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Ferrets Make Wonderful Pets

Updated on January 2, 2010

Ferrets As Pets

Many people would probably shudder at the thought of having a ferret for a household pet but that’s probably because they’ve never actually come face to face with a real live ferret, that’s an experience which would win over most people. We had occasionally known people who kept ferrets for hunting rabbits, but that was many years ago and they were not considered pets, more like work tools and they were kept in cages outside the house and given little attention. We were introduced to ferrets as indoor pets when my brother got a pair of ferrets called Stan and Ollie. They were adorable little guys and loads of fun to see running around the house and playing rough and tumble with each other.


sleepy Ferret
sleepy Ferret

A Ferret For Your Birthday

When my daughters fifteenth birthday arrived, despite my wife’s protests my brother turned up with a ferret who was duly christened Dylan and became a member of the household. I built Dylan a cage which was a large wooden tray with a wire mesh cage on top of it around 2x2x3 feet, plenty of space for a young ferret. Was he grateful? Not a bit of it. When he wasn’t asleep, which by the way ferrets do a lot of, he would either be constantly trying to force his way out through the door of the cage or he would stand up on his hind legs, grab the cage side with his front paws and rattle it like crazy. Very annoying when you’re trying to sleep, because although they sleep a lot, ferrets usually do it mostly during the day.


Making Your Ferret Feel At home

So I gave in to the little tyrant and removed the top cage from his “home” so now he had somewhere to sleep and eat but he also had free run of the house. This was the time to make the house ferret proof, easier said than done. Ferrets can squeeze through very small holes and they will, at every opportunity. They will find their way into the most unlikely places, at the time we had a large sofa bed, which because of the access to the folding mechanism meant it also had ways to get in to the interior of the padding etc. Dylan found this out before we did! It can be pretty scary to be sitting quietly watching a film on TV when the sofa starts moving and making strange noises. The only way to get him out was to rattle a tin of his favourite ferret treats; even then he would only come out when he was good and ready. So I had to screw lengths of wood to the underside of the sofa to close the gap between sofa and floor, one ferret proof sofa and one very cross ferret.


exploring the sofa
exploring the sofa

Ferret bath time

Some people find the odour of ferret a little overpowering, but if you and your ferret don't neglect your basic housekeeping it shouldn't really be a problem. You can give your ferret a bath occasionally. If he likes exploring cellars and coal bunkers which they usually do, then you'll have little choice. Most ferrets seem to like a bath though Dylan's first bath time was a little traumatic.

We used the kitchen sink for convenience and used special ferret shampoo but his first reaction was to escape at all cost. which meant climbing up my arms or chest in desperation. Did I mention how sharp ferret claws are? He did calm down pretty quickly with the help of a liberal helping of treats, and he seemed non the worse for his experience. On the other hand I was soaked through and covered in scratches.

He was never any trouble at later bath times and used to enjoy rolling around in a large towel to get dry. In cold weather we used a hair dry which he also was comfortable with. Though it has to be said a soggy ferret is a pretty sorry sight.

Climbing Ferrets

Ferrets are also pretty good climbers they can climb a trouser leg before you know what’s happening, unless the material is thin, then you feel the sharp ferrety claws. By the way you have to cut the claws which can be a bit of a trial with some ferrets that just won’t hold still and you have to be careful as ferret claws have a vein in them which will bleed if you cut the claws too short. We had a Victorian wire mesh fire guard from when the kids were small and Dylan could climb up that with no trouble. They will also climb your curtains, and if you have shelves or bookcases near to the curtains, well that’s just asking for trouble.


Some Ferret Habits

Among their other habits ferrets like to dig, occasionally they will have a ferocious dig at you rugs and carpets, so no antique Persian rugs please. The digging thing means you can’t have houseplants within reach of your furry friend either or there will shortly be compost everywhere, except in the plant pot of course. We were foolish enough to buy a coconut palm, you know the things with a coconut in the pot and palm plant about 4 feet tall growing from it. Being this tall meant it had to sit on the floor, that’s called learning the hard way.

Of course you can restrict the ferret’s access to one or two rooms, and if you believe that you’ll believe anything. You can try and restrict their access to certain parts of the house but ferrets don’t make much noise, so you can pass through doors between rooms without noticing the sneaky little ferret that followed you. And because you didn’t see him he’s got loads of time to get up to all sorts of mischief and you’ll only find out when it’s too late.

Remember it’s in their nature to explore and that means they will escape to the outside if they get the chance. We got a knock on the door one day and it was our next door neighbour telling us that Dylan had appeared in the house having got in through the cat flap. How did he get out of our house? He’d found his way into the kitchen, discovered that the tumble dryer had a tube which vented the hot air out through a hole in the wall, and also discovered he could pull the tube free and hey presto! One free ferret, lucky for us he only went next door to say hi.


Ferret Adventures

As well as liking to dig, ferrets have a fondness for dark and dirty places, like tunnels naturally, or cellars, or crawl spaces or coal bunkers. More than once we lifted the lid on the coal bunker to find a joyful but filthy Dylan who never could seem to understand what all the fuss was about. As soon as you get your pet ferret start training them to come to a call or maybe easier to come to the sound of his favourite treats being rattled in a tin, it’s the only way to locate them sometimes when they’re missing and you’re not sure where they’ve gone. If we spotted the cellar door was not closed it was a certainty Dylan would be down there. Dylan used to come when whistled because he knew for sure he would get a treat. If you’re lucky your ferret won’t roam far even when he escapes out side. I remember one day when Dylan was missing  I opened the back door and there he was sitting on the mat waiting to come in, I guess he knew which side his bread was buttered.


Ferret In Coal Bunker
Ferret In Coal Bunker

Don't Delay Get A Ferret Today

Now you might be thinking that instead of getting a pet ferret maybe you should just apply for a job as a guard at Alcatraz. But all these escapes took place over the six years or so we were lucky enough to have Dylan as a member of the family because he became so much more than a pet. Ferrets are joyful fun loving and very affectionate. Most of the time Dylan made his own entertainment, though often we would play with him and his assortment of toys. Some times while we were sitting watching TV he would wake up, come through from where he lived in the dining room climb up on to the sofa and settle down on someone’s lap, just for a bit of pleasant company.

If you ever considered getting a ferret, than do it without delay. I’m pretty sure you’ll never regret it. It must be 4 years now and we still miss Dylan.

Comments

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  • profile image

    cgg11204 

    8 years ago

    I agree with Lizzy.Although i do not have as much ferrets as her(wish i did though)theyre always finding new hiding spots.kinda worries me though,for somtimes i cant find them.

  • profile image

    iain  

    8 years ago

    hi i have two ferrets a jill nd a hub and i dont no how to train then for huntin i was wanting to train the jill cos the other male(hub) i hard just lie up in the burrows if u can help in any way i will be very apreciative and how did u train ur ferret to come to a call pls cant u get back to me and ur right the are litle escape artist lol

  • KevCC profile imageAUTHOR

    KevCC 

    8 years ago

    Thanks Lizzy, they might be little devils, but you gotta love em!

    Kev.

  • LizzyBoo profile image

    LizzyBoo 

    8 years ago from Czech Republic

    Excellent hub. I love it. I have to say that all you written is right. I have 4 ferrets and your hub suits on all of them! My little devils! Thank you! Excellent. Well done! Lizzy

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