Ferrets/Ferrets?

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Question
After owning my rabbit who died of a heart attack after living for 2 years i was devastated. She was the best rabbit I have ever had (I've had more than one) I dont think I want another rabbit because no one could replace her. Anyways I am still upset about my rabbit because it hasn't been that long. I have been wanting a ferret since I was little but my parents said save your money, I am now 15 and still wanting a ferret. I have done a lot of research on them and it says they die easy, first off I want to know if it will live to be at least 5 years old, I know there is no way to be certain how long they live but I really need to know. Second I don't even know if a ferret is right for me. I have school, homework, and cheerleading (which is almost over) and I am always done with homework before 6 so I will have at least 4 hours a day to play and take care of her, I live in a two story house and she would be downstairs in my room. I have 3 dogs and a little sister but she is very good with animals and she would not be in contact with her whatsoever without me being with her, so she has the attention, care, and room.. Is there anything else I need (I may be forgetting some things) but most importantly do you thinka ferret is a good pet for me?

Answer
Hello Shali,

It's wonderful for youto ask your questions before purchasing  a ferret.  First of all I want to explain that ferrets smell.  Yes, they have their own smell just like a dog or a horse, ect.  What stinks is their cage.  That's why it's very, very important to get a cage that's really easy to clean - and, they must be cleaned every single day.

Next, ferrets like to poop in corners; crazy as it sounds, they'll search relentlesly for a corner to poop in.  One thing I suggest is that you get a small plastic litter box - about the size of a cake pan.  Then secure it in the corner of their cage with twist ties.  You may have to hve someone put holes in the sides so you can put in thye ties.  Make you put their food ande water at the opposite end of the cage.

My ferrets have their own play room but you can do the same thing I do.  Fill empty plastic soda bottles and put them into the corners of your room.  If you have room, also put a small litter box near by.  After a while - and it does take a while, they'll give up looking for corners and use the box.  Remember, it will take a little time.

Next I want you to ferrer proof your room.  Get electric outlet covers for the plugs you're not using.  It only takes one little toe to touch an outlet to get fried.  Ferrets are excellent climbers; you'd be amazed at where they can end up.  So make sure there's nothing they an knock over on tables, dresers, ect.

Now lets talk about toys & things.  Small plush toys are fine unless you notice them tearing at the stuffing - toy filling can be fatal to the little guys.  ABSOLUTELY keep them away from styrofoam, spunge rubber, and anything with fringe or string on it.  Simple things are best.  Take a cardboard box and cut a few holes in it and they'll love climbing in and out.  You can also squish on of those soft plastic water bottles and put the top back on - they love the crinkle noises it makes.  A ferret tunnel is also great fun - they have a blast running in and out waiting to see which end you're going to be waiting.

DO NOT give them empty paper towell tubes, or anything he can get his head stuck in - and THEY DO!

BY THE WAY - FERRETS DO NOT DIE EASILY.  I'VE HAD MANY FERRETS AND TWO OF THEM LIVED FOR ALMOST NINE YEARS.  It all depends on how you care for them.  Ferrets can become depressed, so they need to be free from their cage at least 2 hours each day - more if possible.  Sometimes I let mine out once during the day and then again an hour or so before I go to bed.  Yes, they do get to know you and will love you.  They should also be introduced to other people on a regular basis - they are very soscial animals.  Just be sure to keep them away from anyone with a cold.  Ferrets catch colds easily.

Now, lets talk about food.  Get a good brand of ferret food from your pet store.  And VERY IMPORTANT, get ferret vitamins; I use FerretVite.  Always keep food in his bowl.  Ferrets have a very high metabolism and will eat throughout the day.  And they drink a lot of water so keep that bowl with plenty of fresh water.  Remember ferrets sare CARNAVORS.  Do not feed your little guy fruits or veggies.  Their digestive systems can not handle them.  And, NO SUGAR.

Tip - Ferrets like to nestle into/under old soft T-shirts.  Mine like to sleep in theirs at night.  And, by the way, be careful because he's likely to snuggle under that pair of PJ's you forgot to pick up off the floor.

Well, I think I've covered some of the most important things.  YES, FERRETS MAKE WONDERFUL PETS.  BUT, remember, keeping that cage spotless is the key to a stinkless ferret.

If you have any other concerns or issues, please le me know.

Fondest Regards,
Janet  

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Janet Russek

Expertise

I can answer questions re: Feeding(keeping that body weight up) General Care, Safety, Behavior, Best Cages, Proper Toys, Dangers to Ferrets (ferret proofing your home), Play Area/Room Suggestions.

Experience

I've raised ferrets very successfully for approximately twelve years. I usually kept three at a time. I presently have one. I've tried a variety of cages, habitats, toys, treats.

Education/Credentials
Highschool grad with some college.

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