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FERRET

Lifespan: 7-10 Years
Size: Females:up to 3 lbs.
Males: 3-5 lbs.
Sexual Maturity: 3 months old.
Gestation: 42 days
Litter Size: 6-8
Weaned: 6-8 weeks old

FOOD

  • Ferrets are carnivores and should only be fed a diet specific minimum of 26% protein content is recommended.
  • We do not recommend using commercial kitten food as a common diet for ferrets (this was common long before commercial ferret diets were available).
  • Treats may consist of:
    • Prepackaged ferret treats
  • Avoid these foods:
    • Chocolate & other candy
    • Onions

Caging & Environment

  • Ferrets enjoy a large, spacious cage with multiple levels. The cage should also have a door that latches tightly to prevent escape.
  • Caging should include a ceramic food bowl, water bottle, hammock, and litter pan.

Behavior/Handling

  • Ferrets rarely bite, but very young ferrets may nip because they are teething.
  • Always pick up a ferret by supporting its entire body. Squirming is normal at first, but make sure the entire body is supported – dropping a ferret can cause severe injury.
  • When a ferret is startled, scared or excited, their tail will get very puffy – this is called “bottlebrush”. Sometimes, they will bottlebrush during playtime.
  • Happy ferrets will also exhibit a “dance” of sorts: jumping around from side to side, flipping on the floor, bouncing and sometimes opening his or her mouth during the display and make various sounds. This is normal play behavior for ferrets.
  • Ferrets can be litter box trained. They will use a corner of the cage to eliminate in. Once you see this behavior, place a high corner litter box in that spot and put some of the excrement in the litter box (filled with a pelleted litter). The ferret will start to use the litter box to eliminate in (very young ferrets may take some time to catch on – patience is a must).
  • Ferrets have a scent gland like skunks do, but are de-scented (scent gland is removed) before they are sold commercially. Many people consider their ferret to "stink" because they have high concentration of oils in their skin and therefore emit a "ferret odor". Bathing a ferret too frequently can actually increase the odor. Once a month baths are ideal, using a ferret deodorizing spray in between baths.