Taking on ferrets is a big commitment as they live on average for 6 – 10 years. There are no ferret breeds but you do have different sizes, coat lengths and colours. For those new to ferrets, a hob is male and a jill is a female. Hobs are generally heavier and longer than jills.
Smell: Like all animals ferrets have a distinctive smell. Most of our volunteers and adopters will tell you they either like it or do not notice the smell but we recognise that not everyone will feel the same way. Regularly cleaning out litter trays, washing bedding and rice dig boxes are great ways to reduce any smell. Bathing is not recommended. Neutering and a good diet helps reduce the typical ferret smell.
Biting: As with any animal with teeth, ferrets may bite or nip. This is more likely if they are injured or scared. Look at our nip training page for information on dealing with this.
Housing: See our housing page for more information.
Feeding: It is essential that ferrets have a high protein diet as they are obligate carnivores. Visit our page on food and treats for more information.
Baths: Bathing a ferret only reduces the smell temporarily and will in fact lead to an increase in smell over time! Unless they have gotten into something particularly unpleasant we recommend not giving your ferret a bath. If you must, avoid strongly scented shampoos or anything too harsh. Plain water is usually sufficient to remove any unwanted material. Alternatively an animal safe wipe can be used.
Health issues: Ferrets are consider an exotic pet and are expensive to treat. See our health page for more information.
Escape artists: Ferrets have an ability to escape from even the most secure pen so ferret proofing is essential
Neutering: The strong odour that has been stereo-typically associated with ferrets over the generations stems from the fact that in season adults, particularly the males, produce a large amount of quite pungent oil into their coats. As the season goes on, this builds up and the smell gets stronger and stronger. There is a simple solution to this; neuter your ferrets. This dramatically reduces the smell and you will have an all round much more socially acceptable pet. All ferrets rehomed from the rescue that are old enough are neutered. Young ferrets, not yet ready to be neutered will only be rehomed to experienced owners that we already know and will bring them back for neutering when they reach maturity. For more information visit our neutering page.
Ferrets and other animals: While plenty of owners successfully introduce ferrets to their other pets, bear in mind like people not everyone will always get along. We therefore suggest you be prepared for the possibility of keeping them separate from each other. Some animals can find ferrets full on and are wary of interaction whilst dogs with a high prey drive, such as sighthounds, may not be able to differentiate between a ferret and other small prey. Ferrets consider other small mammals and birds as possible prey and the other animals would recognise ferrets as a predator. They would become incredibly stressed at any close encounters with a ferret. Even the smell can be enough to cause a rabbit, guinea pig, rat or similar distress. If you have other small animals please ensure they have a dedicated space away from your ferrets for their safety and comfort. Do not expect them to mix.