Friday, January 7, 2011

Ferrety Friday – Questions And Answers

This week’s post is all about ferrety questions and answers. Some may have been asked – and answered – previously, but, no matter; consider them refreshers.

Okay, let’s do it...

1) Can a ferret live alone?

Yes, but like other animals, a ferret will be happier if it has a fuzzy friend.

2) Which type of ferret is friendlier? Male or female?

If raised and taken care of properly, male and female ferrets are equally friendly.

3) Why do ferrets sneeze so much?

Ferrets walk with their heads very low to the ground, sniffing everything along the way, and inhaling quite a few irritants, like dust, which make them sneeze. There is nothing to worry about unless the sneezing includes a runny nose and watery eyes; then your pet probably has a cold.”

4) Can a ferret get along with other pets like cats, dogs, rabbits, and so on?

If you’re going to team a ferret up with another pet, your best bet is a cat. Ferrets and cats get along quite well. Still, you should supervise them while they play. Do not leave a fuzzy alone with a dog, especially one with hunting instincts; it could seriously hurt a ferret, even kill it. And you should never leave a ferret alone with a rabbit, rat, mouse, bird, reptile, hamster or fish; they’re all animals that ferrets ‘instinctively’ prey on. And even though they don’t hunt anymore, ferrets shouldn’t be completely trusted around these animals.

5) How fast does a ferrets heart beat?

Pretty fast; between 180 – 250 beats per minute, with the average being about 225.

6) Can ferrets catch human colds?

Yes, ferrets are susceptible to the same type of colds and flu as humans are, and will display similar symptoms: sneezing, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, watery eyes and loss of appetite. If any members of your family are ill, or friends that are visiting display cold symptoms, don’t let them go near your ferrets. Your fuzzies can easily get sick, and transmit the illness to you.

7) Why do ferrets shiver when they wake up?

When ferrets sleep, their body temperature drops. When they wake up, they shiver to raise their temperature; this can last for up to 20 minutes.

8) What sounds do Ferrets make?

Ferrets are extremely quiet pets, but they sometimes use vocalizations to get their point across, such as “dooking” (a soft clucking or chattering noise that is often made when a ferret is very excited or happy), “barking” (signifies that a fuzzy is extremely excited or very frightened), “screeching” (a reaction to pain, anger or fear; may be followed by rapid chattering), “hissing” (a ferret hisses when it is irritated, angry or frightened) and “whining” (fuzzies let out a cry when they are injured, in need of attention or frightened).

9) How long do ferrets live?

Ferrets typically live anywhere from 6 – 10 years

10) Can a ferret's musky smell be minimized?

Yes. If you wash a ferret’s bedding often, clean out the poop from the litter box daily, change the litter at least once a week, feed your pet the right mixture of food and don’t bathe him often, the ferrety scent will be practically non-existent.

11) Why is it important to neuter male ferrets?

When you neuter a male female, it will reduce his odor, prevent him from marking his territory (like a male cat does) with a foul-smelling slime and make him less aggressive. An intact male ferret can become extremely hostile and very aggressive, so much so that he may kill another ferret, male or female.

12) Why is it important to spay a female ferret?

A female ferret will go into heat between the ages of 4 – 6 months during the breeding period, which generally runs from March through August. And once she goes into heat, she will stay in heat until she breeds. During this prolonged heat period, she will regularly experience bleeding from her reproductive tract. Eventually, she’ll lose enough blood for it to become life-threatening. Initially, she’ll become sick, and if not spayed promptly, she will ultimately die from the blood loss.

13) Do baby ferrets nip?

Like many other baby animals, nipping is normal behaviour for kits. They don’t do it because they’re vicious; they do it because it’s natural for them. When ferrets play with other ferrets, they play fight, and that play fighting includes some biting; not hard enough to really hurt a playmate, but certainly hard enough to make it exciting. Ferrets have very tough skin, so they can handle quite a bit of nipping, but what feels like a play bite to a baby ferret may actually hurt you. That being said, just as you would with kittens and puppies, baby ferrets must be taught not to nip. And it should be done at an early age. Nipping kits that aren’t taught that this type of social behaviour is unacceptable may grow up to be adult ferrets that bite.

Read more about nipping here.

14) Is rubber dangerous to ferrets?

Extremely. Ferrets love to chew on rubber, some of which ends up being swallowed. The problem is that ingested rubber can cause intestinal blockage, which will prove fatal unless treated immediately, quite often with surgery. Therefore, make sure you keep all foam rubber or soft rubber items out of your fuzzy’s reach. This can include rubber bands, shoe inserts, erasers, toys, etc.

15) How do you select a healthy 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. Learn all about that here.

And that’s it for today, folks.

Let’s end this week’s ferrety post with this photo; one of my favourites of Bailey.

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