A Ferret in the House: What's It Like to Live With One?

Ferrets are fun, playful, and sometimes mischievous members of the weasel family. They've been kept as pets for thousands of years. In addition to being cuddly companions, ferrets have been kept as working animals, used to hunt burrowing animals and lay electrical wire in hard-to-reach places. Like all pets, your ferret will require adequate housing, food, and a safe environment.

There are several different ferret types, but only one makes a good pet: Mustela furo. On average, they grow between 1 and 5 pounds. Males are hobs, females are jills, babies are kits, and a group of ferrets are referred to as a business. They're not nocturnal, but they sleep for about 18 hours a day. If you don't pay attention to them during the day by playing with them, walking them, and letting them exercise, you run the risk of encouraging a ferret who will be active and noisy at night time.

Housing

Your pet ferret should never be left to run loose in the house unsupervised. They love to access small spaces, which means they can hide in creases of the couch or recliner, chew on electrical wires behind appliances, and get into wall spaces. They should have a spacious cage with plenty of toys, food, and water, a litter box, bedding and different levels for sleeping and playing.

Food

Ferrets are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. The ferret diet is high in animal protein and fat. They don't absorb nutrients from fruits and vegetables very well, and they imprint on food during the first four months of their life, which can make them picky eaters.

Health Care

Just like a dog or cat, ferrets need to go to the veterinarian. Make sure you choose a vet who has experience with ferrets. Your ferret will need a rabies vaccination. Also, ferrets can catch colds and flus from humans, and you can catch it from them, so be careful.

For more on ferrets, including treats and diets, look to United Pet Group.