Ensure your ferret is able to behave normally
- Constant access to safe hiding places (e.g. tunnels, closed hammocks) so they can avoid things that scare them.
Suitable things to investigate, safe toys and regular opportunities to play. E.g. squeaky toys, balls, somewhere to dig and opportunities to play hide and seek. Vary play and toys frequently.
- Ferrets are curious - play and exploratory behaviours are essential behaviours for them.
- A shallow water bath if they enjoy playing in water - some do, but it depends on the individual. Always supervise (ensure it’s shallow enough so they can always get out) and never force them to swim.
- Daily exercise opportunities to stay fit and healthy - ideally, daily access to a safe play area.
- Daily observation for any signs of excessive aggression in the group e.g. biting, with or without shaking or dragging of the other animal.
- To be kept away from prey species. They are predators - predation comes naturally to them.
- Interesting mealtimes. Make them search for food by hiding it/using food toys.
- Constant access to everything they need e.g. space/food/water/hiding places/companions/toys.
Careful observation – changes in behaviour or showing regular signs of stress/fear could indicate distress, boredom, illness or injury - seek advice from a vet.
- The way ferrets behave depends on their age, personality and past experiences.
- Frightened or stressed ferrets may change their behaviour or develop unwanted habits e.g. fleeing/hiding/screaming/hissing/biting.
- Signs of discomfort/pain include reluctance to move, weight loss, anorexia, trembling, collapse, crying, whimpering, and teeth grinding.
- Kindness! Never shout at or punish them, they are very unlikely to understand and can become more nervous or scared. If their behaviour becomes a problem, ask your vet for advice.
- To stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks of age – to learn how to behave in a group, e.g. how to communicate. Scent is important for communication (e.g. secretions, urine and faeces to mark territory.) Ferrets also communicate by using sounds and body language.