Ferrets live on average 6 to 8 years of age and can weigh between 1.1 - 2.6 lbs. They are extremely playful, friendly animals that can make excellent pets! Ferrets tend to get along well with most cats and dogs, however, this predator species may not get along with birds, rabbits, rodents, or lizards. The ferret is a relative of the weasel, skunk, and otter. Although pet ferrets are de-scented, they still retain their natural musky odor which can be easily maintained with regular bathing and deodorizers.
Ferrets enjoy burrowing and hiding, so provide bedding such as blankets or towels for your ferret to curl up and sleep in. A wide variety of sleeping materials are also commercially available including cloth tubes, tents, and hammocks. Make sure all burrowing material is free of loops, holes, or loose strings to prevent nails from getting caught. Ferrets also enjoy tunnels and toys to hide such as small tennis balls and small plush toys. Be sure that all toys are free of rips or loose pieces to avoid ingestion of non-food objects or stuffing. Ferrets are also very sneaky scavengers, so be sure your ferret's play area does not have any open drink or liquid that they may be able to take and hide or ingest.
- Since ferrets are predators in the wild, they tend to show clinical signs of illness relatively earlier than other exotics. However, most illnesses encountered are very serious and can require surgery or several days of hospitalization.
- Young ferrets are prone to human influenza, or swallowing odd objects, such as plastic or erasers.
- Older ferrets commonly develop tumors, often affecting different hormones, or cancers like lymphoma.
- Symptoms indicating illness include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or staggering, weight loss, or fur loss.
- Ferrets should be fed a diet that is very high in meat-based protein, with little to no carbohydrates. Like many pet exotics, they also can benefit from regular exposure to sunshine while supervised.