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What you need to know before getting a ferret

Updated on January 4, 2015

Research Your Decision

Domestic ferrets are not wild ferrets. Ferrets are predators and not a rodent! They are meat eaters and should not be given fruit, vegetables or dairy as their digestive system can not process this kind of food. Feeding your ferret incorrectly can adversely affect their health and can cause serious issues including death. Ferrets in the wild would eat mice, eggs, rabbits and birds. They seem to love chicken but then again who doesn't love chicken.

What to feed your ferret

Ferrets have a short fast digestive system and burn through food quickly. It is important to not only feed them correctly so they get the right nutrients they need but also to make sure they have access to the appropriate foods at all times. Water is also Vidal for your ferret and you should have a water bottle in his cage with cold fresh water. Now comes the decision of what kind of food do you intend to feed your ferret?

Housing your new ferret

It is important to have the right housing for your new ferret. Letting a ferret free range in your home may not be the best idea. They are naturally curious and can get into areas that could be dangerous if not fatal to your ferret. They are notorious little thieves! They love to take and hide items they can pick up in their jaws or just drag away and stockpile their treasures in hidden little nooks like behind your freezer, under furniture or in a tight corner closet. A good source for ferret housing would be a company called Ferret Nation. Petco and Petsmart both carry some of their product line.

Now that you have a proper home for your ferret you need to make sure you have the proper litter pan, soft hammocks and cubes for them to sleep and lounge on. A ferret sleeps a long time, sometimes over fourteen hours depending on the age of the animal. They easily adapt their schedule to yours. I prefer to use a cushioned mat on the bottom of the cage that is easy to clean as ferrets can be messy on occasion. Mine liked to hide food in the corners of the cage.

Choosing the right Veterinarian is important!

Now you have the fundamentals of owning a ferret. Proper diet, a comfortable home with bedding, toys and food and water containers. The next step would be to make sure you have a reliable veterinarian who accepts and is familiar with ferrets. This in my opinion is the most important step in having a ferret. You don't want to be in a life threatening situation with an ill ferret and suddenly find out that you can't find a veterinarian who will take your ferret on as a patient. This could actually cost your ferret his or her life!

Where to buy a ferret in the United States

If you bought a ferret in the United States it probably came from a Petco store and that likely means your newly acquired ferret probably came from Marshall Ferret Farms. Ferrets imprint on their food at a very young age. The most common ferret food is in a pellet form that you can buy at a pet store or through a website. Many of these stores also will carry a line of canned ferret food. Make sure before buying any food for your ferret that you read the ingredient list on the package. The ingredients should contain mainly meat proteins.

Deciding on which ferret to take home

Now choosing a ferret is hard. They are all little furry bundles of complete joy and entertainment. Take your time and pet and handle them until one chooses you. Remember that each ferret has it's own personality much like a cat or dog does. Even better than buying one from a store I would recommend checking out local shelters that may have ferrets who are looking for a new home. Many times a ferret ends up in a shelter because the owner bought a ferret without finding out anything about them and then deciding they were not the pet they wanted. These ferrets are in special need of a new caring home and if you have ever adopted a pet from a shelter you know what a gift you are for that animal not to mention the great feeling you get when you bring your new pet home.


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    • dvmurphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Murphy 

      3 years ago from Waterloo, Iowa

      Thank you for those pointers and I think I now have article two to start!

    • girlgamers profile image


      3 years ago from Texas

      Great information, but I would add the behavioral differences between males and females, more information on veterinarians, including average costs of exotic exams and vaccines, usual life span, and my favorite part, their noises. They're adorable, and I love my three ferrets. Each one is different, each one has a personality, and each one prefers different things. Keep up the good work!


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