Important information before purchasing
If you want to keep a ferret as a pet, you should not make this decision hastily. The cute marten animals absolutely need fellow animals, enough space and play opportunities as well as enough exercise. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind before making your purchase.
Keeping a ferret as a pet is an asset, but only if the polecat’s tame cousin feels comfortable in your home. The following tips will give you an idea of whether the animals are suitable for you.
Are ferrets even allowed to be kept as pets?
In principle, it is legal to keep ferrets as pets everywhere in Germany. So the question in this case is not “where is it forbidden?”, but “does my landlord allow me to keep ferrets?”.
There is one special thing to note here, because: Ferrets are considered small animals and can therefore not be banned across the board – even if the rental agreement actually excludes keeping pets. However, if the neighbors complain, for example because they feel disturbed by the smell or possible noise of the marten animals, your landlord can certainly forbid you to keep animals. In any case, it is better to seek the conversation in advance. That way you avoid trouble later.
Intense smell: Ferrets owners should not have a sensitive nose
Speaking of smell: Before you even start thinking about getting a ferret as a pet, you should critically examine your sense of smell: Are you sensitive to strong smells? Then a ferret might not be the best roommate for you. Because: The martens have an intense smell of their own.
Responsible for this is the anal gland secretion that ferrets secrete – especially when they are exposed to stressful situations. Incidentally, bathing does not help here, on the contrary: it means additional stress for the animals, they only secrete all the more secretion.
Male ferrets particularly “stink” during the Ranz, the mating season of the mustelid animals, which usually lasts from February/March into October. Castration can reduce the intense smell of the animals a little, but does not change the basically strong “scent” of the little furry cats much.
Ferrets for children: is that suitable?
Ferrets are only suitable as pets for children to a very limited extent. From the age of 10 at the earliest, children are mature enough to take (co-)responsibility for the marten animals. Smaller children should never be left alone with ferrets: the smell of baby cream and the like magically attracts the little squirrels, while small children are still too uncoordinated in their movements. Both can result in ferrets biting, which can be very painful.
Life expectancy: This is how long ferrets can live
With good care, ferrets can live up to 10 years. The average life expectancy of martens is five to eight years. From about the age of four, ferrets slowly become seniors, which is noticeable in their appearance and behavior: the animals are now less active, their fur becomes shaggy.
What character do ferrets have?
If you get a ferret as a pet, you get a lively, smart and curious little goblin. the marten relatives are also very sociable and absolutely need at least one conspecific as a playmate. They usually feel more comfortable in larger groups.
Ferrets like to explore their surroundings and are not exactly squeamish about it. The adventurous animals scurry around everywhere on their tours – flower pots and vases break quickly, cables are bitten or books are cleared from the shelves. In addition, the cheeky goblins are very playful and need to be kept busy. They can be trained a little, but are generally quite stubborn.
Nevertheless, it is possible ferret Potty trained to get. As a rule, they quickly become trusting as pets if they are kept in a species-appropriate manner and are then also very cuddly and in need of cuddles. Many can also be ans Walking on a leash get used to.
Husbandry: how much space and time does a ferret need as a pet?
Ferrets can be kept well in the apartment, provided it is securely furnished and the little animals have a nice, large enclosure or cage. The floor area of the cage should be at least 120 x 60 centimeters per animal, several levels accommodate the climbing instinct. Suitable cages are rarely found on the market, and building one yourself is usually the best.
It’s even better for the ferrets if they have their own room in the apartment, which is furnished accordingly – for example with a scratching post for cats to climb on. A enclosure in the garden or on the balcony is also an option, but setting this up to be escape-proof and suitable for ferrets is more difficult than with the indoor enclosure, since the animals are real escape artists.
Ferrets sleep up to 18 hours a day and can adapt to the daily rhythm of their people. That said, having a full-time ferret as a pet is usually not a problem as long as you spend a lot of time with them when you are at home.
Ferrets need four to six hours of exercise in the apartment every day, so they can rest, eat and play in their enclosure for the rest of the time. Another tip: not every veterinarian is familiar with martens and their peculiarities. Check with local vets to see if they have a ferret expert on hand so there are no problems later.
More essentials for pet ferrets
In addition to a feeding bowl, ferrets need a water bowl and a small house or cave per animal at the feeding station – the tame polecat cousins like to eat in peace and security.
They also need plenty of hiding places, resting places and climbing opportunities for their enclosure: tunnels, hammocks, caves, old clothes, discarded towels and leftover fabric provide comfort. Toys that are actually intended for cats can be used to amuse the ferrets.
You can use one as a “quiet place”. litter box use without a cover and fill it with cat litter. The digging companions are also happy about a box with sand or earth and leaves to play with. Keep in mind that you have to prepare the entire apartment for ferrets. This means that all cables and sockets must be secured, and the shelves with books and other things must ideally be lockable. In addition, nothing should be lying around that could be dangerous for the little animals.
Ferrets also like to hide in cracks and crevices, so be careful when you sit on the sofa, turn on the washer or dryer. Better count before you turn it on to make sure all your ferrets are safe.
Diet: what do ferrets eat?
They may look cute, but like dogs and cats, ferrets are predators and carnivores. Nevertheless, they have their own demands on their food, which differ from dog food and cat food. barf, i.e. raw meat feeding, but is also suitable for ferrets. Before you buy it, be sure to ask the breeder or ferret help what you need to look out for when it comes to the nutrient composition. Apart from that, there is special dry food and wet food for the marten animals.
Buying a ferret: an overview of maintenance costs
You now know what conditions ferrets need as pets. But what about the costs? Basically, different factors come into play here, for example whether you decide to get a ferret from a breeder or from an animal shelter. Possible illnesses and associated veterinary treatments can also drive up the costs. Roughly you can count on the following items:
- Purchase: between approx. 100 and 250 euros per animal
- Cage and enclosure: each from about 100 euros
- Basic equipment: about 150 euros
- Lining: around 40 euros a month for two ferrets
- Veterinarian (once, per animal): between about 60 and 150 euros for the castration, about 30 euros for the chipping
- Vet (several times): Costs for vaccinations, check-ups and treatment of injuries or illnesses
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