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Considering A Pet Ferret? 5 Answers About Ferrets You Should Know

By Debbie Davis

My daughter asked if we could adopt a ferret yesterday. I was floored and hedged with my answer. So I thought I’d find out a lot more about this furry creature before I gave the thumbs up. Here are 5 answers that helped me, and I hope will help you too.

Do They Bite? With children of any age this is always a concern. As meat eaters these creatures have a set of teeth that are designed to rip and tear small animals. And mom always says, anything with teeth can bite.

But with proper training and socialization from the very first day, they can be successfully trained not to use their teeth to bite their owners or those in their group. This seems to work because there are over 800,000 of these furry creatures as pets in the U. S. alone.

What do they eat? In the wild their diet is mainly one of meat and animal fat. This would typically include mice, small chicks, and insects. The possibilities are many when it comes to their diet.

Some owners continue on with the raw meat and use a vitamin supplement to maintain a balance of nutrients. Others use a manufactured ferret food. And still others use a combination of the two.

A veterinarian is a great resource for pointing in the right direction with diet and for analyzing your pet’s health periodically to make sure that the diet choices continues to be a healthy.

How long do they live? There are not many who agree on how long they will live. So let’s talk about the things on which most ferret lovers do agree. They are considered all grown up by the age of 2. It is then that many start to experience a decline in health.

Many live to be 8, 10 and even 12 years old, although living past 10 is considered unusual. Unfortunately for the pet and you, there are typically many health problems that occur as they age. So expect some medical costs and get insurance or set aside a contingency fund in case it’s needed.

How are they with children? When properly trained they make delightful pets, and are less likely to bite than are dogs and cats.

How do they get along with other pets? This depends on the ferret and the other animal’s personality. Generally if they are introduced to pets at a young age, they tend to do well. Terriers, however, often view them as prey, so be aware of this before you adopt.

Can they be house trained? This answer probably should have been first, because it was one of the first things I thought about. With patience and consistency you can make it happen. They like to back up to corners to defecate so be sure to have a litter box in the corner, and food, bed, and water to occupy the other three.

Be prepared for some accidents. And even if your ferret is 100% when young, age will chip away at their success rate. Providing a cage where you pet feels safe will help curb accidents.

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