FAQ - Keeping Ferrets
Most Ferrets are happiest in pairs or in small groups, especially young ferrets as they are very demanding. Adults tend to be calmer and can be more suitable for first time ferret owners. Most desexed ferrets will get on with others but new ferrets will require time to settle into the household.
When buying a ferret look for bright, clear eyes, healthy skin, unbroken whiskers, soft coat, clean healthy nails and feet and a curious, alert attitude. Be on the lookout for signs of mange or other mite infestation.
Do not buy a ferret if the seller is not prepared to take the ferret back within a reasonable period if you change your mind. We recommend the ferret be at least 8 weeks old as younger ferrets are still learning vital skills from mum and the other kits.
Ferrets must be kept in a cool area - under 27 degrees C - or they can quickly die of heatstroke, especially in summer. Ferrets can be happily housed in a cage either outside under the verandah or balcony, or they can have the run of the house or a spare room.
Regardless of their living arrangements, ferrets need socialising every day for at least a couple of hours. Ferrets that are left in cages can become unsociable, nippy and hard to handle or they can become depressed.
A simple metal frame with a minimum size of 2m2 or larger with 1.75cm2 (1/2 inch) wire mesh (depending on size of smallest ferret) and a solid weatherproof overhanging roof. This will comfortably accommodate 2 ferrets.
The cage can be divided into levels using hammocks or shade cloth and flexible pipes to link levels provides more space and activities. Bird aviaries with a solid floor also make excellent homes for groups of ferrets. Levels, ramps, piping, hammocks etc can be used to create more space to sleep and play. The floor should be solid, or very small gauge wire. Water bowls and water bottles should be provided to allow them to eat and drink throughout the day. Contact the Info Line for any further help.
A weatherproof plastic or wooden box (like a bird box) with easily accessible entrance hold is suitable. Bedding can be old towels, clothes, blankets etc as long as they are clean. Woodshavings and sawdust are not recommended as they can be inhaled or swallowed and cause fatal blockages.
Aside from boxes, you can also provide a sleeping bag or similar, which will provide sufficience warmth in winter. A range of sleeping bags are available from The Shop.
A section of cage away from the litter tray (with a solid floor that prevents food dropping through the wire) is fine as a feeding area. Solid heavy bowls for food and water are best as ferrets enjoy tipping bowls over! Most owners find mounted bottles best for water, as they are less messy.
A basic cat litter tray situated in a corner will do, although a high corner tray is better as ferrets can back too far into the corner. Litter should be cleaned daily, but be aware that some ferrets will not use litter if it is too clean, so leaving a small amount of poop can encourage use. If your ferret starts digging or playing in the litter tray, you will know it is too clean.
Most ferrets can learn to use the tray, however, there can be times when frightened ferrets have occasional accidents. As well as this, if they are occupied playing or getting into mischief they might not get to the tray in time. Gentle guidance is required to make sure they know the right thing to do, but do not expect too much - having multiple trays around the house can save a lot of hassle!
Clumping or gravel type litter should be avoided as it can get into the ferrets anus and cause a blockage. The best type of litter to use is the recycled newspaper pellets like Yesterdays News, as it is safe, cheap, easy to clean up and easily digested if accidently swallowed.