Hi my name is Henry. I would like to help answer your questions so please send me some on our Contact Us page. Here are a few I have already answered and I hope they can also help you:
Q: Ferrets are nocturnal right? (number one myth I hear)
A: No. We are on your schedule. Well except we take more naps. I like long naps in a blanket.
Q: What is a “dig box”?
A: Well it is a fun box or bin filled with stuff to roll around in. We have a large bin with a tube leading to it filled with white uncooked rice. There is a top on it to keep that nosey cat out – he thinks it is a litter box – stupid cat. We love to dig and roll around in it. There is this blog that talks about different stuff to use: http://blog.ferretsnorth.org/2011/04/dig-boxes.html
Q: My ferret has fleas – what is safe?
A: We are closer related to the cat then the dog so most cat flea treatments work on us. But no flea baths. We would lick it too much. We have used Frontline for cats and Advantage - cat only NEVER use Advantix. Only a small drop between the shoulder blades gets rid of those nasty buggers. But if you are "ahem" big boned like Bumble, who pushes 5 lbs at times, it is recommended to have one drop per pound.
Q: Can my ferret play outside?
A: With strict supervision we like going outside but we get hot fast so be very careful. Also Distemper is airborne so we need to be vaccinated to be outside. Plus I know some of us are really really fast so no one is allowed out without a harness and leash - how lame.
Q: Can my ferret play in snow?
A: It is too cold for outside talk……but bring the snow in. We like an old long litter pan were we bury our noses but never get too cold. Also put a towel under as we will fling it everywhere!
Q: Why are ferrets caged?
A: Safety. So I do like to wander but I feel more secure in my home. I also often sleep in the middle of the human traffic path - you know, so they stop and pick me up. But my cage is full of wonderful hammocks and cubes. It has my favorite food and water when I need it. I also won’t be stepped on by accident and believe me, you don’t want to step in poo on your way to the bathroom in the dark. Also what if there was an emergency? Could you find me in time? What if you stepped on me and broke my back? How horrible would that be. No, a nighttime in the cage is perfect. So long as I get to romp for at least 5 hours a day with you I won't wither and die in the cage - at least that is what I am told.
Q: What size wheel or exercise ball should I get?
A: No - negative - nada Our bodies are not shaped as to be able to move in an exercise ball nor use an exercise wheel that is found in pet stores. There are ferret parents who have made wheels for us but we are not like those crazy rodents who like running on a wheel - how boring. Do they even know they aren't going anywhere? We are made to run through tunnels so get those instead!
Q: How often do I bathe my ferret?
A: Only when necessary. My skin dries out terribly when you wash me often. The rice bin helps clean my fur. I am also like the cat so I try and stay clean. Not meaning a partial wash of feet and tail in not needed occasionally. Also if my tail looses hair, you can wash it with hypoallergenic face wash (yes human kind) to help clean my dirty pores. Remember to use very warm water and a sink works well because I hate swimming.
Q: Hammocks are so expensive, how do I choose the right one?
A: If you are one that can sew - check out what this gal can do: A Ferret Affair . Get patterns from this forum: The Holistic Ferret Forum - bedding tutorials. Or buy from Little Feet Ferret Bedding company . I have the safari theme in my home. But even an old pillow case works great. You know, the kind that opens in the middle. Attach it with binder clips or shower rings or other fasteners. Even a pant leg from an old pair of jeans works - cut a small slit in them to attach shower hooks and they will easily snap on to the cage. Even old bed sheets in the bottom of the cage or on shelves. So long as I have a bunch to choose from I will be happy.
Q: Can’t I just feed cat food? I heard that is fine.
A: No and Yes. Some cat food is high enough quality but often it has too high of carbs – bad for us. Please see this chart: More Dooks food chart . I would say mix it if you must use cat food - but I do love that the salmon stuff! So don't forget the fish!
Q: Is a male ferret or female ferret better?
A: Well I prefer us guys as we tend to be more laid back but just like color, gender doesn’t really matter. Some of the sweetest ferrets I have met are female while some are a pain. Since we all get altered (we came from pet stores) at a young age then gender should not influence you. (but guys are better)
Q: How friendly is a ferret normally?
A: We are very curious and with more handling we get friendlier but remember we have tons of energy and want to go go GO GO!
Q: How much attention do they need?
A: As much as you can give me. I am happy exploring your house or room while you work on the computer or watch tv. We need at least 4-6 hours a day outside our cage. I insist on some cuddle time also. Let me curl up in that blanket next to you on the couch.
Q: Won’t they chew the wires in my house?
A: We aren’t rats. Or teeth don't keep growning. We don’t normally chew on anything other then food - unless you are like some I see here who like rubber items (remotes, cell phone casese, etc.). You know, like a cat doesn’t chew up your house, neither do we. But plants on the floor are fair game – just saying.
Q: Is taking care of a ferret hard?
A: I think we are very easy to care for. We need a full bowl a food to munch on at all times. A clean water source – bottle or bowl (but attach the bowl because we like to shove stuff around). A cage that is cleaned of soiled litter at least every other day. Remember we walk through that stuff and then on your carpet or on you……. We are more independent so not needy like a dog.
Q: How do I trim my ferret's toenails? He won't hold still unless I scruff him and someone helps me! HELP!
A: Ouch - I hate being scruffed. It is a punishment from mom. Get some Ferretone and put some on my belly. I lick it off while you trim my nails. It sometimes takes time for some of us to know how AWESOME Ferretone is but everyone gets the idea after awhile. Here is Martini showing how he will lay back licking the Ferretone off his belly:
Q: Isn’t it expensive to own a ferret?
A: Sure it could be. How tempting it is to buy that new cubby hole or ferret tube at the pet store. But we don’t need fancy. Spend your money on the better foods and make me hammocks. An old pillow case works well. Now vet visits can be expensive so just have an emergency fund. We need only a couple vaccinations a year so no more then your cat/dog. Please read this site which will educate you on any upcoming diseases we get as we age: Ferret Universe (turn your speakers on and hear dooking)
Q: How can I save on ferret supplies?
A: Well get me a long sewer tube from the hardware store and make a tunnel system with it. I don’t need those crinkly or expanding tubes. Make me a hammock out of an old pillow case. I also like old towels to curl up in. Now we buy all our food and treats online at Ferret dot com or 1-800 Pet Supplies . It saves us a bunch. Also Craigslist has people selling ferret stuff or making hammocks and even shelves for cages.
Q: How much do you eat a day?
A: Well I don’t eat a whole lot but about ¼ to ½ dry food a day. But I also get some duk soup and access to some soft food. I have bad teeth. The rest of the group eats at least ½ a cup day but some is wasted. Depending on if they like digging through the food, like our weird ferret buddy Rice, for their favorite or just to remove everything from the bowl. I also would attach that bowl to the cage. Some furkids are totally insane with moving and tipping bowls over. Well I guess you never know when there might be a treat under that bowl.
WARNING - People will say that a dog/cat will steal your heart. Breaking it when they pass on. But a ferret gets into your soul and therefore the loss can be harder.
The reverse holds true, once you have had one of us in your life it will never be the same.