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Appropriate company for ferrets

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Ensure your ferret has appropriate company
 

Ferrets in their hammock © iStockphoto

Ferrets need: 

  • To be kept with at least one other friendly ferret, unless advised otherwise by a vet or clinical animal behaviourist. Many ferrets (but not all) enjoy each other’s company, but must have their own, marked space in their home range.
    - Groups should be carefully matched - a maximum of four animals, (preferably littermates), is ideal.
    - How well ferrets get along depends on factors such as genetics, housing, group composition and their previous experiences.
     
  • To be neutered unless you intend to breed from them and provisions have been made to care for both parents and offspring. Unneutered male ferrets may be more aggressive.
     
  • Careful daily checking for signs of stress/fear/aggression within the group.
    - All ferrets should be alert, active, handle-able, explorative and playful, without displaying any fearful behaviour.
    - Persistent hiding/biting/fighting indicate aggression in the group and are reasons to make changes to the group or to the housing e.g. adding hiding places or moving 1/2 ferrets to other suitable accommodation.
    - If there are signs of aggression, carefully check for wounds (especially around the neck). Seek vet advice if wounds are obvious or you’re not sure.
     
  • Daily handling from an early age – they can form strong bonds with humans. If properly socialised, this will be a pleasant and welcome daily activity. If kept on their own for some reason, ferrets must be provided with companionship by daily interactions.
    - If carefully introduced early in life, ferrets can also develop friendships with other animals (non-prey species), and daily interactions with them can be beneficial.
     
  • All handling to be a non harmful, pleasant experience.
     
  • To stay with their mother until they are at least 8 weeks old - to learn behave in a group.
     
  • Places to get away from companions if they want to and enough resources (e.g. shelter/food/water/hiding places) for all ferrets at all times.
     
  • To be cared for by a responsible person when you are away.
     
  • To never be left unsupervised with another animal or person who may, deliberately or accidentally, harm or frighten them.