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Choosing Ferrets as Pets

Choosing ferrets as pets can be fun and rewarding. Pet ferrets are high-energy bundles of joy, but need good care from informed owners. Most ferrets are fairly excitable animals, especially in unfamiliar settings or when faced with unfamiliar odors. Mainly nocturnal animals, ferrets can sleep as much as 18 hours a day and then spend the other six hours making up for lost time.

When choosing ferrets as pets, it is important to take your home situation into careful consideration. Some ferrets get along well with other ferrets, as well as with other pets such as cats and dogs. Some ferrets, however, do not get along with other animals at all. Always be sure to supervise your ferret around other animals and do not try to get your ferret to socialize with smaller animals like mice or hamsters, as this does not usually work. Children should always be supervised around ferrets, for the safety of both. Children may be unaware of the careful handling that ferrets require; when frightened, ferrets may bite.

Before choosing ferrets as pets, be sure you have the time, energy, and space to deal with the animal responsibly. A ferret requires a cage with enough room to move freely, and space for litter box, food bowl and water bottle. Ferrets are small, very energetic, and highly curious, which makes for a fun pet but can present challenges for effective pet-proofing. Start by following the same general guidelines you would for baby-proofing your home and then go even further, keeping in mind that ferrets can fit into small spaces such as between furniture cushions and under your washer or dryer. Some localities, most notably New York City, have bans on ferret ownership; be sure to look into any applicable regulations before choosing ferrets as pets.

Consider the health care and grooming needed when choosing ferrets as pets. Ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies and distemper, and should see the vet annually. Try to find a vet with experience dealing with ferrets. Your ferret will need his nails clipped every week or two, his ears checked for mites weekly and gently cleaned regularly, and have his teeth cleaned regularly (either by you or your vet). Bathing should not be done too frequently, as this may dry your ferret’s skin, but a bath every few months is generally in order. The life expectancy of a ferret is around six to eight years, although some live as long as eleven or twelve years. As with any animal, choosing ferrets as pets should never be done on a whim, but with careful consideration.