Dogs, cats and birds are some of the conventional pets. However, in today’s times, pet owners have gone one step further and are now adopting animals classed as exotic pets. The ferret is one of them.
Ferrets as pets have become a popular trend one because of their cute appearance and second because their small size allows renders perfect for apartment dwellers. But, will this demure furry creature be the right pet for you?
The problem with exotic pets is that they require a higher level of care and maintenance. The costs are also higher. So, if you are thinking of adopting a ferret as a pet following are some of the points that will help you decided if the ferret is a pet for you.
1. Legal requirements and compliances
Since a ferret is an exotic pet, the first thing you should do before buying a ferret as a pet is to confirm with the legal regulations of the country or state in which you reside. In most countries, owning a ferret is permitted. However, the laws differ from state to state. For example, in California you can only keep neutered males. In other countries, you need to acquire a license or permit to maintain a ferret in your home. The local department in charge of wildlife or a local vet will be able to assist you with the legal requirements.
2. Behavior, Personality and Habits
Ferrets are curious creatures. They sleep for long hours almost 18 to 24 hours. But, when awake they are very active. There is need to ferret proof your home for the safety of your pet as well as to prevent damage to your home. They are known to make off with and hide items such as keys, socks, boxes and other rubber and plastic items. However, these bad habits can be tamed with early and proper training.
The next most important factor is escapism. Their small size allows them to squeeze through the smallest holes. You will have to ensure that you block all such holes, ducts and outlets to prevent your pet from escaping.
The nesting habit becomes another cause of concern. If you keep your ferret in a cage it shouldn’t be much of problem. However, otherwise they may nest in almost all the vacant spaces they find- under the sofas, couches, sofas and furniture. You may also need to shield floor fabrics and plastic covers for they love to nibble. You should close toilet lids, aquariums, bathtubs to avoid untoward incidents such as drowning.
3. Children and Ferrets
Children and ferrets usually do not make a good combination as both exhibit similar behaviors. We do not recommend ferrets in families with children below 7 years of age. And even if you have a ferret, you should never leave your child unsupervised with your pet. The reason for this is occasional rambunctious and aggressive nature of ferrets during which they may bite or snap. If your child wants a pet ferret, you should consider its maturity levels.
4. Compatibility with other pets
Owing to their natural instinct to hunt, ferrets do not gel well with birds, rabbits, rodents, fish and lizards. As far as dogs are concerned they can be trained to get along with the smaller breeds.
5. Care and Needs- Diet, living conditions and grooming
Ferrets are carnivores. Their food requirements do not really cause much trouble. They need foods rich in fat and protein and plenty of water.
The ideal living conditions for a pert ferret has been a debatable issue. Some suggest they be left loose while some advise keeping them in cages. If you prefer the second option the cage should be large and airy. It should also be maintained clean.
Ferrets demand a lot of attention and care. Therefore, keeping ferrets requires a lot of time and a high level of commitment. They need to be trained- trained not to bite, trained to be less aggressive and trained to use the litter box.
Regular grooming is another aspect. They need to be bathed frequently. Their nails need to be clipped, ears need to be cleaned and teeth need to be brush. Pet owners also have to look out for flea infestations.
The cost of buying a ferret is not very high. It lies in the range of $70 – $250. But, there are additional costs too. Veterinary care has a large share. They have to be vaccinated because they are carriers of rabies. Regular veterinary examination is a must to detect diseases. Sterilization is an added cost. A ferret should be spayed or neutered to prevent. The costs also include the costs for licenses if any.
7. Unpleasant Smell
It’s unkind to say, but it is a fact. The sebaceous glands produce a musky odor. This scent is used by ferrets to mark their territory. It spays just like a skunk.