Choosing Your Ferret

Ferret in the Bidet

Getting the right Ferret

Choosing a ferret naturally implies a certain emotional commitment. But there are several objective factors that you can consider to help you in your decision.

Age is one of the primary factors a future ferret owner will need to consider. Older ferrets might be already litter or bite trained. If they are, that could be an advantage. However, younger ferrets, like any pet, will not have formed any specific attachments. Having them attach to you can start those bonds forming early.

But training needs will be much higher with a younger ferret. They require much more care. They will require inoculations and litter training, and a lot of attention. Ferrets are not hamsters. Left all day long to their own devices, they can become unruly and unhappy.

‘Unhappy’ may seem an odd term to some to apply to an animal very different from a dog or cat. But ferrets are domesticated and can bond with their companion, whether human or another ferret. Left alone, they have no outlet. There are some exceptions, however. Older, non-neutered males will frequently revert to wild characteristics. They may exhibit what is known as ‘same sex exclusivity’ and seek to isolate themselves from other non-neutered males. You may want to consider getting more than one.

That leads to the second consideration. Should you spay or neuter your ferret? Unless you are an experienced ferret breeder, it’s best to leave that to the experts. Breeding dogs is difficult enough. Ferrets are much harder. It requires considerable knowledge and can lead to great expense. That may be a legitimate long-term goal, but one that should be worked up to.

Which sex?

Males are slightly larger, about 18 inches and around 3-5 pounds. Females, on average, are slightly smaller – about 15 inches with correspondingly smaller weight. Once spayed or neutered, ferrets of both sexes get along fine. Males play and mock-fight with females as much as they do with males and vice versa. But males do have a slightly higher tendency to spray, if they haven’t had their anal scent glands removed.

Incidence of disease is about the same in both neutered males and spayed females. However, non-spayed females will of course raise special concerns. They come into heat seasonally from March to August. If they don’t mate, they can remain in heat for almost six months.

Apart from their cycle, females can also suffer from the usual higher incidence of tumors as a result of raised levels of hormones. But males, too, have their own risks in this regard, so the numbers are not radically different between the two sexes.

Such considerations as color and individual personality are completely personal preferences, of course. But keep in mind that one choice, albinos, can create the need for special care. Like other albinos, they can suffer from vision problems. They are also more easily preyed on, if they get loose where the dog or cat can get to them.

Provided you practice proper care for your ferret, you can hardly go wrong, though. It’s easy to see why these friendly, funny animals became a favorite domestic pet. They’re terrific!

About the Author

Paul
Paul writes small pet articles as a hobby. He lives in the Italian Alps with his long suffering partner and two very spoilt cats...

6 Comments on "Choosing Your Ferret"

  1. i want a ferret but my parents wont let me have one even know i take care of all the pets we have

  2. i want a ferret soooo bad. my boyfriend is ferret-sitting and it is the cutest thing ever! i know i cant have one now because my mom wouldnt let me, but once i get my own place im getting a girl ferret.

  3. Ferrets are very cute and very entertaining pets. However, they can be a handful. If they are free to roam they will get into everything! Plan on ferret proofing your house. Think carefully before you get one. I am not trying to discourage you just prepare you. I have three free roaming and am considering a fourth.

  4. I really wanted a hedgehog but they are very hard to find im considering a ferret but im nervous for the smell

  5. wendy brock | 15/09/2012 at 6:11 am |

    I had a female ferret and she was the best, I got her when she was a baby and it was just me and her. I’d take her to school with me and she would get out of her cage, go around to the third graders in my class-get cherrios and go back to her bed. Bandette was a great joy.

  6. CocoaJ.P.N | 25/11/2015 at 4:23 pm |

    SO for Christmas this year I may be getting a ferret. I convinced my dad, now I need to convince my mom I WANT A FERRET SO BAD they are sooooo cute!

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