Scientific Name: Mustela putorius furo
Originates From: Europe
Average Adult Size: 18-24 inches in length, 1-4 pounds
Average Lifespan: 7-9 years
As members of the weasel family and closely related to the European Polecat, the Ferret is a natural at pouncing and tunneling. Ferrets are fun-loving, energetic, social animals who love rough-housing with other Ferrets and playing with their caregivers. Much like a puppy, when not running rampant, Ferrets take many short naps amounting to nearly 18 hours of sleep each day. Their scientific name is derived from the Latin, furonem, meaning “thief”, which accurately describes their tendency to borrow shiny objects (or any other items that appeal to them) and stash them in a secret hiding place. It’s not uncommon to lift the corner of the couch to find a stockpile of socks, stuffed animals, or your missing keys! All Zamzows Ferrets are de-scented and neutered – males and females can be housed together with no surprises! These comical and energetic animals make for exceptional pets.
Ferrets love to climb and tunnel. Multi-level cages with more height than floor space are the best cage options. The minimum size wire cage for a single adult Ferret should be 30.5”x18”x30.5”, but bigger is better. Ferrets love to be housed with a companion. If housing more than one Ferret, be sure to provide a larger enclosure. Wire cages with a solid bottom allow for ventilation while containing loose, paper-based bedding. Bedding choices include Clean and Cozy, CareFresh, or fleece (like puppies, don’t be surprised if the Ferret chews the fleece material over time). Provide many toys of various shapes, sizes, and textures to keep them entertained. Hammocks make great napping places and can be added to any wire cage. Provide a hut such as a plastic Igloo, Woodland Hideaway, or Chewbulars, as another napping location and climbing opportunity. You may tuck treats, like Bandits treats, into Kongs and JW Hol-EE Rollers to further keep them stimulated. Because Ferrets choose a corner of their enclosure for potty purposes, place a Hi-Corner litter pan in that corner and use a litter that is different from their bedding (such as Crown Animal pellets). Ferrets are quick to litter box train. Since almost all of the smell associated with a de-scented Ferret is from their solid waste, daily scoop the litter pan and have a virtually odor-free pet. Ferrets need lots of interaction and need to exercise outside of the cage. Daily handle your Ferret and allow them to roam supervised areas of the house with the door to the cage open to allow access to the litter pan. Provide a heavy, ceramic food dish (the heavier the less likely they will knock it over and spill the food) as well as a glass water bottle (withstands chewing).
Lighting and Heating
Ferrets do well at room temperature (65-75ºF). Keep the cage away from drafty areas. Provide an approximate 12-hour photoperiod using natural light or household lights, turning them off at night to simulate a day and night cycle.
Ferrets perform well in Idaho humidity and do not require modifications.
Like cats, Ferrets are obligate carnivores and must have a meat-based diet. High-quality Ferret food should be the staple (feed according to product guidelines). Do not feed cat foods, which are great protein sources, but, unfortunately, lack the added Ferret mineral pack only available in Ferret feeds. Meat treats, such as Bandits, can be given on occasion and can be used to reinforce leash training, tricks, or learned behaviors. Change the water in the bottle daily.
Bathe Ferrets as necessary, but no more than twice per month – more frequent bathing can lead to dry skin or even overstimulate oil production, which leads to an oily, smelly coat. Trim the tip of the toenails as needed with sharp nail trimmers (usually every 2-3 weeks).