespan. If you’re uncertain about what you should be feeding your ferret, it's important to consult their veterinarian. They can tell you about the perfect diet for your ferret.
Potential Health Problems
One of the more common health problems that ferrets are known to face is adrenal gland disease. Some of the symptoms that you might notice a ferret facing with adrenal gland disease are fur loss, inflammation of their genitalia, and possibly even aggression or irritability.
Ferrets can also encounter problems with their digestive tract. It’s not uncommon for a ferret to develop a bowel obstruction. This usually happens because they have a habit of eating things that they shouldn't. Hairballs are also a common cause of bowel obstruction.
These health problems could affect the lifespan of your ferret if left untreated. This is why it's important to keep an eye on them and their behaviors. That way you can catch a disease process early on and have them treated.
Dental problems are also a common issue that ferrets can face. A ferret’s teeth are naturally made for tearing away at the meat. This means you will need to give them kibble sparingly if at all. Kibble can cause cavities or dental decay with ferrets, so it’s best to avoid the kibble if possible. That way you can avoid a trip to the dentist with your ferret.
One fact that’s often misconstrued is that there aren’t actually any other breeds of ferret. Only various colors and color patterns. Some of the more popular or well-known ferret colors include the Sable, black sable, chocolate, champagne, white, and white with dark eyes colors.
As for patterns of ferret fur coats, there are also several unique patterns out there. The panda ferret pattern is probably one of the more easily recognizable patterns. It looks exactly how it sounds - like a miniature panda. Their fur is one color, while they have rings of another around their eyes.
Another good fact to know about ferrets is that they love to have companionship. If you’re someone who is off at work often, you might want to consider adopting a group of ferrets. Or at least have two so that they can have the company of one another.
On average a ferret's life span can range anywhere from five to ten years. This all depends on how well they are cared for. Time to get out of their cage and be active and free is crucial. Just as important as feeding them the correct diet and monitoring for potential health problems. Ferrets have a particular diet that needs to be minded for the sake of their dental health, as well as certain living environment needs. However, the overall care of ferrets is not difficult and easily managed.