Ferrets are very interesting animals. When I was a child, I had not even heard of a ferret and had never seen one in a pet store. In actuality, they were common then, just not as pets. Ferrets were used to protect grain from rodents, in scientific research and even as trained animals to help run wiring through narrow spaces!
It was this realization that they were highly trainable and would interact well with humans that probably began the trend of keeping ferrets as pets.
Scientists and people who used them for utilitarian purposes realized that they could bond with people, that they had individual personalities and that they enjoyed human company.
Although this is all true and they can make good pets, it is very important to know what you are getting into it if you consider getting a ferret.
People may see a ferret in the classified ads or at a flea market and fall in love with their adorable faces and beautiful fur. Some people don’t realize that ferrets are not that far from their wild counterparts. They are prey animals and they love to hunt. Ferrets can also have a very strong scent. Some people aren’t bothered by it and others are. They aren’t ideal for every home.
Ferrets should not generally be allowed to hunt prey in the home like a house cat might. A ferret that is allowed to hunt live prey can become aggressive. They also cannot be safely kept in a home where many other very small pets are kept. If you keep fancy show mice, for example, a ferret will not be a good companion to your other pets.
To help with their pretty drive, what you can do instead is to play games with them that simulate the hunt, so if you enjoy spending a lot of time with your pets and coming up with activities, you may love to have a ferret.
Ferrets need a great deal of attention and activity. If you want a pet to come home to after many hours of work and just admire while you watch TV, a ferret is not a good choice for you. On the other hand, ferrets can be trained to walk on a lead and perform tricks, so if you need a pet to stimulate you and get you moving – they can be great!
Some ferrets enjoy playing in water and some light water play can also help keep their natural scent from becoming too strong. If your ferret seems to like water, you can occasionally provide some shallow water and supervise the ferret during play.
If your ferret has shown no signs of aggression but it lightly nips at your toes or fingertips (without drawing blood) it is probably just showing you that it is ready for more playtime. If a ferret nips you very lightly and then runs, you are being invited to a game of chase! This should be your kind of game if you plan to get a ferret.
As you can tell, a ferret is a fun pet and an interesting one. If you want a highly interactive pet and you have plenty of time and energy, go for it! If you spend a lot of time away and want to relax when you get home, consider another of the many pets on our blog!