The ferret is an animal that is enjoying increasing success in French families. New pet, the ferret can not however be adopted lightly. Here are 7 things to know before welcoming one into your home.
1 – The ferret is a demanding animal
The adoption of a ferret, an animal full of energy, requires a major reorganization of housing and lifestyles. Welcoming a ferret into your home has a far more impact on the life of the household than a cat or a dog. Especially since a ferret lives between 5 and 10 years. It is therefore important, for the welfare of the animal, toto anticipate as much as possible the foreseeable events that could occur (such as the birth of a child) and to make sure that the life of the household will remain compatible with the presence of the ferret.
If, despite the warnings, you realize too late that the ferret cannot integrate serenely into your daily life and that you have to separate yourself from it, know that this animal cannot be released into the wild. You must entrust it to an association that collects ferrets because it is an animal that only exists in the domestic state. Also, it is unable to survive in the wild.
2 – The ferret sleeps a lot
A ferret sleeps between 4 pm and 8 pm a day. For comparison, a cat sleeps 16 hours. The ferret is therefore a big sleeper! But when the ferret is awake, there is no question that it will spend its 4 to 8 hours of waking locked in its cage. He needs a lot of space to thrive. But not only: he also needs to be taken care of. When the ferret is awake, therefore, it is necessary to play with it, take it for a walk, etc. If it is difficult for you to play the role of playmate on a daily basis, it is possible to welcome a couple of ferrets, learning about the precautions to take if you do not want to raise ferret babies.
3 – The ferret does not have a developed awareness of danger
The ferret is a very curious animal, instinctively nosy, which regularly exposes it to danger. Relentlessly exploring its environment, it can move in places unlikely to us, such as the washing machine, the underside of rugs or cushions … vigilance household members must therefore be constant, to avoid injuring the ferret or even worse. And this does not prove to be very compatible with the presence of young children who have great difficulty in ensuring their own safety.
4 – The ferret must be educated
Ferrets are very stubborn animals. If it is not possible to transform his character, it is on the other hand important not to waste time in instilling in him cleanliness and social behaviors. From the age of two months, it is necessary to install a routine in the relations with the animal to make him integrate gently the good behaviors to adopt. It takes time: you will have to be patient! This animal does not understand at all the corporal punishments which would only be counterproductive if they were implemented. Only the diagrams ofpositive education can bear fruit.
In any case, over time, you will learn to decipher the different signals that a ferret can emit: high-pitched cries that express fear or worry, gnashing of teeth that encourage you to stay at a safe distance, leaps when it wants. to play…
5 – The ferret gives off a strong odor
When we love an animal, we love it as a whole, for its qualities and its faults. Ferrets have a fairly strong smell that not everyone likes it: it is essential that you really confront it before deciding to adopt one.
The removal of the anal glands has for a time been identified as an intervention to remove this odor. Now banned in Europe, apart from any curative context, because it has proven to be completely ineffective, it is however still carried out in the United States on very young ferrets. So you will make a good deed by carefully selecting the breeding farm from which the ferret you buy.
The smell is related to a substance produced by the sebaceous glands to protect the skin. And excessive washing does not change anything: the characteristic smell of the ferret is a characteristic that must be accepted as it is.
6 – The ferret is a carnivore
Here is another characteristic that can be disturbing: the ferret is carnivorous. This means that it mainly feeds on meat. There is no consensus on the most favorable diet for ferrets. Some advocate all meat (the Barf diet) while others believe that 33% of protein is sufficient, provided that it is protein of animal origin. On this point too, it is important to be clear: if you love an animal, you accept it in the reality of its nature. If this type of diet is inconvenient, you might as well not adopt a ferret.
7 – Sterilization is essential
Ferrets, whether male or female, have a behavior that is difficult to bear during the breeding season. Their smell is a little more pronounced and their hair becomes fatter. If the females show themselves only a little more cuddly, the males, them, seek to reproduce with insistence, even with animals which are not ferrets, and this during all the duration of the rut, that is to say nearly 9 months of the year.
The biggest problem with the natural reproductive mechanisms in ferrets concerns females. Indeed, once the heat is triggered, only mating can stop it. Otherwise it is the death of the animal which occurs after a few months. Sterilization is therefore essential. But it must be done in good conditions.
In the United States, ferrets are spayed too early, before the age of two months, which dramatically shortens their life expectancy. The respectful breeders wait until the female ferret reaches the age of 6 months, and that the male exceeds 6 months a little, to carry out the operation. Another solution is becoming more and more widespread for females: it is the placement of hormonal implants, a less burdensome intervention for the animal. For males, castration remains necessary.