All About Ferrets

Overview
Ferrets have a lifespan of 7-10 years. They require 14 – 18 hours of daily sleep and are most active at dusk and dawn. Ferrets weigh up to 4 lbs. and have an average length of 20 inches including a 5 inch tail.

Play
Ferrets love to play with and chew on rubber items such as toys. However, they could swallow them and get an intestinal blockage. If you become concerned your pet may have swallowed a foreign object, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Diet
Ferrets need a high fat and high protein diet. Cat food is commonly fed to ferrets but does not supply enough of the nutrients they need. Kitten food is better but not ideal. Discuss the best diet for your ferret with your veterinarian. It is never a good idea to feed ferrets or any small mammal high sugar snacks. Ferrets, in particular, have a high incidence of pancreatic tumors and high sugar snacks could make the symptoms worse.

Climate
Ferrets are fairly resistant to cold weather, but do not tolerate heat well. In hot humid weather, make sure your ferret is in a well-ventilated area and always has access to plenty of fresh water.

General Health
Ferrets are one of the only animals that can catch human influenza. If you have a cold, try not to handle your ferret. If you do, remember to wash your hands well. Keep in mind you can also catch the flu from your ferret. If your ferret shows signs of increased sleeping, weakness or staring into space it could be a signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), most often caused by a tumor in the pancreas, which produces insulin (insulinoma). If your ferret shows any of these signs, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

Training
Training a ferret to eliminate in a litter box can be challenging but it is possible. Ferrets often prefer to eliminate in corners.

If you need a veterinarian, please visit the Find a Veterinarian page for a list of NJVMA veterinarians in your area.