When one wishes to adopt a ferret, it is above all an act of courage and an act of rescue: indeed, the ferret thus collected must surely have been abandoned or left to an animal protection association and like any commitment, it sometimes requires reflection to make sure of the choice one makes. But when the decision is made, when one feels ready, then one must go ahead while being aware of certain criteria to adopt it, to live with it, to raise it well, etc.
But when the decision is made, when you feel ready, then you have to go for it while being aware of certain criteria to adopt it, to live with it, to raise it well, etc. First of all, it is important to know that a ferret lives an average of 9 to 10 years and that it is a very playful animal whose character is very similar to that of a kitten who wants to discover everything, who always wants to have fun and who, consequently, will take a malicious pleasure to put life in his master’s house.
Adopting a ferret brings with it responsibilities of which we must be fully aware.
The ferret has a singular, musky smell and you have to recognize and support it to live with this small animal.
It is an animal that retains its hunting instincts all the time, it bites and even bites quite often (especially if it is not well known) and that is why it is not recommended for young children.
The ferret adores… to ferret, that is to say that he likes to go everywhere, to put his nose in other people’s business, to discover, and nonsense is never very far away. Being very active, he must be able to run in all directions and can easily cohabit with animals bigger than him like dogs or cats, but it is not advisable for him to cohabit with other rodents because it awakens his hunting instincts.
How to tame it?
It is important to know that the ferret needs a lot of affection, that it requires attentive care and a lot of availability as a dog or a cat would do otherwise. While a cage is often proposed for the ferret, he does not like to be locked up permanently because his desire to discover, to search, to play is stronger than anything else: this is why many people take him for a walk at the end of a leash, for example, to let his instinct express itself fully, at least once a day.
The ferret, for all these reasons and its incredible need to ferret, cannot be left alone in the wild because it would cause serious havoc in a habitat. Extremely active, he never stops: he runs, he plays, he climbs, he hunts, he searches, he bites. If you are not sure you can hold it in your hands, it is best to avoid doing so because sudden gestures from a human could frighten the animal, which would then defend itself by biting it, for example.
The ferret is a small and very intelligent mustelid which recognizes its master and it will behave differently with strangers so if it seems “distant” with one or the other, it is just because it mocks the person, man is rarely the primary source of its interests.
But to get his attention, he can be coaxed with toys: if you take time to play with him, the ferret will consider the person as “special” and trust will be established between him and the person. In order for him to understand that we are calling him, don’t hesitate to associate his name with a little whistle for example because he will be more sensitive to it.
In the same way; when the ferret does something good like (finally) using its litter box or answering its name, do not hesitate to reward it with a treat so that it associates the gesture and the reward with something positive: thus, as time goes by, the ferret will get used to all these attentions and a true relationship can be established in all tranquility.
As far as litter is concerned, the way it works remains the same: while the ferret sees its litter box as a play area, the bottom of the box must be lined with newspaper to make cleaning easier and when it is caught doing its business somewhere else than in the litter box, it is immediately placed on top so that it can combine its needs with the litter. The litter must not be cleaned systematically because it must keep some “traces”, some smells of the animal for him to identify it.
As previously mentioned, ferrets love to run around but must be absolutely supervised: a harness or a leash are excellent accessories in this situation.
Finally, when it comes to feeding, ferrets digest quite poorly anything that is not adapted to their body, except animal proteins. Fruits and vegetables can be tempted occasionally. When choosing a ferret, it is important to choose an animal with bright eyes, expressive, lively and curious behaviour. Its coat should be shiny and soft, showing a sign of good health.
Even though the ferret is a small animal, it still requires equipment to keep it healthy and happy and to “relieve” its playful and furry temperament.
In particular, we can think of :
- A bowl: of course, so that he can feed himself and this bowl must be heavy enough so that he doesn’t knock it over while playing.
- A rabbit gourd or a small bowl riveted to the ground so that it does not spill either. The container should always be full because ferrets drink a lot.
- Sheets for his cage: Instead of lining the bottom of his cage with wood shavings that could injure him because he swallows them, the sheet ensures his safety.
- A hammock or a small tunnel: the more the ferret can play and run through obstacles, the happier it will be.
- Rubber toys and stuffed animals.
- A shampoo: it may seem surprising but it is useful to wash it. However, it should be used sparingly because its skin could dry out.
- A nail clipper or nail clippers.
- Tools, devices to camouflage access to flower pots and other decorative objects in the house because the ferret loves above all to dig and dig, so it is necessary to be careful.
- Harness and a leash.
- Feeding: Some ferrets eat soft food such as pâté and others are used to kibble. There are also treats suitable for ferrets. In any case, do not hesitate to seek advice from a specialist in a pet shop for example.