The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Ferret
Updated on September 19, 2018
Have you ever considered have a ferret for a pet? You’re not alone; the ferret is fast growing in popularity as a pet in the United States. Some statistics even put ferrets as the third most popular pet in America, behind dogs and cats.
What is a ferret?
It seems like a strange question to ask, but it’s necessary to start from here. What is a ferret? We all “know” what a ferret is. It’s a rodent-like creature, but much cuter, and it kind of resembles a chipmunk or a squirrel.
That’s what an everyday response to that question might be. But let’s get into detail to study the ferret. Did you know that the better you understand your pet’s biology and history, the better connected you are to it? Learning about the nature of ferrets is a great way to forge a better relationship with them. So let’s get into it and learn about ferrets.
Where do ferrets come from?
First thing’s first: a ferret is not a rodent. Rodents are a family of mammals that include mice, squirrels, guinea pigs, hamsters, and a few other animals. Ferrets, however, come from a family known as Mustelidae. Mustelids include ferrets, otters, badgers, weasels, and wolverines. A distinguishing feature, besides their outward appearance, is that rodents have a single pair of sharp incisors (teeth), whereas ferrets have several and different types of teeth, much like a human.
The word “ferret” is derived from the Latin word furittus which means little thief. Though a little mean, it refers to the tendency of ferrets to secretly steal and run away with small items. Or that could be a stereotype, just like the stereotype of rodents being cheese thieves. But you’ll read more about ferret behavior later in this article and their tendency to “steal” items.
The mention of ferrets can date as far back as 2,500 years ago. However, vet the James States that archeologists have dates ferret remains to as far back as 1,500 B.C., which would make them over 3,500 years old. The origin of the ferret is said to have occurred in dynastic Egypt, and it was bred from the European polecat. They are biologically related to other creatures in the Mustelid family. Ferrets are tough animals; for thousands of years, they’ve been put on the frontline for hunting other animals because of their agility and dexterity.
Ferrets are highly intelligent and social animals. Contrary to popular belief, they are not rodents, but members of the family Mustelid, which also contains such animals as otters, minks, weasels, and polecats. Ferrets go through periods of extreme activity and extreme inactivity, so be prepared for both.
- Ferrets can sleep from 15 to 20 hours a day.
- When ferrets are awake, they love to interact with their owner(s) and potentially with other ferrets, though some animals may prefer to be the lone pet of the household.
- A ferret will need to come out of its cage to play and explore for at least a few hours every day. Each time you let your ferret out, you will need to make sure your residence is “ferret-proofed.” Make sure that electrical cords are out of the way and that your pet companion doesn’t have access to anything that could present a choking hazard. Keep them out of the houseplants they will be attracted to because they love to dig, and since the mischievous creatures like to steal shiny objects, make certain they’re in no position to steal your keys!
- Ferrets are quite funny and charming. They can be taught to fetch like a dog, and they have the happy dance that they do when let out of their cage, or when approached by their favorite people!
- Part of what makes ferrets good pets is that they can be caged and are quiet animals. They can also be trained to use a little box.
Owning a ferret legal or illegal?
Thing you have to know before going buying a ferret is finding out if it is legal to own one where you reside, be careful to check with your local department of wildlife, humane society, or a local veterinarian to find out whether ferrets are legal where you live, this can be done to avoid any problems later on.
Some areas of the United States are “ferret-free zones.” This means that it is illegal to keep a ferret as a pet in these areas. Some people are concerned that ferrets are wild animals, that they might spread rabies, or that if a ferret escapes into the wild, it can pose a threat to the animals in the wild.
California, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and some parts of Ohio, Minnesota, and Oklahoma all have laws preventing people from keeping pet ferrets. Other areas, such as Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, require a license to keep a ferret as a pet. Some of these licenses have a one-time or annual fee. Ferret lovers in many of these areas are working to change laws so that people are free to keep ferrets as pets.
How much does it cost to own a ferret?
The price of a ferret depends on their size and age. On average, they cost around $65 to $250. Aside from that, you will also have to purchase a few other items like a ferret food, ferret cage, litter box, ferret toys, deodorizing cleaners, etc. You will also need to budget for spaying or neutering your new pet.
Where is the best place to find your ferret
You can adopt or purchase a ferret from many places and many people. Where you go depends on your priorities, what you’re looking for, and how far you’re willing to go to get your ferret. Pet shops and breeders are the places to go for kits, though shelters and private individuals may have them at times. Shelters and private individuals will have your adults, but pet shops and breeders may often have adults up for sale on occasion as well.
To minimize the pains of introductions and to quarantine, if you opt for bringing home more than one ferret, consider getting them from the same source.
If you want to own a ferret, you will probably have more luck buying them from a breeder or a shelter instead of the pet store. This is because it takes some effort to care for these animals especially since they need constant attention.breeders are people who raise a particular type of ferrets to sell to other people. Ferret breeders can be a beautiful place to get a new pet ferret.
For those who happen to find a breeder using either the newspaper or the web, it is best to ask for photos. If you like it, you will have to fill in some forms and then pay for it, and it's all ready to be taken home on the same day.
One of the most common places to find a ferret is a pet store. Pet stores often have ferrets available at all times, and they should have a staff of knowledgeable people willing to answer any questions you may have about their ferrets, where they came from, how to care for them, and any special requirements.
Sometimes ferrets sold at pet stores are already spayed or neutered and descent. Make sure the ferrets at a pet store have a clean cage and fresh food and water. You want to look for signs that their animals are taken care of.
Check the classified section of your local newspaper to find a ferret breeder near you. You can also look for breeders on the Internet. Sometimes breeders who specialize in ferrets can be more knowledgeable about ferrets than some employees at big pet stores that sell different types of pets. Like pet stores, breeders should keep their pets in a clean environment and should be able to answer any questions you might have about ferrets.
Sometimes a ferret owner can no longer take care of it and must give it up. Other ferrets may start out sick and need to be nursed back to health before finding a family to live with. Rescue organizations can help these ferrets find a new place to call home. Sometimes rescue organizations will have baby ferrets, and others will be fully grown adults.
Adult ferrets might be tamer than playful younger ones. Older ferrets also might be trained already, which can be an advantage. If you decide to get a ferret from a rescue organization or shelter, spend a little extra time with the ferret before committing.
Sometimes ferrets from other households have personality quirks that could be more difficult to change than in a young ferret, so you want to make sure you find a ferret whose personality matches yours.
How to choose a ferret that is healthy and good personality
If you’re new to ferret ownership, it’s essential to select a healthy ferret with a pleasant personality to bring into your home. Only someone more experienced in ferret care should have the confidence to care for a ferret that needs particular attention. The following list presents some tips to keep in mind when shopping for your new fuzzy friend:
Females are called either jill (unspayed) or sprites (spayed). Males are called either hobs (unneutered) or gibs (neutered). Each has their advantages; Females typically are smaller and daintier than males. As boy ferrets mature, they tend to become more cuddly and couch-potato-ish. Females tend to remain more squirmish, as though they’d rather be anywhere else than in your loving grasp.
Should be soft, shiny, and full. The ferret should have no patches of missing fur.
Ferret eyes should be bright and bright. No discharge should be coming from the eyes, ears, or nose.
Ferrets can be purchased at any age. If you want to raise a newborn ferret, make sure to ask the breeder about animal care. Although these cute little creatures can already see, their vision is limited to a certain distance. You have to keep this clean at all times to prevent injuries.
ferret colors should be your last deciding factor because many coat colors and patterns tend to change and lighten over time.
When you are picking out your new pet, you want to find one that is healthy. Ferret underside should be clean and healthy looking. Look for signs of diarrhea or bloating, which can be evidence of parasites or illness. Some ferrets may be sick or need medical attention that can cost a lot of money. Look for ferrets with bright, alert eyes. Healthy ferrets should not have runny mucus around their eyes, nose, or ears. The fur should be smooth and shiny without any bald patches.
When you are choosing a ferret, you want to find one that seems like it has a good personality. Ferrets can be funny little creatures, with a range of common behaviors that can seem confusing to people.
One such action is shivering. When ferrets wake up from sleeping or are let out of their cage, they may begin to shake and tremble. But this does not mean ferrets are cold or scared. When a ferret is shivering, it is probably excited to start playing. You should notice that after a few minutes, ferrets stop shaking and continue to play busily.
If a ferret is shivering at the pet store or breeder, it does not mean that ferret is afraid of you or fearful in general. The ideal ferret is inquisitive when you approach; ferret doesn’t cower or run to a hiding place.
The ferret should be jumpy and playful. Don’t view nipping in a young ferret as a warning sign. Nipping is typical for a youngster. However, you should avoid a ferret that bites aggressively out of fear. You should be able to recognize the difference. Problem ferrets hang on when they eat and draw blood.
Young ferrets sometimes nip lightly bite people or other animals. It is important not to encourage this behavior so that your ferret does not think it is fun to bite.
However, it is normal for kits to nip, and does not necessarily mean the ferret will grow up to be a mean adult. Adults, on the other hand, are entirely different but just the same, they have to toilet trained, and your home has to be ferret proof to prevent damage to your home.
Just like with any other pet, you will need to do some research and preparation before adopting a ferret, to make sure it’s a pet that fits into your way of living and you have all supplies needed to care for ferret. If you decide that a ferret is a right pet for you, you will no doubt be endlessly enchanted by the smart, playful, and loving newcomer to your household.
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