Determining the age of your ferret without knowing precisely its date of birth is not easy. A few benchmarks will nevertheless allow you to make assumptions.
When can a ferret’s weight help estimate an animal’s age?
The growth of a ferret is very fast. We give you below a range of the evolution of the weight of ferrets according to the sex and the age of the animal. It goes without saying that this is an order of magnitude and that it is only valid for the first months of the ferret’s life, provided that it is in good health.
Ferrets that are poorly weaned, undernourished, or fed foods that are not suitable (the ferret is a strict carnivore and a diet based on anything other than meat weighs on its good health) will not follow the same weight progression. . Worse, their growth never ends: at 3 months, the animal no longer grows or gains weight. Sometimes the ferret will grow for a few more weeks, but the final height and weight is no match for healthy ferrets.
It is the same for a ferret called “bottom of litter”, this term designating the youngest of a litter: even by feeding it beyond its needs, it does not catch up with its growth delay compared to its. brothers and sisters.
This logic is also the same for a ferret born outside the breeding season, or which has not reached 3 months by the end of summer. The assimilation of food is done differently because in winter, the body favors the production of fat over growth. Moreover, ferrets born out of season do not benefit from breast milk of the same quality as that of milk produced in the spring.
Weight range according to age at the start of life
A male ferret, fed in sufficient quantity and with suitable food, reaches its adult size at the age of 3 and a half months. A ferret, it reaches its adult size 1 month earlier, that is to say around the age of 2 and a half months.
Weaning ferrets begins at 6 weeks, concerns the largest of babies, and lasts for the next 2 weeks.
Here are orders of magnitude to help you ensure a male ferret’s normal weight gain. It can also be used to estimate the age of a young ferret:
- At 6 weeks, the animal’s weight is between 350 and 500 g,
- At 7 weeks, it is between 550 and 650 g. It is estimated that at this age, the ferret has reached approximately 40% of its final weight and 60% of its adult size,
- At 8 weeks, a ferret weighs between 700 and 800 g,
- At 9 weeks, he weighs between 800 and 950 g,
- At 10 weeks, he weighs between 950 g and 1.2 kg,
- At 12 weeks, he weighs at least 1.3 kg.
- At 6 weeks, the animal weighs between 270 and 350 g,
- At 7 weeks, he weighs between 400 and 500 g,
- At 8 weeks, he weighs between 500 and 650 g,
- At 9 weeks, he weighs between 650 and 750 g.
- Below the age of 6 months, the canines are white and quite opaque,
- Between 6 months and 1 year, the tips of the canines become transparent,
- From 1 to 2 years old, the tips of the canines are completely transparent and the teeth have tinted, becoming off-white,
- From 2 to 3 years, transparency gains the upper third of the canine, making visible part of the internal structure of the tooth,
- From 3 to 4 years old, the whole tooth has become slightly transparent. A yellowish reflection is visible over its entire surface,
- From 4 to 5 years old, the lower third of the canine has in turn become transparent,
- From 5 to 6 years old, the whole canine is yellow and transparent and the internal structure of the tooth is clearly visible. It is possible that the ferret has lost some small teeth in the back of the mouth,
- The transparency of the tooth continues to progress until it becomes completely transparent, if the animal is lucky enough to live long enough.
Here are weight benchmarks for judging the age of a healthy ferret:
When autumn arrives, the body of the young ferret, whatever its sex, will only be fat in order to prepare for the cold winter. This corresponds to about 40% more weight.
Other physiological landmarks
It was only around the age ofa month, that a ferret opens a first eye, not opening the second until a few days later.
The ferret comes into the world without teeth. Milk teeth appear in the ferret’s mouth around the age of 15 days. There will be 30 of them. The final teeth will then appear between the 46th and the 74th day. The mouth of an adult ferret has 34 teeth which are normally all present by the age of 8 weeks.
Below, you will find guidelines to help you assess the age of your ferret based on the appearance of its teeth. To do this, you must take the animal with you and observe its canines, the four long teeth that are located at the front of the dentition. Used to shred meat, they are also very sharp.
Our indications concern teeth clean and healthy. It is important to check your ferret’s teeth regularly to ensure his oral hygiene and to identify any problems as soon as possible. Substantial tartar deposits must be removed to limit any inflammation of the gums. In addition, they give bad breath to the ferret and can even lead the animal to stop feeding in the most serious cases. It happens that the ferret breaks its teeth. As long as the pulp of the tooth is not affected, the ferret will not suffer, but this can promote the deposit of tartar.
Observing teeth takes practice and it is not obvious whether you will be able to derive information from your observations if this is the first time you have looked at a ferret’s teeth. Veterinarians know how to do this exercise and will be better able to assess the age of the ferret by this method than you.
A ferret in good health and whose weaning period has been respected can expect to live between 7 and 9 years. This animal therefore reaches the equivalent of our 3rd age around the age of 7 years. But from the age of 4, we can observe a decrease in activity and a lengthening of his sleep periods. With advancing age, the ferret’s joints are less flexible; it therefore has more difficulty in moving. Its daily life will be easier if you arrange the spaces it uses, and in particular by making it easier to access the litter and the tray in which it cleans itself. His diet must also be modified to adapt to his state of health. The hairs also become progressively more brittle on the tail and the lower half of their body.