The ferret, a mustelid already domesticated in Antiquity, has long existed in the wild. If it is an animal that sleeps a lot and deeply (up to 15 hours a day), it does however find it difficult to remain locked in the cage during its waking periods. Also, we tell you everything you need to know about how to organize his space and what accessories you can give him so that he can live fully and in good health the 8 to 10 years of life he has ahead of him. .
Indoor or outdoor?
Ferrets are animals that can live outdoors. However, he fears the Air Currents, but also high temperatures. In fact, the ferret is free from sweat glands, just like the pig. He is therefore unable to regulate his body temperature in hot weather. The ferret has not adopted the pig strategy of rolling around in the mud; it is therefore particularly sensitive to dehydration when temperatures exceed 32 ° C. It is up to you to watch over it by placing it in the shade and cooling it. We must therefore carefully choose the location of its habitat.
The cage and other options for the ferret
Ferrets are lively animals that need a lot of exercise. Its cage must therefore be large and have different spaces. Regardless of the size of the cage, you will need to take it out regularly, 2-3 times a day.
Your ferret’s habitat should be at least 2 meters long, 1 meter high and 1 meter wide. The cage closure system must be complicated to handle (like child safety systems) because the ferret is a cunning animal that has demonstrated its ability to open its cage door on its own.
The choice of materials is made according to the cleaning constraints: a wooden floor plastic hard, easy to clean, is the best. The spacing between the bars will be small enough that the ferret’s fine body does not pass. Wood which absorbs urine and will quickly smell bad is to be avoided, as are cages with glass walls (terrarium type) because the ventilation is too weak to allow your ferret to breathe well.
If you choose to set up your ferret’s cage outside, think about it as a digging animal. You will therefore need to secure the space by driving the mesh into the ground or lining the floor with mesh. For outdoor installations, it is best to check with the town hall to find out exactly what you are allowed to do.
You can also choose to set up your ferret in a park, similar to children’s playpens. Attention to the spacing of the bars is the same as for the cage. But unlike children, ferrets are good climbers : it is therefore preferable to close the park (also with netting). You should not give your ferret a chance to interfere in any gap. Also check that the place is not exposed to drafts.
The compartments of the ferret’s habitat
There are 4 different spaces:
- one for meals,
- one for rest,
- one for the droppings,
- and one for the game.
The dining area contains the food and water bowls. These must be heavy or, more radical, fixed: because the ferret loves to overturn them. This animal gives enough work without adding more! You should make sure that the water stays clean by changing it at least twice a day.
The area dedicated to rest will be occupied by your ferret between 10 and 15 hours a day. It must be comfortable and warm, while ensuring the choice of the layer: hammocks, fabric tunnels, cardboard or wooden box lined with pieces of fabric, an old T-shirt,… The ferret will appreciate being able to vary the pleasures.
The area dedicated to droppings will be placed in a corner because the ferret defecates by pressing its hind legs against the walls. If you are using a litter box, it should have raised edges and be secured against a wall. The ideal litter absorbs odors and makes it possible to remove every day only the parts soiled by urine. You will only fully clean the bin once a week.
The play area should have ladders, tunnels and hammocks. You can also provide him with games; cat toys will suit him very well. But be careful, remember that these toys will not replace your presence and that you must devote time to your ferret, otherwise he may perish.
Ferrets are mischievous animals
The ferret’s mischievous temperament is undoubtedly what contributes to its success. But this has consequences: its owner must absolutely to secure the area where it operates.
If you let your ferret roam around your home, which is highly recommended, you will need to be extra careful when moving. Loving to sneak in tight places, it can, for example, be hidden under a cushion or a corner of a rug: you have to be careful before sitting down or walking. Welcoming a ferret into your home may also require rearranging the decoration to prevent it from climbing on stacks that could crush it, or knocking down the trinkets you care about.
It is a very endearing animal but very begging. It takes a lot of life and will not pose a problem of cohabitation once you have understood what this animal is and what its needs are.
Between dog and cat
Unlike dogs, ferrets do not need to go outdoors, even if they have been domesticated for hunting activities (rabbits and rodents). If he is able to remember his name quickly, he is a stubborn animal who can easily pretend not to hear anything. It is therefore not educated as well as a perfectly trained dog. It is better not to leave him outside at large: as he is not fearful, his curiosity would carry him far too far and, lost, he could never come back alone. You can walk him outside as long as he is wearing a harness, snug enough that he couldn’t pull it off.
On the other hand, very affectionate, he is clingy and can follow his master wherever he goes. You must therefore be careful not to close a door too strongly behind you, at the risk of injuring your ferret in the door. He is indeed much less independent than a cat (even if some cats are also very clingy with their master). He is also very playful and the ferret makes an excellent companion.
The ferret ultimately requires much more availability than a dog or a cat.