F is for Ferret

FFerrets are near and dear to my heart, as I have one! They are very interesting pets to have. First things first though, something needs clarification! A ferret is not a rodent. I know this can seem a little confusing. I suppose when you really think about it, the majority of small animal pets out there, ARE rodents. Ferrets, however, are not rodents. They are carnivores and have the teeth to match it. Ferrets are members of the weasel family and are related to anything that is a weasel and they are also related to otters.

Ferrets, on the one hand, make for pretty simple pets. They have a fast metabolism which results in their days being mixed with bursts of energy, followed by hours of sleeping. In total, a ferret can easily sleep 20 hours out of the day. A ferret’s lack of activity is made up for the amount of trouble they can get into when they are active. I like to say that a ferret is like having a 2 year old child in your home for the next 7-10 years. They are super curious about everything and persistent about things they want and can’t seem to reach. They aren’t even close to being as agile as a cat, so ferret proofing your home can get really easy by just placing objects you don’t want them to get to at a higher level. You just have to make sure it’s not something they can climb up on.

VDayTobias2014Like cats, ferrets are carnivores, and they eat food made for ferrets. Many ferret owners however, are more keen on feeding them a raw diet, which consists heavily of chicken parts. They also need to have their claws trimmed when they get too long. This is easily done with a standard pair of nail clippers and I have been shown a trick where you put a liquidy treat (usually a liquid vitamin called Ferretone) on their bellies and as they are busy licking away, you are free to trim their nails with no fuss. Avoid clipping the quick as you would a dog or a cat. Ferret’s nails are translucent, so they are easy to clip.

Ferrets will use a litter box like a cat does, however, they are not always consistent about it. Plus, they differ from cats. Unlike a cat, when a ferret is anywhere in the house, and it needs to use the restroom, it does not go to the location where its litter box is located. Instead, a ferret will use a potty spot in whatever room it happens to be in. Ferrets like to potty in corners, so you can always tell when one has to go, as it will back into a corner with its tail sticking straight up. I have put puppy pads in several corners of my home for ferret potty breaks. He may not be consistent about using the one litter box, but he is consistent with his potty corners.

Ferrets are quiet pets as well. They do not make any noises, however, when extremelycute2 excited and happy, they make a noise that ferret owners refer to as “dooking”. In some individuals, you can easily hear them “dook” in others, it’s hard to hear the noise.

I can go on and on about ferrets, as I’ve only just touched the tip of the ice break of ferret ownership and facts! It is important to know, that unlike many rodent pets, ferrets are not happy about staying in a cage all day. My ferret, Tobias, is closed in his cage at night (when we are sleeping), but he has the run of the house during the day. Your ferret does not need to be out of its cage all day, but it will need to spend several hours out playing. They are much too curious and active to stay locked in a cage at all times.

This is my favorite video of Tobias. He’s playing with a toy mouse. If you want more Tobias cuteness, he has a Tumblr at Tobiastheferret.tumblr.com. If you have more questions about ferrets, or would like more info, feel free to drop me a message!

© Semi Charmed Life

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge!


15 thoughts on “F is for Ferret

  1. He is so cute! I don’t have much experience with ferrets at all, but I love that you talked about them. I love learning about different animals- I never knew that ferrets were similar to cats in some ways!

    • Just in a few ways. The sleeping for the majority of the day thing is definitely a similarity, but then they are more demanding of your attention when they are awake and ready to play.

    • I would love it if Tobias would run downstairs to his litter box every time he needed to potty. Oh well, at least he’s consistent about where he goes in other areas of the house.

  2. This is an awesome post, Sylvie. I have to be honest, ferrets scare me a little, I’m always worried abotu being bitten, yet I love rats, and wouldn’t consider that a problem with them. Odd huh?
    I love this video you’ve used to accompany the post, he looks very playful, almost like a cat in many ways.

    Flip x

    • If an animal has teeth, it can bite. Just like rats, ferrets can be nippy when they play. They often forget that you can’t be nippy with a human being. It’s just a matter of teaching them manners. I got really lucky with Tobias, he does not bite at all. Not even in play. You can rough house with him all you want, but he’ll never chomp down on you. It’s really nice that strangers can pick him up and he’ll be more than happy to have the extra attention and I don’t have to worry about a ferret nipping my guests.

      A ferret is as playful as a kitten, but for many more years than a kitten. 🙂

  3. Tobias is adorable!!!!! I’ve always thought having a ferret would be awesome (otters are my favorite wild animal by the way), but I always thought they were very high maintenance and my aunt said even when they are descented and neutered they still stink… I’m wondering if she just wasn’t vigilant at cleaning up after them. I love the potty pad idea! That is brilliant. 🙂 To be honest as far as small pets I want a hedgehog!! Really bad! 😀 I don’t need anymore critters right now though so I’ll wait. Hedgehog would make a great H post though… hint hint.

      • Glad I could help. Hedgehogs are part of the natural wildlife here. I’ve cared for hedgehogs at zoos before. I find they kind of smell like tortilla chips. Well, their enclosures certainly did.

    • You’re right. I forgot to bring up an important fact of the ferret. Obviously the odor doesn’t bother me since I didn’t mention it. Yes, ferrets have an odor and you either like it or you don’t. You can’t get rid of it. Descenting helps, as that prevents more odor being added to the situation, but ferrets will always have an odor. They aren’t a particularly furry creature, especially during the summer months. They rely on the oils produced by their skin to protect it. Some people have made the mistake of bathing their ferrets frequently to get rid of the odor, but this actually makes the situation worse. Bathing a ferret strips its skin of the oil it needs to protect it, so the body actually produces even more oil. I bathe Tobias once, maybe twice a year, just as a “let’s make you nice and clean”. Obviously the more ferrets you have, the more odor you will have. I only have Tobias and I don’t notice his odor much, but again, I don’t think ferrets stink. Keeping up with keeping their cages, bedding, and whatever else you might provide them clean, is another great way of reducing the amount of odor. Like I said though, a ferret’s odor is a personal preference. A person either doesn’t mind it, or thinks it’s stinky.

  4. Tobias is so cute. And even though I have followed his photos and videos for quite some time (as have my son) I have now learned a lot more about him and ferrets in general. Thanks for this post 🙂

    Rebel xox

  5. Pingback: Don’t Get a Ferret If… | WeaselLove

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