They’re smart, adorable, agile, and quickly attached to you if you put in the time. But ferrets are also time-consuming, expensive, smelly, sometimes mean, and not the right pet for everyone. Apparently, ferrets have gained a bad reputation because some owners didn’t know what they were getting into when deciding to get a pet ferret. One could say ferrets make good pets – for the right person. Let’s go into detail!
Here are 11 facts you need to know before getting a ferret.
1. Ferrets are smelly
But you have some power over it. Ferrets have natural oils on their hair and skin. These oils may be transmitted to everything ferrets sleep and play on and cause some odor. You can reduce the smell by keeping their blankets clean.
Unneutered male ferrets (called hobs) will mark their territory – and it stinks! Neutering ferrets is mandatory anyway unless you want to breed because male ferrets start fighting each other, while unneutered female ferrets (called jills) will remain in heat if they don’t mate and die.
Ferrets have a well-developed pair of anal glands that can produce a stinking liquid when in danger. Some large scale ferret breeders remove their anal glands, which is not legal in all countries, and totally unnecessary. Guess why? Because ferrets rarely use their anal glands, and the smell disappears on its own after 10 – 15 minutes. The amount of liquid produced is barely visible.
2. Are ferrets good pets for beginners?
Ferrets are in the effort and monthly costs comparable to cats and dogs. You have to keep them clean, feed a healthy diet, and provide at least 3 hours of playtime every day if you keep them in a cage. Young ferrets often bite while playing, and they’re very curious and might destroy your stuff while playing with it. It’s not recommended to get ferrets if you keep other small animals like rodents or birds as pets. Ferrets will prey on them. Also, kiss your plants’ goodbye. 🙂
3. Ferrets are not good pets for all people
Ferrets are great pets, but not for everyone. They’re expensive (food, vet, toys), time-consuming, smelly (especially if you have a carpet), and can bite hard. They sometimes don’t use their litter box and prey on smaller animals. They also like to dig and ruin your plants.
4. Ferrets can be mean!
Yes, they are! Ferrets bite for fun while playing. They dig out your plants and might eat up other small pets you might have.
5. Are ferrets good for kids?
Ferrets aren’t good pets for kids. Kids often want pets because they’re cute but underestimate the work and time they need to put in – for the coming 8 years and sometimes longer. If you decide to get ferrets for your kids, expect to take care of the animals by yourself.
6. What's the lifespan of a pet ferret?
5-10 years – The average lifespan of a ferret is 6 years, but it depends strongly. Male ferrets (also called hobs) don’t live as long as a female ferret (also called a jill). It also depends on the right ferret diet, genetics, and how well they were treated. 8 Years is very old for a hob and normal for a jill.
7. Is it OK to keep a single ferret?
Ferrets are social animals and need company. Ferrets are wild and like to play-fight aggressively with each other. They also like to sleep together and care for each other. Seeing ferrets play with each other is the best argument against keeping a single ferret. Ferrets are social animals and need company. Ferrets are wild and like to play-fight aggressively with each other. They also like to sleep together and care for each other. Seeing ferrets play with each other is the best argument against keeping a single ferret.
Exceptions prove the rule! If you get a ferret that has lived alone for years or is very old, it might be better to keep it alone – young ferrets are quite stressful for old ones.
8. Ferrets can die from not mating
Jills (=female ferrets) can die easily from not mating! Female ferrets (jills) go into extended heat and die from aplastic anemia if they don’t mate.
9. Can I leave my ferrets alone for 2 days?
Ferrets are great pets for people who work all day because they sleep more than 16 hours per day! I would not recommend leaving them alone for 2 days or more, though, especially if you keep them in a cage. Ferrets are full of energy and need 3 hours of activity per day plus fresh food and water. Not to mention how often they poop.
I think it’s possible to leave ferrets alone for 2 days if you have a ferret proof house or apartment, with more than one litter box and space to run around and a dry food-filled bowl plus a full water bottle.
10. Ferrets poop all the time
Ferrets poop every 3-4 hours, which makes about 5 poops per ferret. The litter box needs to be cleaned 2x every day. Most ferrets can’t get 100% litter box trained – it’s more like 96%.
11. They're expensive
A single ferret costs about $100, but you should always get two of them. Food costs per month ca $50, and the Vet costs for surgery to have your ferrets neutered or spayed are about $150 to $300. There will likely be more Vet costs if your ferrets get older.
Make Ferrets Good Pets?
Ferrets are adorable, playful, and affectionate. But they’re also stinky, expensive, pooping machines that destroy your stuff for fun before they bite your feet. 🙂 Get an Art Print from our shop if you love ferrets as much as we do! Perfect for decorating your home fast, easy, and affordable – if you love ferrets!
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