They’re one of our favorite animals. Nothing else is quite as energetic, as playful, and as full of life as the ferret!
The pet ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is a hybridized and domesticated animal, thought to come from the European polecat and the Steppe polecat. They’re obligate carnivores, meaning, like cats, they must eat meat (and should never have sugar). In the wild they are incredible hunters, tenacious and brave and not shying from large prey, although mice, voles, and rabbits make up most of their diet. In captivity, they eat a high protein, high fat, and low carbohydrate diet. Because of this, their digestive tract is incredibly short and they must eat often. They have been domesticated for thousands of years, used to hunt and eliminate mice, rats, and rabbits.
Ferrets are related to skunks and badgers and although they have been descented, they do still have a faint smell. It’s easily countered, though, by using towels in their cage, sprayed with scent neutralizing sprays like PureAyre; as they crawl and play through it it reduces any odor.
One of the most endearing things ferrets do is something called the “weasel war dance”. It’s thought to be a hunting technique the native species use to dazzle and confuse prey, but with out pet ferrets it looks like nothing more than an invitation to play! It seems like they’re just happy being alive!
They do need to live in a good sized cage. Give them lots of things to play with, especially tunnels, tubes, and hammocks. Sturdy cat toys can be offered to give them things to play with. And boy do ferrets love to play! They need plenty of time outside of their cage, too, in a play gym or, even better, in a ferret-proof safe room. Keeping them on a harness will help control them and prevent them from getting into places they should’t. They do like to get into mischief, chewing up and stealing anything that catches their fancy.
We have our ferret care sheet on our website; check it out for all the details you need to know, and stop by to meet these incredibly friendly companions and see why they’re one of our favorites.