Ferrets are not your average family pet but they are lovable creatures that can bring excitement into your life. Unfortunately, not many ferrets get adopted.
That is why April was selected as Adopt a Ferret month, one way to spread the word and educate people about ferrets. Here’s Noah’s Animal Hospitals Tom Dock with more:
Ferrets are relatives of weasels, minks, and skunks in a family known as the Mustelids. These animals are NOT related to rodents and have been domesticated as pets for more than 2,500 years! Surveys estimate that more than 800,000 ferrets live as pets here in the US.
- These pets are carnivores, just like our domestic cats and interactions between ferrets and other pet members of the household needs to be strictly monitored. Small household rodents or pet birds might be killed (often accidentally) and dogs can unwilling injure the petite ferrets.
- A male ferret is known as a “hob” and a female is known as a “jill”. Most ferrets sold as pets have already been neutered and neutered pets are known as “gibs” (males) or “sprites” (females). Young ferrets are known as “kits” and a group of ferrets is known as “a business”
- Like our dogs and cat friends, ferrets need interaction for mental, emotional, and physical stimulation. These are not pets that can be left in a cage at all times. Just like 20+ hours in a crate is a poor life for a puppy, the same can be said for these long, limber, and athletic creatures. Ferrets are social creatures, so having more than one should be considered.
- Like some of their Mustelid cousins, ferrets can have a rather musky odor. Here in the US, most pet ferrets are sold with the anal glands removed (“descented”) and will have little odor if kept in a clean cage and fed an appropriate diet.
- Speaking of diets, ferrets are obligate carnivores, just like our feline friends. This means that they must have meat in their diet and, unlike cats, don’t really tolerate higher levels of carbohydrates very well. Don’t try to shortcut their nutritional needs by feeding cat food…a high-quality ferret specific diet will be much better.
- If you are considering a ferret, you should plan for this pet to be part of your household for 7-10 years. These pets are experts at sneakiness and you may need to consider how to best “Ferret-proof” some areas of your home. The good news…ferrets can be trained to urinate and defecate in certain areas, making clean up a little easier.
- Like dogs and cats here in Indiana, ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies and many veterinarians will also recommend vaccinating against canine distemper. Ferrets seem to be very susceptible to upper respiratory viruses, like flu viruses and the on-going novel coronavirus, so you will need to take care not to handle them if you are sick.
To learn more, visit http://www.supportourshelters.org/Adopt_a_Ferret.html.