Ferrets as pets: important information before buying

If you want to keep a ferret as a pet, you should not make this decision hastily. The cute raccoon animals absolutely need companions, sufficient space and play options as well as enough exercise. Here you will find a few important tips that you should consider before purchasing. Ferrets feel most comfortable with a ferret buddy - Shutterstock / Couperfield

Keeping a ferret as a pet is enriching, but only if the tame cousin from the polecat feels comfortable in your apartment. The following tips will give you an impression of whether the animals are suitable for you.

What is the character of ferrets?

If you buy a ferret as a pet, you get a lively, smart and curious little goblin. The marten relatives are also very sociable and absolutely need at least one of their kind as a playmate. They usually feel more comfortable in larger groups. Ferrets like to explore their surroundings and are not exactly squeamish. The discovery-friendly fur lines scurry everywhere on their tours - flower pots and vases quickly break, cables are bitten or books are cleared from the shelves. In addition, the cheeky goblins are very playful and need enough employment. They can be brought up a bit, but overall they are quite stubborn. Nevertheless, it is possible to get them housebroken. As a rule, ferrets as pets become trusting very quickly if they are kept appropriately and are then very cuddly and in need of cuddling. Many also get used to walking on a leash.

How much space and time does a ferret take as a pet?

The fur lines can be kept well in the apartment, provided that they are ferret-proof and the animals have a nice large enclosure. For two ferrets, the floor space should be at least around two square meters, with the enclosure best going over several floors. Suitable cages are rarely found on the market, and building your own is usually the best. This allows the sniff nose to climb and play while you are at work. It is even more fun for ferrets if they have their own room in the apartment that is appropriately furnished, for example, with a cat scratching post for climbing. An enclosure in the garden or on the balcony is also an option, but setting it up to be escape-proof and ferret-compatible is more difficult than with the indoor enclosure, since the goblins are real escape artists.

Ferrets sleep up to 18 hours a day and can adapt to the daily rhythm of their people. That said, it is usually not a problem to keep a ferret as a pet despite a full-time job, provided you do a lot of grooming when you are at home. Ferrets need four to six hours of exercise in the apartment every day, then they can rest, eat and play in the enclosure for the rest of the time. Another note: Not every veterinarian is familiar with the raccoon animals and their special features. Check with the vets in your area to see if a ferret expert is there so that there are no problems later.

Other basic equipment for ferrets as pets

They look cute, but ferrets, like dogs and cats, are predators and carnivores. Nevertheless, they have their own demands on their feed, which differ from dog nutrition and cat nutrition. Barfen, i.e. raw meat feeding, is also suitable for ferrets, but ask the breeder or the ferret help before buying what you need to pay attention to in the nutrient composition. Otherwise there is special dry food and wet food for the raccoon animals. In addition to a feeding bowl, ferrets need a water bowl and a small house or a cave per animal at the feeding place - the tame polecats like to eat in peace and security. You also need lots of hiding places, resting places and climbing opportunities for the enclosure: tunnels, hammocks, caves, old clothes, discarded towels and scraps of material ensure comfort. Toys that are actually intended for cats can be used to fun the ferrets.

As a "quiet place" you can use a litter box without a cover and fill it with cat litter. The buddies, who love to dig, also look forward to a box of sand or earth and leaves to play with. Keep in mind that you have to prepare the entire apartment for ferrets. This means that all cables and sockets are secured, the shelves are best locked with books and other things and there must be nothing lying around that could be dangerous to the animals. They also like to hide in crevices and slits, so be careful when you sit on the sofa, turn on the washing machine or dryer. Before switching on, check that all your ferrets are safe.