Ferrets are some of the biggest personalities in the animal world – in some of the smallest packages! If you’re looking for a different kind of pet than a dog or cat, a ferret might be a great choice for you! Here are 10 fun ferret facts!
1. Ferrets are mustelids.
The Mustelidae family is the weasel family which includes otters, badgers, skunks, pine martens, polecats, wolverines, and more! Domestic ferrets, similar to domestic dogs, have many differences than their wild counterparts though, including an inability to function on their own in the outdoors! The only wild ferret left is called the Black-Footed Ferret and they live in prairie dog burrows!
2. Ferrets need cool temperatures!
Ferrets cannot survive in temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit! Here in Florida, ferrets need to be kept inside appropriate ferret-proof cages!
3. Ferrets have a special ferrety smell.
Ferrets produce a “musk” in their skin’s natural oils. All ferrets sold in pet stores have been “de-scented” meaning they do not have the scent glands that make them produce even more of that musk. However, if you keep your ferret clean by changing their bedding once a week and bathing them once a month, their smell is hardly noticeable!
4. Ferrets are carnivores!
Similar to cats, ferrets are obligate carnivores, meaning they must have a high protein diet to thrive! There is ferret specific dry kibbles in your local pet store – just make sure they have about 35-40% protein and low carbohydrates!
5. Ferrets should not have sugar – ever!
Ferrets are especially sensitive to sugary treats. They are very prone to getting a disease called insulinoma which is often the result of eating sugars. Avoid treats like raisins, bananas, and other sugary substances at all costs. More meat = better treat! Just because a ferret is on the bag, does not mean it’s a good treat!
6. Ferrets LOVE to dance!
When ferrets are extremely excited and happy, they do something called “the weasel war dance”. It looks like they’ve lost control of all of their limbs and senses, but that’s just a ferret way of showing pure joy! Be sure to give your ferret 3-4 hours of dance time a day out of their cage!
7. Ferrets can get heartworm disease.
Just like cats, ferrets (even indoors) can get heartworm disease through mosquito bites. There is no treatment for this disease in ferrets. Talk to your veterinarian about keeping your weasel on a prevention safe for them!
8. Ferrets are fearless.
Ferrets, to their benefit or detriment, are not afraid of anything! This makes them great friends for cats, dogs, and other ferrets. It also makes them dangerously curious – so be sure you ferret-proof your home before playtime! They will jump off of things, dig and bite into things, and hide your things…mischief is their middle name!
9. Ferrets are a 6-8 year commitment.
Ferrets have relatively short lifespans compared to cats and small dogs, but you can bet through those years they will be some of the most entertaining and loving companions! Ferrets have huge personalities and love to match.
10. Ferrets are thieves! But they also can have real careers…
The scientific name of the ferret is Mustelidae putorius furo which translates to “stinky mouse thief”. They will steal your socks, shoes, and anything else they find interesting and stash them for safe-keeping. Even though that’s their favorite job, ferrets have also been used for pulling cables through tubing, and helping with rabbit hunts centuries ago. Some ferrets even worked for the Queen of England by pulling cables for the video equipment for Princess Diana’s wedding!
For more great ferret info, check out these handouts!
It turned out that Penny had a very resistant bacterial infection that was making it very hard for her body to heal. We were forced to go back to surgery, where Dr. Hayes cleaned the incision site up and sutured everything back together. Penny underwent a course of very strong injectable antibiotic therapy and was stuck in her cone of shame for a little while longer, but that never made her angry or sad. She just went on being the sweet cat that we all have grown to love!
We are so happy to say now that Penny is fully recovered! Her incision site healed beautifully after her antibiotic treatment, and she is headed back to life as a normal tripod kitty! She may only have three legs, but she doesn’t let that slow her down when she has the “zoomies” and plays with her family. Sometimes, we see the bad side of people when we see things like this happen to pets. However, it only brings the best out in others. We are so proud of our community of clients who donated to our Angel Fund and helped this deserving family. Penny will continue to enjoy her long and happy life thanks to the good people of the world like all of you and most of all a family who loves her very, very much!