Ferret Maintenance And Care At Home
Keeping a ferret and caring for it has some nuances, and since ferrets as pets are not quite a common occurrence, not everyone knows about them. Caring for a ferret is not too troublesome, but it still requires some effort and time.
In addition, these cute animals need daily games and attention (at least for a couple of hours), otherwise they begin to have fun on their own, and this threatens to damage property and threaten the health of the pets themselves. Let’s look at how to keep a ferret as a pet, how to care for it, how to feed it and how to entertain it.
A little bit about ferrets
The ferret that can be kept in the apartment (ferret) is a domesticated relative of the forest polecat, which belongs to the family of martens. In our country, the breeding of domestic ferrets has become fashionable relatively recently, while in the West these animals have been playing the role of family pets for more than 40 years. They have a surprisingly flexible body, beautiful coat, pretty face and a curious playful disposition. These animals are predators, and therefore the lion’s share of their diet is meat and offal.
The wild ferret differs from the domestic brownish-brown color, while fox color or full white is common among ferrets. Female ferrets are much more elegant and small than males. Animals swim well and climb trees. They do not like heat, and tolerate moderate cold well. The animals have a light honey-musky smell, which during times of danger becomes strong and sharp (the latter refers more to wild ferrets and is rarely observed in domestic animals).
Before you start ferrets, it is worth checking whether the home is safe for these animals. First of all, you need to pay attention to whether there are cracks and holes in the house through which the nimble animal can get out and get lost. A hole with a diameter of 3 cm already represents a dangerous temptation for ferrets, reminding them of a hole that you want to climb into. In addition, animals are attracted to various products made of plastic, rubber or rubber – gnawing small pieces, ferrets can swallow plastic and dangerously get sick.
These animals are often attracted by flowerpots with flowers located in a house or apartment. The animals begin to dig the earth, digging a hole, – it is quite difficult to fight this habit. To avoid such incidents, keeping flowers is at a distance inaccessible to animals. Doors to the “restricted areas” need to be carefully closed, as keeping track of active pets is not easy.
When keeping a ferret in an apartment or house, you often need to look at your feet, check the rugs, bedspreads and bedding: it is not surprising to step on a small animal or crush it, just sitting on a sofa or chair.
What you need to have
The care and maintenance at home of the ferret involve the following acquisitions:
- A spacious cage or aviary (it is advisable to keep it open so that the animal can exit at will).
- A house with all kinds of ladders, tunnels and other "attractions" for the entertainment of animals (you can put it directly in a cage or aviary).
- A box of sand where you can dig and dig minks.
- A drinking bowl and a plate for food.
- Tray for the toilet.
- Toys made of high-quality rubber or fur (you must ensure that the ferret does not bite and swallow pieces of toys).
How to care
For most of the day, the animal sleeps, and, waking up, begins to become active – at this time it is advisable for the owner to be at home and share leisure time with the pet for at least a couple of hours.
Anyone who decides to get a ferret should remember that playing with animals is a significant component of keeping a ferret at home. People with a lack of free time or frequent business trips, these pets are not suitable.
When the ferret is kept at home, it must be neutered or sterilized: if this is not done, the animal, without waiting for mating, will receive severe stress and may even become ill.
Maintenance measures also include maintaining cleanliness in the animal’s dwelling and bathing it. It is necessary to clean the tray daily (although the feces and urine of these animals do not have such an unpleasant odor as, for example, in cats), and the soft litter should be changed once a week. You can bathe the animal once a month with special shampoo (feline or baby shampoo) at a water temperature of 40 ° C. In addition, as a regular care, the animal needs to clean its ears as it gets dirty and once a month cut its claws with a claw cutter.
The diet of ferrets may consist of purchased feed (for ferrets or for cats) or natural meat products. With natural nutrition, the basis of the diet should be meat and offal. Sometimes ferret can give sea fish and eggs. A ferret can eat quail eggs raw, and chicken is better to cook. In addition, in the "apartment" the ferret should be equipped with a drinking bowl with clean water.
Behavior and education
One of the features of the behavior of ferrets is their habit of dragging and hiding favorite objects in secluded corners. At this point, it’s better to prepare mentally in advance, since it is unlikely to wean the animal, but the rest of the ferret lends itself well to education and even training (there are many videos in which funny ferrets play cheerfully with people and other animals, performing various tricks). In order to successfully instill the animal with new habits, it is necessary to educate him from childhood. Ferrets by nature are predators who are accustomed to dominate, and therefore try to put a person from time to time (especially during maturation and during the breeding season).
In essence, the education of these animals is based on the classical principles: if the ferret is successful and behaves well, it should be encouraged, and if it is ugly – punished. As a punishment, you can slightly shake the animal by the scruff (the female thus punishes her cubs) or lock them briefly in the cage. In addition, a punishment can be a slight click of a twig on the nose of an animal, a “reprimand” on elevated tones, and even the command “fu!” Expressed in a strict voice. At first, it is better to use several methods of punishment at once and resort to them only at the time of misconduct, otherwise the animal will not understand that it is guilty and will only be offended.
Each owner can choose ways of promotion individually, based on what the pet likes: goodies, games, affectionate words, stroking, etc.
Is it possible to get other animals if the ferret already lives at home, and what are the features of the relationship between them? It all depends on the type of animal: with the dogs and cats, the ferret is much more likely to make friends than with hamsters, birds, lizards, etc. (the latter, in natural conditions, are the prey of a ferret and are perceived by them accordingly). A large ferret gets along well with large dogs of service breeds, not always with small dogs, and friendship with hunting dogs is quite rare (since now the ferret looks like a prey to a hunting dog). Ferrets are either friends with cats or coexist neutrally.
Advantages and disadvantages
The pluses of the content of this animal at home are its cheerful disposition, playfulness and compact size. The pet does not need to walk, he quickly gets used to the tray. There is a minimum of smell, and for many people, honey-musky notes are even pleasant. Ferret coat is less likely to cause allergies than the same cats. Additional advantages are the ability to adapt to the life cycle of the owners, as well as the individual character of the ferret, which makes each animal unique.
The cons of a ferret as a pet for many consist in the prankiness of the animal: inverted flowerpots and rubbish bins can now and then arise in family life, especially if the ferret is not too well brought up. In addition, there are people with individual intolerance to musky odors.
Cons can relate to the diet, which should be selected carefully enough (feeding the animal than anything else leads to the fact that the pet has to be treated). Uncastrated males usually mark territory, which is also a problem. However, all the shortcomings can be dealt with in one way or another, the most important thing is sympathy for these animals, the desire to take care of them and spend time together.