F E R R E T S - F A Q

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Yukkabelle's avatar
By Yukkabelle

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I get plenty of questions from many people about my lovely companions  :D

Thank you so much for this great interest :heart:

I try my best for a better English so any correction is always welcome.

Are they easy to handle :

Yes they are the most easy creature to handle, the most lovely too, they love you to die ...

What they eat :

They are carnivorous, so they must eat meat ... Some people give them raw meat, especially in Europe.
In USA and Canada there is on the market some kibbles for ferrets, but some have to much grains on it, and can cause food allergies.
Nahum eats only Lamb baby food (the little jars) because he has had several digestive problems.
Bear loves baby food too :D but he loves also his kibbles :D

How long they sleep :

They sleep a lot : 16 hours per day.
More they become old more they sleep. Nahum who is 6 years old and half his sleeping 20 hours per day, and I need to wake up him for to feed him (soupy lamb baby food 4 times per day) and for a walk and exercises...

About their health or any problems :

The only BIG problem it is they are so fragile, get illness as the cancer of adrenal glands and insulinoma. But Ferrets in Europe are more strong than ours in US and Canada...
Vet visits, medications are VERY expensive and you need to think to have a special budget for when they become sick and old.
Not all veterinary can take care of ferrets. Sadly ferrets are considering as exotic pets, they have also illness that dogs and cats don't have. You are better to have a knowledge vet or at least a vet with mind open who want to learn for the best of his patients.

What about the special care they need ? :

They need a lot of care, a lot of attention, they need exercises, they are SO VERY intelligent and curious so they need to have their spirit and mind always stimulated ;) So it is important to make your home ferret proofing, because their curiosity they can be in big dangerous trouble for their life ... as electrocuted under an oven, falling from an high place, they can climb, climb, climb, but they have not a good vision for to see far, so they jump, and get spine injuries... It is as to have a little human child of 2-3 years old ! you see what I mean !


- Hot weather
- Peanuts, nuts, dry fruits : blockage intestinal
- elastic, rubber, eraser : blockage intestinal -> Nahum ate a part of an eraser and I almost lost him. He has a big surgery for remove the eraser stuck in the little intestine :( Ferrets seem to love to chew rubber things :shrug:
- recliner chairs (there is a lot of accidents reported)
- ... and many things :no:

Does Ferrets get along with other animals? :

- Yes they do very great with cats :nod:
- With dogs only with close monitoring, you don't want your dog to crush your ferret !
Ferrets are mischievous and will tease others animals, so be careful that a dog can lose his patience and give a bite :(
- NO with rats, mouses, rabbits, squirrels. No with any rodents. Ferrets will kill them in a space of few seconds. Ferrets are predators !
In Europe they are worker animals, used in farms for avoid vermin. They are also used for hunting. And they are really good for that :nod:

Their span life :

8-9 years if you are so very lucky
4-5 years start the illness of Adrenal cancer and sometimes too invasive for help them :(
I lost already Cody and Apollo at the age of 4

in Europe they can live until 12 years old :)

Does Ferrets smell BAD ?

Yes Ferrets smell, but for me they smell good : not bad. And ferrets must to think we humans smell too !

No-ferret people will say they smell bad. It seems to be an old opinion that stuck on ferrets reputation,... sad :shrug:

Ferrets are Mustelidae and have anal scent glands that produce a strong-smelling secretion in the purpose of marking their territory or for sexual signaling or when they are afraid or unhappy because different situations... They are using these glands in rare case. And the oder will stay in the air for a few minutes. In some countries it is illegal to remove the anal glands. But in most of the case in Canada or in USA  ferrets are descended when they are babies.  

I had a little girl, Anika, who was not descended (she had still her glands) and in 5 years that we have share our lives together she only "puff" 4 or 5 times. It was NOT a problem at all.

Now about their smell from their skin and fur ferret people will say they smell good.  My Lil's Bear, the white little ferret smell nothing, but Nahum had an incredible perfume. I miss so much his smell of patchouli and popcorn. Sometimes after a long sleep Nahum had the smell of the grilled shrimps. I loved to put my face on his fur and take a big breath. When I felt not good I just put my nose on his fur and his smell gave always to me an immediate great comfort.

Nahum had a smell, a very wonderful and comforting one, sometimes it was even as vanilla-chocolate ...

I never have had a complain from people about the smell in my house or on me. But I clean their litter pans 2 times a days and changes their beddings very often.

Bathing ferrets will result for the ferret to over produce skin oil for replace the washed one. Not a good idea at all...
Bathing ferrets can be necessary for some reason or another : playing in dirt, or for senior ferrets with health problem.


Basics Informations : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferret
The best FAQ, complete informations : www.ferretcentral.org/index.ht…

Forums where I belong :
Ferret Family : ferretfamily.proboards.com/ind…
Ferret Lovers :ferretlovers.aimoo.com/TodayTo…
Deaf Ferrets :pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/de…
Ferret Health : pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/fe… (only medical)


There is plenty of Shelters and Ferrets rescues in need (money, food, voluntary...)
Here are a few that I know personally, If you search one in your aera, please note me :)

Toronto - Canada : the Ferret Aid Society  
Ottawa - Canada : Ferret Rescue Society of Ottawa and area
Virginia - US:Ferrets First
Pennsylvania - US : Rocky's Ferret Rescue
Michigan - US : West Michigan Ferret Connection

St. Louis, Missouri - US Furry Ferret Rescue

:iconcoveredinice: :iconhellothereplz: :iconsartizio:

How do you get your ferrets to cooperate for your photos ?

People "owned" by ferrets knows it is really hard to picture them.
They move a lot, they are fast, they are curious and put the nose on the lens.
It is a real challenge to capture them

* I take a lot of pictures in  a session, it can be over 300 to get 3 decent and one great pic. It is a statistic I have noticed ;)

* Nahum is more easy to picture. He is more patient with me and very calm. He is more old too. Nahum was 10 weeks old when I bring him to home so since the time he knows what I am doing when I have my camera in my hand.

* It is more difficult with Petit Ours (Bear) how is moving and bouncing all the time. That happens he doesn't move for a few second, so it is good to have a big memory card, and the finger always ready on the button. When I have an idea of photo I want to take, I prepare in advance all the things I need while they are sleeping. I test also my camera, for the lighting, etc... and after I will keep my little ones on the prepared place. Once some things are new, or moved, there are little curious, so more calm while the few minutes of exploratory.

- Time
- Patience
- Perseverance
- Great memory card
- Don't look at each photo you are taking on you camera, you will miss a great moment(Just verify at the beginning make   sure you camera is well settled)
- Put your body down, walk on your knees, and have toys with you
- Try to have the more light possible. Day light is the best ! But please avoid direct flash in their little eyes :(
- If you are enough lucky to have an external flash, please direct the light to the roof. Anyway the result will be better as the light will be reflected down by the roof.
- It is a time for to be with your ferret, play and take it easy


Nahum laying on this big red chair, at first he didn't want to stay on it. I think I have reinstalled  him back on that chair and pink carpet perhaps more 20 times. It is also like a game. And they must to take it as a game too. After a while, he get tired and will stay here...

About the best camera :?

I have some wonderful shots (in my opinion)that I did with a little camera Konica Minolta Z2 (4 mega pixel)
Like this one :nod:


I work also with a Nikon D60 and D200 which are pro, but with ferrets the magical receipt is not in the camera ;)

:confused: hummm

Any other questions welcomed :highfive:  

Beside this, they are just perfect :icontickledpinky:


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© 2009 - 2021 Yukkabelle
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blaze-jaganshi's avatar
would you do photography of someone else's ferrets? provided they lived close enough and made an appointment with you?
blaze-jaganshi's avatar
great! i'll have to find a way to get to Quebec then lol
Yukkabelle's avatar
where are you living ?
blaze-jaganshi's avatar
i live in new jersey
Yukkabelle's avatar
somuchluv's avatar
Do you have to seal up under cabinets, ferret proof whole house, that kinds of things?
Boyfriend and I heard that online and it is the reason he don't want me to get one :[[
But then I see videos, ferrets under oven, under fridge, in cabinets playing ninja and catching toes :giggle: and doesn't seem anyone is taping under furniture, or saying the same as articles, that you have to bubble wrap your home.
You are a ferret expert =P, what did you have to do to prepare for fuzzies? :meow:
Yukkabelle's avatar
My fridge and my over are sealed with wood planks, on both sides but also in front down.

Electrocuted by digging under the oven is something happened. As ferrets owners and lovers we learn from tragic accidents from each other.

If there is nothing dangerous under the cabinet, and no hole for them to get stuck in the celling, or inside walls or floor. That is ok.

You never know what kind of thing your little one will invent for to be in trouble and give to you worried and grey hair.

I have baby gate arranged with Plexiglas at my hall door. I never remove it, until it a necessary need. So each time I go out I need to make a little legs exercises. It is for prevent any escapes.

Well I don't have recliner chair, nor something related to this. I know 2 ladies to have lost their ferrets in the same conditions about those chairs.

My house is not entirely bubble wrapped ... LoL ... but each time I buy furniture, or make arrangement, or move things in the house, I think FIRST ... is that safe for my ferrets. If not, or if I have any little doubt ... I just don't buy it or move it.

High stairs can be dangerous too...

So yes you must to make your house ferret proofing, you need to keep in mind, that you will perhaps need gates, and planks of woods here and here and also here (depending the danger in your place) It is not always looking beautiful but at least it will prevent accidents.

It is not complicated to make those protective things, and don't cost a lot of money, just need to take the time to do it.

Not for my house, but in my mom's house I have tacked planks wood in the down part of one door. Nahum was able to pass his head under this door. But was not able to pass entirely his body and didn't manage to go back in the right way without to be struggled. Hopefully I was here when Nahum was struggling under the door. A few minutes later believe me I was with a hammer and nails and everything to make this door secure.

I was visiting my friends in Ottawa, Gar have had ferret for more 20 years (something like this) and had in their own 9 ferrets and their apartment was ferrets proofing and safe. ..... Well not for Nahum ... I was speaking with Gar in their living room when suddenly we hear Dar yelling and yelling, Gar and me did a sprint to Dar, Nahum was struggled under their room door. Gar needed to up the door and me to push on the carpet and on Nahum head to slip him out. A real nightmare ... Dar was in chock, me too ... never one of their gang did that. And Nahum had a very very tiny very pointed head ... shaped to be in trouble :)

I don't want to discourage you, and don't want to give reason to your boyfriend :giggle: Na.... Ferrets are awesome, really special, unique and so lovely, lovable and so intelligent, omg how I love them ... And they deserve to make our home safe for them. We can't change their primary instinct about digging and to go through their curiosity, we need to accept this characteristic of them and live with that keeping in mind we must to think as a ferret as well and correct potential danger around.
It is worth to do it :heart:

I hope it helps :) I am so glad you asked it to me :hug: If any other questions please ask :D
somuchluv's avatar
haha, im not going to reply to everything because that would make an essay, but I'm definitely not showing this to my boyfriend. xDD
He'd be mad if I said I had to nail wood planks to everything to make it ferret safe xDD
He said I'd have to keep them on leashes at all times if I wanted them in the house, so I said I'd just build a shed in the back and live out there with the fuzzies who love me more :giggle:
Yukkabelle's avatar
Ya or your boyfriend can move to the shed :giggle:

I didn't nail wood planks in my house, there is not enough space between the down part door and the floor for a little one to put his head. Each case is unique, all is really depending of the place.
somuchluv's avatar
Well, since he'll be paying for the house, I don't think he'd appreciate that. xDD;

No, I meant around your oven and fridge.
*sigh* I guess I just have to hope he gets soft with age xDD
Artistic-Castaway's avatar
Care to add Furry Ferret Rescue to your list of shelters in the US?

In St. Louis, Missouri
website: furryferretrescue.org
FluffySilver's avatar
It's funny you should mention that ferrets love rubber - we have a ferret, Lulu, who is absolutely OBSESSED with it.

Sometimes we let our four ferrets into the living room for about twenty minutes of supervised play (they usually have a room to themselves, but love to come out occasionally) and if we forget to take the TV remotes off the table and put them out of reach, Lulu goes for them and starts chewing on the buttons. So we remove them. And she goes for the rubber coasters. So we remove them too. One night, after both of that, she found a calculator and started chewing on the buttons. :icondoublefacepalmplz:

About a week ago we actually managed to remember to get ALL rubber buttoned items... and then she went for my dad's keyboard. :lol:

So yes, ferrets and rubber... they love it muchly.
blaze-jaganshi's avatar
its so hard to keep my ferrets attention lol even for a second. but all of that is sooo true.

a little tip i learned with my ferret for the rubber things. try giving them a puppy sized kong toy. you know the one that looks like 3 different sized balls stacked together. its rubber, but its hard rubber so they can't get any pieces. they'll like to chew on it...or hide it in my ferret's case lol.

you take great pictures ^_^ i can't wait to see more.
Yukkabelle's avatar
Thank you so much for your nice comment and tip, it is something I must add in my FAQ, that ferrets love toys, and they need good secure toy as the one you mentioned ;) :hug:
JudasFEKE's avatar
My male ferret Buzz im pretty sure is going on 7 or 8. Its hard to tell how old he is since he was one of the last ones taken in his litter. He has been alone though for two and half years and its taking its toll. But its too late in his life to get another companion because then she or he'd be alone when buzz dies. Thats one thing missing from your FAQ, but maybe people havent asked that question, they need friends and companions. Buzz will go into the ferret carrier because it reminds him of Newt(my other ferret that passed), or smells like her.
Yukkabelle's avatar
:) Not all ferrets need companions. Some love to have buddy and others don't accept any others ferrets.

Ferrets need a lot of attention, love and playing time. If you, you give to your ferret this attention, this love and sharing this playing time with your ferret, he will be the most happy ferret in the world. And you will create a very special bond between him and you that nothing will break. But if you won't be around much, two or more will keep each other company.

But if ferrets are already together, never we must to separate them, because they have already create this special bond between themselves and will depress. They are social creatures and do depend upon you and/or other ferrets for affection.

It is something people think often that ferrets need others ferrets, but it isn't always the true. And there is a lot of debate about this because people haven't the same opinion.

Too introduce a new ferret can be very stressful for the ferret already in place, sometime they will accept the other easily, sometimes there will be some fights before acceptance, and sometimes they will never accept the new arrival :shrug:

Buzz certainly miss Newt :(

Another thing, when a ferret has had for long time a buddy, and then the buddy left, they can really depress and for some of them, they will never accept another buddy. They prefer to stay alone with the memories of the other. In other cases to brought home a new companion can help the ferret to go through his grief. It is always depending of the ferret himself.

You are true nobody asked the question :) It is a touchy question because there isn't only one true answer.
JennHoffmann's avatar
Wow, I didn't know how different the life spans are between US and European fuzzies! Do you know why? I'd LOVE to be able to have mine for 12 years!
Stenellya's avatar
If you want your ferret to live longer, a good start would be to feed him raw food (whole preys, innards, "Bob's Chicken Gravyy" ). Of course, you'll have to deworm him on a regular basis.
You can also try respecting the day/night cycle by covering his cage and sop exposing him to light as soon as the Sun sets.
punkchica06's avatar
Thats what I do with mine, I always cover her cage with a blanket or I close the blinds in the daytime when she is sleeping so she's not exposed to the sun. As for her food, she is still only 2 months old so I'm giving her baby food mixed with a little bit of kibble, if theres no kibble she won't eat it.
Yukkabelle's avatar
It is a genetic problem, European ferrets are more strong, because they were bred intelligently since generations and they are living in a more natural way and with great natural food.
In US and Canada, they are bred as things, spayed and natured too early ant that gave to ferrets a big disorder hormonal problem, and that end by the cancer of Adrenal and many other disorders. They are now private breeders who try so hard to have ferrets in better health, but it is difficult as they need some "pure" line. Ferrets lovers in us and Canada try all their best to make their lil furry friends healthy, with best care, and all sort of best receipts for feed them, but when the inside body is all mess up ... ... :shrug: you have medicines, but not all ferrets respond well. I already lost Apollo and Cody at the age of 4 :( (heart failure and Adrenal cancer)
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