Anonymous said: Hi, I'm looking into adding a ferret into my life. I currently have a yorkie and a snake I know what you're probably thinking but the snake is safely secured in a tank. I just want to know what it's like to have a ferret since I've never had one and what their personalities are like
There’s a lot of info to cover here. I would suggest doing a lot of reading and research since I can only give you my experiences with my own ferrets. It is important to keep in mind that ferrets, like all animals, are individuals and not all share the “general” traits associated with ferrets.
I always say that owning a ferret is like having a two year old child in your home for the next 7-10 years. Fortunately, they have some physical limitations that prohibit them from being completely destructive. They are extremely curious and persistent. If they want something, want to get somewhere, they will try everything possible to try and accomplish it.
Some ferrets are chewers, which can be a problem when they decide electric cords are their choice of chew. I’ve been fortunate in that my ferrets have never been interested in chewing on cords. Tobias has a thing for chewing on velcro and he has dug up and chewed on carpeting in the past. If you want to keep them from chewing on things, you can use products like “bitter apple” spray. You can also get protective covers for your electrical cords.
Ferrets have an odor. Regardless if they have been descented, they still have an odor because their skin produces an oil to protect itself. You either like this odor or you don’t. Personally, it doesn’t bother me. The more ferrets you own, the more chance you have of your house smelling like ferret, but in general, if you keep their bedding, cage, litter box, etc clean, odor should be at a minimal. Do not bathe your ferrets often. This actually worsens their smell and is actually bad for them. Bathing them strips the oil from their skin and creates their skin to just produce more oil. Most ferret owners bathe their ferrets 1-2 times a year.
Grooming- you’ll need to trim their toe nails as they get too long. This is easily done with small sized human nail clippers. You’ll also need to clean the wax out of their ears when it builds up. This is done by using a ferret ear cleaning solution and a Q-tip. You generally don’t need to brush a ferret, but you will most likely need to give it a hair ball treatment when it begins to shed its winter coat.
Food - how you feed your ferret is your choice. There are a lot of ferret dry kibbles out on the market. A lot of ferret owners, however, have chosen a raw diet for their ferrets. I suggest doing some reading on this.
Biting - ferrets naturally nip each other during play. Often, they begin to play with you like this. I’ve been most fortunate that my ferret has never bitten a human being in play or otherwise. Be prepared that you may have to train a nipper, not to.
Play - One of the best things about owning a ferret is that you have many years of playfulness. They love to play, even when they are years out of their “baby” stage. Ferrets have a bit of ADD though, and things keep them entertained for short periods of time, however, it’s nice to know that something as simple as a paper bag, is a lot of fun for them.
Potty - Yes, ferrets use a litter box, however, they are not like cats. They do not run to the litter box when they have to potty if they are in a different location in the house. So, you will need to place several litter boxes in the corners of the house where your ferret frequents. Tobias has a litter box in his cage, but I use puppy pads throughout my house. Do not use cat litter. I personally use recycled paper pellets for Tobias.
Sleep - ferrets sleep for about 20 hours of the day. This is because they have a high rate of metabolism. They wake up, poop in a corner, eat, play, poop in a corner, fall asleep again for several hours… rinse and repeat several times in one day. The nice thing about ferrets is that they recognize your schedule. So they tend to do the majority of their sleeping when you are unavailable and ask to play and interact when you are around.
Cage - if you have just one ferret, the cage does not need to be super big, but it does need to allow space for sleeping, litter box, food and water. Tobias has 3 different places to sleep within his cage. He has a hammock, a sleep sack, and a den box. Ferrets are not pets to be kept in cages all day every day. They absolutely MUST come out for several hours during the day. They will throw tantrums in their cages when they feel they’ve been in there too long.
Illness - it is important to keep in mind that ferrets are prone to getting adrenal gland disease. Do your research and make sure you are willing to take the risk of veterinary bills and the loss of a loved pet.
Veterinary bills - your ferret should visit the vet at least annually and you will need to vaccinate your pet. (vaccines are a controversy amongst ferret owners so do your own research on the subject and make your own educated decisions) Personally, I’ve vaccinated Tobias.
Personality - this is hard to comment on, as all ferrets are individuals. Some ferrets are cuddlers, others are not. Some that are not cuddlers, become cuddlers as they age. All ferrets develop their own quirks. Some are very vocal, “Dooking” all the time, while others are fairly quiet. Ferrets will try to get into anything and everything they are interested in and sometimes this results in chaos. They can be cute companions. Tobias will often follow me around the house as I complete chores and what not. Some ferrets love the water, while others do not. You may have heard that ferrets are thieves? This is true. Ferrets will steal and stash the things that interest them the most. As long as you know where they stash things, you can always find what is missing. In my home, Tobias hides things under the couch. Ferrets are known to do the “weasel war dance” while in play. I like to say that it’s a good thing Mother Nature made ferrets as cute and silly as she did, because it makes up for the chaos they can create. A ferret is nature’s court jester. You pretty much have to ferret proof your house and you begin to pick up things that the ferret may get into. In the past, we couldn’t leave any beverage on the coffee table without supervision, because Tobias could get to it and spill it. Today, however, our new coffee table isn’t one he can climb or get on top of. Ferrets can climb and jump, but they have some physical limitations. We used to have a fabric sofa, and Tobias could climb onto it. Now we have a leather sofa and he is unable to get on top of it. Ferrets are natural diggers and will prefer to sleep huddled away somewhere. In my home, I have cut holes in boxes and placed blankets inside for Tobias to sleep in. He also likes to snooze under the couch. The only time Tobias sleeps in the “open” is when he is sleeping in his hammocks.
Hope this bit of info helps. Feel free to ask more questions.