Friday, November 26, 2010

Ferrety Questions And Answers

This week is a list of ferrety questions and answers. I’ll be including more of them in future posts.

Let’s start with these basic ones:

1) How much do ferrets cost?

It all depends on where you get them from. Typically, you’ll find descented, vaccinated and spayed/neutered ferrets at pet stores for about $200, give or take a few bucks. You’ll probably pay less if you get one directly from a breeder, but the ferret you take home from there won’t be fixed, so you’ll have to factor in spaying/neutering costs, descenting and all the rest. If you have a ferret shelter in your area, you might want to take a look there, too. The price will be much lower than a pet store, and the ferrets will be fixed, vaccinated and most likely descented. You’ll also get one that has a clean bill of health, or information about any health issues.

2) Where can I get a ferret?

Check your local pet stores or visit a ferret shelter if there’s one in your area. You can also get one from a ferret breeder if there’s one close by.

For more info: Ferrety Friday - Where To Get A Ferret

3) What do I look for when buying a ferret?

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’s how: Ferrety Friday - Selecting A Healthy Ferret

4) How can you tell a male ferret from a female ferret?

If you look on the belly of a ferret, halfway between the tail and the bottom of the rib cage, and you notice what looks like an ‘outie’ belly button, it’s a male (and that’s not a belly button). If there’s no sign of a belly button, it’s a female. It’s that simple.

To learn more about the differences between male and female ferrets, visit: Ferrety Friday - Differences Between Male And Female Ferrets.

5) What is the typical weight and size of a ferret?

Although there are exceptions to this rule, males are slightly larger, growing between 17 to 24 inches in length and weighing anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds. Females, on the other hand, will be about 12 to 16 inches long and weigh between 1 to 3 pounds. In summary, a domesticated ferret will have an average length of 20 inches and weigh about 2 to 4 pounds.

6) Do ferrets make good pets?

Yes and no. If they are properly cared for, are given enough time out of a cage to exercise and socialize, and are trained properly, then yes, they make wonderful pets. If not, then no. Just like any other pet, ferrets are as good as their owners make them.

7) Is a ferret a good pet for a child?

I would never recommend a ferret for a child of any age. I explain why here: Ferrety Friday – Ferrets And Kids

8) I’ve heard that ferrets smell bad. Is this true?

Ferrets have a very distinct smell that many people find offensive. But that smell is not as bad – or as consistent - as you’ve been led to believe. And you can make it practically non-existent. Here’s how: Ferrety Friday – How Bad Does A Ferret Smell?

9) Are ferrets rodents?

No. Ferrets are not rodents in any way, shape or form, and they are in no way related to rodents. They are small, carnivorous mammals belonging to the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels, polecats, ferrets, minks, fishers, otters, badgers, wolverines, stoats, martens, tayras and grisons (most of which I have no clue what they are). And for your information, ferrets eat rodents.

Learn more about them here: Ferrety Friday - What In The World Is A Ferret?

10) How long does a domestic ferret live?

A domestic ferret typically lives anywhere from 6 – 10 years, so you’re looking at quite a long-term commitment.

11) What kind of food do ferrets eat?

Ferrets are obligate carnivores (strict meat eaters) and  should not be fed foods that are high in fiber or carbohydrates. Instead, their diet should consist mainly of meat and animal products that are high in protein and fat.

Learn more here: Ferrety Friday - Feeding A Ferret

12) How much should you feed a ferret?

Because ferrets have a high metabolism and a short digestive system they need to eat frequently; usually every 3 – 4 hours. Therefore, you cannot put them on a feeding schedule as you would a dog or cat, for instance. Give them access to food and fresh water at all times; this will allow them to eat whenever they need to.

13) Can a ferret be litter-trained?

Yes, but unlike a cat that goes regularly without a problem, litter training a ferret is an ongoing process that can be quite trying. And even when your ferret finally understands where he’s supposed to go, he won’t always comply. Expect to clean up the occasional accident; at best your fuzzy will have a 90 – 95 percent hit rate.

14) What kind of litter can you use for a ferret?

Choose one that is relatively-dust free. And do not use wood shavings or a litter that clumps.

15) How do you get a ferret to use the litter tray?

You can find information about that here: Ferrety Friday – Litter Box Training

16) Should I bathe my ferret?

Ferrets do not need to be bathed regularly. And not only do they not need to be bathed regularly; they shouldn’t be. Washing them too often will strip oils from their body, which will dry out the skin; this will make your ferret itchy and uncomfortable. In addition, bathing a ferret too often will make it smell more. The body will increase the production of oils (that’s what causes the musky odor) to compensate for the oils that the bath removed. Therefore, your pet will smell worse for awhile after you’ve washed him. I wouldn’t recommend bathing your ferret more than once every three months; preferably only twice a year.

17) My ferret got really dirty and I have no choice but to bathe him. How do I do that?

Read all about it here: Ferrety Friday - Bathing A Ferret

18) How do ferrets communicate?

They have many forms of communication. Learn about them here: Ferrety Friday – How Fuzzies Communicate

That’s it for this week! I'll be back on another day with more ferrety questions and answers.

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