Ferrets are extremely energetic and acrobatic animals that are great fun to watch and need plenty of space and exercise. They will live happily indoors or outdoors provided they have suitable housing with sufficient shelter from extremes of heat or cold.
If kept indoors Ferrets may be kept in either wire mesh or wooden cages with a solid floor. Litter trays can be placed in several locations within the cage/enclosure to provide ‘toilet areas’. Ferret housing should always include a dark, quiet sleeping area with soft bedding as this will allow the ferret to feel secure and perform their natural hiding behaviour. Suitable substrates for an outdoor enclosure include newspaper and woodchip flooring whereas wood shavings or hay can be used as bedding material for indoor cages.
Ferrets reach sexual maturity at 6-12 months. Neutering and speying is recommended for both male and female ferrets. Entire male ferrets (known as Hobs) can be very aggressive to other ferrets. Female ferrets (know as Jills) are at risk of developing aplastic anaemia if they come into heat and are not mated. An entire female ferret will come into season in Spring and may remain in a state of persistent oestrous unless ovulation is induced (ie she is mated by a male). The prolonged release of these hormones can then cause bone marrow suppression and the resulting anaemia can be a life threatening condition. Speying is a permanent solution to his issue although an implant is also available that can be used to suppress oestrus for up to 2 years. Entire ferrets (both male and female) have a very distinctive strong, musky smell and for people that would like to keep their pets indoors this is often another important consideration.
Ferrets can be vaccinated for Canine Distemper. This is a highly contagious disease with a high fatality rate.
Ferrets like other pets can be microchipped to provide your pet with a permenent form of identification.