LIFE SPAN - Can
live up to 18 years but average life span is 8.
entertaining critters who enjoy human contact and can be litter trained
and taken for walks.
The male ferret
can smell but neutering can help.. The female ferret needs to
be 'mated' when she comes into season or she will be susceptible to
infection and disease which can cause her death so it might be
wise to have her
neutered if you don't want to use her for breeding.
Ferrets are sociable,
domesticated, playful, affectionate, gentle animals. They need
to be handled frequently and treated kindly.
Ferrets can be either indoor or outdoor pets, but their home must not
be in a draught. Like all pets, the larger the cage the
better. As long as it has a 'toilet area' (you could use a litter
tray-cat litter will be fine), an enclosed area in which to sleep (towels
or old rags to sleep in-sawdust and sand can irritate their skin) and
a feeding area, not forgetting a water bottle and some toys, it
should be happy. A ferret has sensitive feet so a wiry floor would
not be advisable. If the ferret is housed outdoors, ensure that
its home isn't in the sun all day as a ferret can quickly come down
with heat stroke, and that it has ventilation, and that it's home doesn't
get damp in the winter.
Ferrets love to get out of their home and explore. Ensure they
either have a secure area in the garden or that you can supervise them
or take them on a lead for a walk. If they are to explore your
house, ensure that you supervise them at all times as they will investigate
everything and anything, including electrical wires to looking under
you fridge. They will play with anything that entertains them
and could swallow pieces of rubber, etc., so keep a watchful eye on
Care must be taken
when introducing any new pet to an existing. However, ferrets
will get on with most family pets and the only time they will attack
a pet is when it feels threatened or if it is extremely hungry. Obviously,
if you are homing two ferrets of different sexes and do not wish them
to mate, you will have to have them neutered.
You can purchase
a dried ferret mix and supplement this basic diet with a can of cat
food every few days. Ferrets also like to have either cat millk
or lactose free milk. Also they all generally love to eat meat. Treats
- these animals love snacks - but they should be given in moderation.
Any uncooked bones are okay too. Always ensure it has access
to a clean supply of water. Be aware that ferrets like to hide
their food - good hunting.
are very prone to canine (dog) distemper. This is caused by a
virus, similar to measles in children, which can be spread very easily.
Symptoms vary and include fever, loss of appetite, ocular and nasal
discharges, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is therefore highly recommended
that a ferret receives a distemper vaccination at about 8 weeks of age,
followed by annual boosters.
It is advisable that
your female ferret is neutered as, if she is not 'mated' when she comes
into season, she will be susceptible to infection and disease which
can cause her death.
Like us, ferrets
can catch flu. The symptoms being the same as ours; runny nose,
sneezing and even running a temperature. Keep your ferret warm
and its bedding dry. If his health deteriorates, take him to a
also occur if the ferret has eaten something that has disagreed with
it. Usually, something like milk or meat can cause diarrhoea.
Don't give him any more for a few days. If it's not cleared within
a couple of days, take him to a vet.
Ferrets are sometimes
bothered by fleas. You can use a cat flea treatment to eliminate
It is wise to check
the ferrets ears on a regular basis and clean his ears by using cotton
wool buds dipped in peroxide, gently wiping the outer ear. The
inner ear is very sensitive, so be very gentle. However, if you
see your ferret scratching his ears a lot, he could have mites.
A black, waxy build-up is another sign. You can use a cat ear
mite medication or take him to the vets.