General ferret faqs
How can I tell whether my ferret is male or female?
Males have what looks like a “belly button” on their lower abdomen. Also, females have 2 small openings under their tail, and males only have one. If you need to double-check, just check the litter box after the ferret goes. If it’s a male, the puddle of urine will be in front of the pile of feces. If it’s a female, it will urinate on top of the pile.
what to eat
Ferret food needs to be high in animal protein ( for example chicken, turkey, turkey, lamb beef, etc) and fat. Protein should be around 35% to 40% minimum, and fat should be about 18% to 20% minimum. They do not have the body cavity to digest fiber, so their food has to be low in fiber.
Look for a food that has fat and animal protein as many of the first 5 ingredients. Kitten food is ok to feed your ferrets, but not as their only food. It does not have the proper nutrition that ferrets need for their main food. Dog food works as an occasional treat, but NOT as the main diet – it lacks the essential nutrients needed to properly maintain optimal ferret health.
It is best to feed your ferret a variety of food mixed together, so that in the unlikelihood that one of the foods suddenly becomes unavailable, your fuzzy friend will still have other food to eat. Generally speaking, ferrets tend to be picky eaters, so it’s good to have backups.
If you do have to switch foods, try to mix the new food with the old food before the old food runs out. That way you can switch them over slowly, which will make it more likely they will accept and eat the new food.
Further reading: What do ferrets eat?
how to tell how old a ferret is?
By looking at its teeth! As ferret ages, its teeth start to become translucent at the tip of the canines, and the older they get, the more of the tooth is translucent.
So at what ages should you see what changes?
0 – 1 year: solid, bright white
1 1/2 – 2 1/2 years: tips of the canines will be slightly discolored and semi-translucent
3 – 4 years: discoloration and translucency will have spread further up the tooth and appear more pronounced
6 – 7 years: discoloration and translucency will have gone up all the way to the gumline
7 years and older: the canines should now be completely translucent
If your ferret’s teeth have serious discoloration at a younger age, or if the discoloration is accompanied by very bad breath, see a vet immediately. This can be a sign of serious dental problems.
Remember to check your ferrets’ teeth when you do other grooming (ears, nails, etc) and brush them regularly! Have your vet do yearly dental exams and cleanings.
Do ferrets need to be bathed? If so, how often?
Some ferret owners never bathe their ferrets unless they get into something or they have fleas. Others bathe their ferrets anywhere from once a month to once a year. It really is a personal owner’s preference. What you have to remember is that ferrets’ skin produces oil, and bathing a ferret too often will actually result in a stinkier ferret! The more you bathe a ferret, the more oil its skin produces.
At the same time, a frequently bathed ferret has drier skin, which makes the ferret scratch more and can cause skin problems. A good rule to follow is no more than once a month. The main thing to do to keep the smell to a minimum is to change or wash bedding once a week and to empty litter boxes frequently. Ferrets themselves, unless they are intact (when they haven’t been neutered), don’t really have a strong smell.
What kind of toys do ferrets like?
The most important thing to remember when you buy toys for ferrets is that ferrets easily get blockages. Don’t give them toys that have pieces that are easily swallowed. Cat toys, ball bells, and edible chew toys are generally good for ferrets. You can give your ferret rubber toys, just make sure it’s soft vinyl rubber and not spongy rubber. Ferrets also love tubes – we highly recommend the Marshall Super Thru-Way and Super Pet Fun-Nels.
Many people also give their ferrets dig boxes. You can put rice, ping pong balls, biodegradable starch peanuts, dirt – pretty much anything they can burrow into and throw around! Just make sure if you use rice that you supervise your ferret at first to make sure that it isn’t eating the rice, and never use instant rice!
You will find that ferrets will choose the items around your house that they want to use as playthings whether you want them to or not! This is why it’s very important to make sure objects that will harm them are kept far out of their reach if you have free roamed ferrets.
Remember – ferrets are not rodents, therefore they DO NOT need to chew toys. Giving your ferret wood to chew on will be very harmful to the ferret, and it is totally unnecessary!
How to train not to bite
Ferrets bite and nip for many reasons. Kits bite because that’s how they play, and they haven’t been taught the difference between play biting and real biting yet. Some ferrets bite because they’ve been abused. Others bite because they were neglected, or they were never taught not to. The key is patience and persistence.
where to find ferrets
You have a few different options:
1) Pet Stores
2) Private Breeders – small and large
The benefit of getting a shelter ferret is that many times, the ferrets have already been litter trained and nip trained. Also, you’re giving a ferret who needs a forever home a much deserved second chance!
When you pick out a ferret, you should look at a few key things to make sure it is healthy:
1) Bright, clear eyes
2) Curious, alert attitude
3) Soft coat, healthy skin
Visit here to read a more extensive article on ferrets facts.