Do Ferrets Make Good Pets – The Ultimate Owners Guide

There are up to 5 million ferrets kept as pets in American households today, making them the number 3 pet in the United States. These mischievous, playful, larger than life little creatures are cute, high energy and affectionate towards their owners.

They will play for a few hours during the day, running around the house excitedly hiding things, playing games, biting toes and inspecting their habitat before they get tired and then sleep the rest of the day. The high levels of sleep mean they are not too high maintenance but they still love attention and interaction with humans and other ferrets.

They will usually sleep until their humans come around and then get up to play. They explode with happiness every time they are left out of their cage to play.

One thing that might put potential owners off is the smell that comes from multiple sources on the animals, similar to that of a skunk and which may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but can be dealt with to an extent.

Just like with any pet, there are pros and cons so let’s take a look at what makes ferrets great pets for so many.

How long do they live and how big do they get

Ferrets live for about 12 years so if you’re planning on getting one make sure that is a long-term plan, and grow to about 14 inches which is also quite large.

Are They Good Beginner Pets

Ferrets and at the ideal beginner pet as they can be a handful when you let them out of their cage, running around everywhere and potentially causing Mayhem so you need to be able to assert leadership and I need to be socialised from a young age as they do tend to bite sometimes on purpose a sometimes by accident but it can hurt.

There are also experts at escaping through small holes so you really need to be on top of your game to keep a ferret as a pet and probably not best for a newcomer.

Are Ferrets Affectionate – Do They Bond With Their Owners

Ferrets are very affectionate little animals that love the bond with their owners and other ferrets, they’re very playful and loves attention so if you want a pet that will know and love you, ferret is an option to consider in this regard.

First a very playful and you must leave them out of their cage for at least 2 hours a day or they will get disgruntled and lonely and there’s no problem with hugging your pet ferret and cuddling with them they might even give you a kiss or lick you to show you how much they care.

What Do Ferrets Eat

Ferrets are often kept by farmers because they are very adept at killing snakes and eating them, and they are also super effective at killing rats, mice and birds as they can quickly borrow into the rats holes after them and kill as much as they can eat.

A common misconception is that ferrets are rodents and this can turn many people off but they are in fact a part of the weasel family and share the same genes as skunks badges and wolverines.

Ferrets very effective for keeping your house rodent free.

Ferrets are actually quite easy to feed, they are carnivores who like to eat meat, most pet stores will have specially made food for Ferrets with protein content and you can always order it online at Amazon or your favourite retailer.

Ferrets can eat mice, rats, birds, chicken wings, turkey necks, raw beef, lamb and many other things that humans can eat. They will love if you cook up some pieces of chicken for them to eat as a special treat.
You can even give them cat food that’s high in protein, or you can give them kids food that is high protein. Ferrets aren’t picky eaters but they do like their meat and they’re quite easy to feed.

Can You Have More Than One Ferret

Yes, in fact it is recommended that you keep more than one because they will keep each other company with their endless antics and will feed off each other for playtime and amusement.

This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of time to play with the ferrets yourself and give it the attention that it deserves then it may start to become lonely and engaging in antisocial behaviour.

If watching 1 ferret brings a lot of joy into your life, having two will be even better as you can watch and observe the joyful games that they play and even get involve yourself.

Can Ferrets Get Along With Dogs

If you want to house ferrets and dogs together, they should be raised from childhood early as dogs may see ferrets as prey and a larger dog could easily kill a ferret with a single bite.

It’s important to socialize the dogs when they are young so that they know that the ferret is off limits and part of the family and if you do this successfully then it should be fine to have ferrets and dogs in the same house.

How About Cats

Cat wouldn’t necessarily be as prey oriented as dogs and so ferrets might not even be afraid of them, choosing to stare them down instead of running. That being said a cat can still inflict damage on a ferret with a bite but it shouldn’t be able to kill it with a single bite and a ferret will fight back very strongly to ensure it’s survival. It will also let off a strong musky smell when he is feeling threatened or attacked.

Again it’s important to socialize cats and ferrets together from youth to ensure that they live and co inhabit together peacefully.

Do Ferrets Use Litter

Ferrets don’t use litter as an instinct like cats would but they can be trained from their youth to go to the toilet on their litter spot and placing their poop and urine on the litter will help them to understand and get the picture quickly as ferrets very intelligent animals.

It can be good to have a litter box in their cage and outside for when they are roaming around the house.

What Kind Of Habitat Should You Have For A Ferret?

Ferrets in the wild will find habitats around barns, farms or public parks where they can find their prey easily to get their food and this will usually consist of birds, mice and rats.

When you’re talking about keeping a ferret in your house, the most important thing to consider will be their cage, and having plenty of space to be able to move around when they are awake, even though they sleep 14 to 18 hours a day.

The cage needs to be big enough to have their litter inside it so they can go to the toilet through the night

Besides the cage you want to have a nice open space where they can have adventures and play with their mates and get up to the mischief and fun that they like to have.

Ferrets are not high maintenance, they only need 2 hours of play per day but you want to make the environment as interesting to them as possible while remaining safe.

Ferrets are also very intelligent and they will love if you keep games toys and puzzles around that can keep them amused and you’ll be surprised at how good they are at solving puzzles and expending some of their high energy, having fun with their games.

Can Ferrets Be Left Alone During The Day

Ferrets are excellent pets for people that work in offices, they will normally just sleep when there is nothing happening, so while you are at work they will get their rest and then they will explode into life when their owner comes home and they are always full of joy when they are let out to play.

They will run around the house borrowing into couches and trying to find places to have a good nap and their high energy and joy of life can be easily passed on to the humans around them.

What About For A Whole Weekend?

Ferrets could potentially be left alone for a whole weekend, provided that the house is safe for a ferret and they won’t eat or drink anything that could cause them harm and you have ensured they have plenty of food to keep them going.

It’s always best to check on them as much as possible but if you have to leave them alone for a weekend that is a possibility once you make sure they can’t escape from the house, as they are experts at getting through small gaps.

Should I Give My Ferret Baths

You should give your ferret a bath but not too often as it strips the coat of the essential oils that keep their skin healthy.

You can wash them in the sink or a bathtub and placing a few of their favourite toys in the water will help them to relax and feel at ease and you should use a shampoo specially formulated for ferrets to keep as much of the oil on the skin and coat as possible intact.

You should give your ferret a bath at most once a month or maybe only a few times during the year.

Do Ferrets Get Attached To Their Owners

Ferrets to get particularly attached did humans in their life if and and if their favourite human leaves their life, they may go into a deep depression and even die from a broken heart.

Are Ferrets Noisy

Ferrets are generally very quiet creatures that will sleep most of the day but when they do get angry or upset they can scream or hiss and you should be aware when they are angry as they may bite.

They can also probably be easily calm down if you cook them a nice bit of chicken to eat or just leave them alone until they calm down, or take them out to play if that’s what’s bothering them.

Are Ferrets Legal In Every State

No, there are some states that plan the ownership of ferrets. California bans the ownership of ferrets as they fear that will ferrets could upset the local ecosystem.

Ferrets are also banned in Hawaii, Washington DC and New York City although they are legal outside the main 5 Burroughs.

Cons Of Owning A Ferret

There are plenty of pros to owning these exuberant and full of life creatures for the joy and happiness they can bring into your life, but there is also a downside.

Ferrets Can Smell Quite Bad

The smell of a ferret is one of the major things that will put people off and it comes from many sources but there are a couple of ways to reduce it.

Ferrets have anal sacs that they will use to excrete a smell when they are threatened or in danger and this can be a foul musky smell like a skunk but it will quickly dissipate.

Females and males smell if they are not spayed or neutered as they will let off a scent to look for another mate and this one is also quite smelly.

There is a certain smell of the oils attached to their coat that will be natural and one that you can’t get rid of.

The urine of ferrets can also smell like strongly.

Ferrets can be descented by surgically removing the anal sacs and having them spayed or neutered you can bring the smell down considerably but you can’t totally eradicate the smell of these animals which is not for everybody.

If you were in the market to buy, you could look for a pets that has already been neutered or and descented, if the smell is an issue for you.

Ferrets Can Carry Disease

Ferrets can also carry bacterial diseases like salmonella which can be passed to humans so it’s always best to keep a good eye on your pet’s health and bring them to the vet at the first sign of any issues.

Always remember to wash your hands and practice good hygiene when you are handling your ferret or they have been running around your house and you should always clean up afterwards.

Ferrets Get Fleas Commonly

One of the most common elements that ferrets can suffer from is fleas which makes itchy and scratching at their coat excessively.

If you do suspect your ferret has fleas then you can bring them to the vet or you can get a specially formulated shampoo that will eradicate the fleas and bring your ferret back to a place of comfort with their skin.


Ferrets can smell quite bad but the positives far outweigh the negatives for most people. They are the third most common house pet in America and they’re playfulness, high energy nature, and contagious happiness makes them an excellent pet but they are quite tricky and maybe not for beginners, so if you feel you can handle one then you should go ahead and give it a try!

Aidan Lehane

I have been dealing with Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Turtles and Guniea pigs in my house since childhood and I now have years of experience in caring for my own pets, I decided to put this site together to share my passion and help people find some helpful knowledge. Feel free to reach out and get in touch.

Recent Content