Friday, March 12, 2010

Selecting A Healthy Ferret

Hello dear readers. Here we are once again, eager to learn more about our friendly neighbourhood ferrets. And today’s post (on the coolest ferret-supporting blog on the planet), I’m going to write about how to select a healthy ferret. Aren’t you excited?

“About as excited as I get when I pick lint out of my belly button”

Very funny.

If you’re planning on getting a ferret, you’ll want to select a healthy one. To do that, you need to know what to look for.

Here are some obvious signs of good health:
- Fur should be soft and glossy

- Eyes should be bright and clear, not crusty or runny

- Ears should be clean and free of odor, wax or ear mites

- Whiskers must be long and shiny, not broken or brittle

- Foot pads should not be dry or scaly

- Teeth should be clean and healthy (check for bad breath, inflamed or swollen gums, tartar and chipped teeth, all negative signs)

- Skin should not have bumps, parasites or red patches

- Nails should be trimmed and intact, not split or broken

- There should be no limping, stumbling or other physical handicaps
- The nose of a ferret can be wet, cold, dry or warm, so just make sure that it’s not running, which can indicate a cold

In addition to all the physical features listed above, a ferret that you are interested in should be alert and curious about its surroundings. And if it’s not sleeping, it should be reasonably active; this can include play fighting with a cage mate, sniffing everything within its reach or playing with available toys.

You will also want to make sure that the ferret is not deaf. Try to get its attention by tapping the ground with your finger or squeezing a squeaky toy. If it doesn’t respond to any type of noise, it may have hearing problems.

Photo from SXC

Once you are satisfied with all the above, inspect the ferret’s living conditions:
- Is the cage clean? A dirty cage is a breeding ground for parasites.

- Is there fresh, clean water available? What about food?

- Is there a litter box in the cage? How dirty is it? What kind of litter is being used? (There should be no wood shavings or clumping litter)
- Is there appropriate bedding for the fuzzies to sleep on (or in)? Is it soiled?

- Are there any inappropriate or dangerous toys near the fuzzies, which if chewed and swallowed will cause intestinal blockage that can prove fatal?

If you’ve come this far and all the criteria have been met, it’s time to interact with the ferret by picking it up and checking for these things:
- Are you able to pick up the ferret? Does it show signs of fear? Does it try to hide? Or bite?

- Is he/she playful? A healthy ferret is full of beans and can’t sit still for long.

- Does he enjoy being cuddled or held? Not all ferrets enjoy sitting in your arms for long periods, but they should allow you to handle them without becoming overly aggressive. A little squirming to be put down is okay; hissing and biting isn’t.

If you’ve made it all the way to here, you’ve got a healthy fuzzy on your hands! Take it home, care for it properly and love it.

That’s all there is to it, folks. And remember to take your time; the ferret you choose will be with you for anywhere from 5 – 10 years, so you’ll want to make the right choice.

Okay, now it’s time to hear from the fuzzies.


[Rolling eyes] Sure Bailey, that’s why we chose you...sure...


Oh Clair, you really are getting to be more and more like Bailey every day...


  1. Too cute Martha : )
    Those are two very lucky little ferret souls in "the tribe" I'm surprised nacho didn't totally insist on having her picture included !

  2. Actually, Joy, Nacho has been complaining about not being included in these posts. She's been threatening to go on a hunger unless she's allowed to participate. Of course, that's not the smartest threat to use. I'd give her about a couple of hours and she'll be back to her food dish :)

  3. You really are providing a valuable resource here with your Ferrety Fridays, Martha. So many people buy pets impulsively and then quickly grow weary of them and the responsibility of caring for them. I find these posts very informative and interesting to read.

    A woman could also apply the "Obvious Signs of Good Health" above to looking for a husband...very useful. :-)

  4. You make me smile all the time, Martha. Hey, you're a winner in last week's plant puzzler. Congrats! You win bragging rights - woohoo!

  5. Ha ha...Beth...that was hilarious. And so true. The same things can be applied to finding a are so right!

    These posts are written precisely for that reason; to educate people about ferrets, which will in turn either make them change their mind about getting a ferret, or help them further in caring for one if they're convinced it's the right pet for them.

    Oh, and Joy, I meant to write "HUNGER STRIKE" for Nacho. Sometimes my brain overloads...

    Thanks Liza! I aim to put a smile on the faces of my blog visitors. Nothing like a good laugh to get the day going.

    Are you serious? I won! Woohoo! And I didn't really guess anything specific. Just wondered if everthing was wrong with the plant. Imagine that... Yipee for me!

  6. I'm still thrilled that Clair is living with you. How awesome for her. And yes, Nacho needs his place in the spotlight.

  7. Tatiana, I can't tell you how happy I am that we got Clair. She's so sweet, and absolutely adorable.

    I think I will consider adding comments from Nacho in future posts. The hunger strike thing, you know :)