Some Ferret Resources

Panda Ferret PlayingHere are a few ferret resources to help you with both general and specific information, as well as in the case of a ferret emergency.

1. American Ferret Association, Inc

888-FERRET-1

afa@ferret.org

www.ferret.org

2. The Ferret Council Ferret Emergency Response, Rescue & Evaluation Team (FERRET)

EMERGENCIES ONLY: 860-906-8798

info@ferretemergency.org

www.ferretemergency.org.

3. Ferret Health Advancement Department, Michigan State University

ferrethealth.msu.edu

4. International Ferret Congress

ferretcongress@ferrectcongress.org

www.ferretcongress.org.

5. Support our shelters

ferretshelterfund@supportourshelters.org

www.supportourshelters.org.

Also, you might check out our 2 in 1 Ferret Book.

 

New “2 in 1 Ferret Book”

A New Ferret Book that Includes Both Getting Started with Pet Ferrets and Ferret Toys – With Updated Information and New Material

New Ferret BookHere’s a brief description:

So you finally got that pet ferret you’ve been wanting. But now what?

Ferrets do make great pets. They are fun, quirky, lovable, playful, mischievous, and entertaining little critters. But they also require a commitment on your part. You will need to invest time, money, and energy to take care of your woozles properly. Reading our 2 in 1 Ferret Book will aid you in preparing and getting outfitted for your ferret journey – especially the ferret-cage and ferret-readiness checklists.

And then there are the toys – most likely lots of them. Just as we do for our human children, we want the best, most-stimulating toys we can afford for our pet ferrets. But how do we wade through the thousands of choices and the many manufacturers. And where is the best place to get ferret toys? And what about homemade toys?

This book contains our two top-selling ferret books with new additional material. 

Our new 2 in 1 Ferret Book will give you the basics of ferret care and the low-down on ferret toys. It’ll also save you some money – always a good thing this time of year.

Happy Holidays!

 

What Are the Top 3 Ferret Toys (According to my Ferrets)?

There is, of course, a dizzying multitude of ferret toys on the market. So trying to find great toys for your fuzzies can be both confusing and overwhelming. And because of that, it’s easy to spend a small fortune trying to find just the right toys for your pet ferrets. But maybe this post will make it a little easier and save you both time and money. Following are the toys my fuzzies have chosen as their top 3 favorites.

Ferret Tunnel System – This consists of a long section (or sections) of pliable, bendable clear-plastic tubing. It’s about 4 to 5 inches in diameter and has enough stiffness to retain its shape while your carpet sharks travel through it. They won’t get stuck because, with a little effort, they can turn around in the tunnel.

You can also purchase various attachments to go on the ends of the tunnel. These make the tunnel play even more fun for them and more enjoyable for you to watch. This tunnel system was my best (and fairly inexpensive) ferret-toy investment. My babies absolutely love scampering through, around, and over their tunnel toys.

Just watch them having a ton of fun in this video:

Ball Pit – This is another simple and inexpensive toy that my ferrets love. It’s basically just a box filled with hard-plastic balls. They jump into the box, burrow in among the balls, and wrestle with one another while in the box. My babies love this toy almost as much as they do their tunnels.

Just make sure that if you do get a ball pit, the balls are large enough that your ferret(s) can’t swallow them. Also, the balls should be made of a hard plastic – NOT rubber – so that your fuzzy family members can’t bite or chew off pieces and ingest them.

Peanuts – Another simple and inexpensive toy, the peanuts were, for a long time my ferrets’ favorite. Again, this is another toy that consists of just a box filled with ferret-fancy-tickling objects.

These objects look just packing peanuts – but they are NOT. Never let your ferret(s) play with Styrofoam objects of any kind. They can bite off small pieces of the Styrofoam and ingest them – which could result in a trip to the et and maybe even surgery for your pet.

The peanuts in this toy, though, are made of a starch that is completely harmless to ferrets if ingested. And, boy, do my guys and gal love to dive into the box full of peanuts and get after it. They burrow, they wrestle, they swim, they leap out and back in, they –

Well, just see for yourself in this video:

 

For more tips and ideas on both commercial and homemade ferret toys, take a look at Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy.

Stopping Your Pet Ferret’s Biting – Early

Ferrets, just like dogs and children, need to be taught the basics of good behavior early in their fuzzy lives. They don’t come into the world knowing what you want them to do and howMale Panda Ferret Marshall you want them to act. So you need to start early and be consistent and persistent.

Baby ferrets tend to explore their brand-new world with their mouths. They also bite and chew to lessen teething pain. That’s why a mature carpet shark, if she isn’t trained out of this behavior, can be pretty aggressive when it comes to biting.

So here a five tips to help you train your fuzzies not to bite and nip . . .

Ferret Toys Book1. Give them lots of hard rubber chew toys. This way your ferrets take out most of their chewing urges on the toys – instead of your fingers.

2. Deal with a nip/bite immediately. Scruff your ferret – that is, grab him firmly with thumb and fingers by the loose skin on the back of the neck – and say loudly and firmly, “No!” or “No bite!” You can also follow this with loud hissing, the sound a mother ferret uses to scold and discipline her kits.

3. Do not reward the kit for biting. If, for example, you’re already holding your baby fuzzy and he attempts to bite, don’t turn him loose to play. Rather, put him in prison – back in the cage – for punishment.

4. Never hit your ferret. Violence and aggression only engender more violence and aggression. Your ferret could also interpret hitting as a sign that you want to play even harder. Hitting is usually ineffective and can result in even worse behavioral problems down the road,Getting Started with Pet Ferrets

5. Be consistent. You may think it’s cute to get your little fuzz ball all worked up and watch him play bite your hand. The thing is, though, he won’t know that biting at other times and with other people isn’t acceptable. So be consistent in your efforts to teach him not to bite – teaching him that you won’t tolerate this behavior at any time.

Train your fuzzies early on not to bite and nip, and you and they will get along just fine.

What is a Ferret?

Panda Ferret in Plastic DrawerFerrets, because they are meat eaters, belong to the Carnivora order, as do dogs and cats, wolves and lions. As we move further down the classification line, we see that ferrets belong to the Mustelidae (which means loosely “weasel” or “mouse killer”) family, and this makes them remotely related to badgers, sea otters, wolverines, and polecats. So far, then, it seems our pet ferrets, our favorite fuzzies, are in the company of some pretty tough (and perhaps stinky) critters.

Next, we find ferrets in the genus putorious, a Latin word that means “stench.” (Just think of the word “putrid.”) Then, they are in the species called furo, which come from furis, which means “thief.” Big surprise, huh?

So, taxonomically, a ferret is . . . a weaselly, mouse-killing, smelly thief. But pet ferrets aren’t really very closely related to weasels, and most of them don’t kill mice (unless they are fed a whole-prey diet). They are, however, incorrigible thieves, so that part’s pretty accurate.

This description, though scientifically sound, doesn’t really tell us much about what this creature we love really is. So . . . just what IS a ferret?

Well, first off, a ferret is a small, elongated, long-whiskered bundle of energy – when it isn’t sleeping, which is most of the time. It is a creature that when active (which, again, is only about 6 hours a day) is furiously playing – running, jumping, hiding, chewing, stealing. Or not . . . because it may be asleep. A ferret, then, is a seeming contradiction – a living paradox.

Second, a carpetshark possesses the attributes of several different animals all bundled together in one lovable package. It displays, for instance, the zany playfulness of an otter. (Just think of otters in all the Disney shows we watched when we were kids.) It has the sneakiness and curiosity of a cat – which, just as with cats, can get a ferret into some less-than-ideal predicaments. And a ferret is like a dog in that it often engages in hilariously entertaining (to us) and embarrassing (to the ferret) antics.

Finally, on a more serious note, ferrets are great pets – but only for those willing to make the necessary investment. For just like people – and they are a lot like humans, too – they require vaccinations and regular medical check-ups, as well as a quality diet, to remain healthy. They need their own living space and quality sleeping quarters. They have to have scheduled play times and lots of chances for socialization with both you and others of their own kind.

Pet ferrets are, in short, members of your family. And here are a couple of our picks in ferret-care books for tips on how to keep your paradoxical, multi-faceted, furry family members healthy and happy . . .

Ferrets for Dummies by Kim Schilling

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets by Karen Hearing

 

Getting Rid of Ferret Odor with GoodBye Odor

GoodBye Odor for Ferret-Odor Control – A Must Have Ferret Product

So I was gone to Colorado throughout the month of October. The purpose of this trip was to GoodBye Odor for Ferret Odorhelp out my older son and his wife during and right after the birth of their third child, my fifth grandchild. (They were really hoping for a son, but got another, a third, daughter instead.) And I left my four ferrets in the care of my husband for nearly five weeks!

Actually, though, he did a good job. He fed and watered them daily and cleaned the cage regularly. And when I got home, my fuzzy babies were healthy, happy, and sassy – and ready to get out and spend some play time with me. So I really have no complaints there.

But what he didn’t do was order needed ferret supplies on time.

And that means that shortly after I got back home, we ran out of GoodBye Odor. Then, we hit a bit of a tight money spot and had to postpone ordering for a couple more weeks. The ferret smell let me know daily that we had run of this product that I consider essential for ferret care.

But now we again have some GoodBye Odor for Ferrets – my husband can be a good boy at times – and the ferret smell has subsided substantially. The difference between before and after was markedly noticeable. I just can’t say enough about this product, and I absolutely refuse to run out again.

I usually buy the 32 oz. pump bottle because it costs less than buying the smaller bottles and I don’t want to buy the big jug. I just add it so my fuzzies’ water – about 9 pumps to a 20 oz. water bottle – and the smell that some people find offensive is kept to a very low level. My babies don’t even seem to notice that I’ve added it to their water. It simply works.

My husband is now aware – after some “encouragement” on my part – that he has to order GoodBye Odor when I tell him it’s time. It’s a pretty good arrangement all around.

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets: Your Guide to Happier, Healthier Pet Ferrets

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy

Ferret-Adoption Time – Ferret Shelters Filling Up

This time of year, ferret shelters are filling up, which puts a strain on limited resources. So if you’re thinking about a first or another pet ferret, now is a great time to consider ferret adoption. Below is an excerpt from a news piece that proves the point . . .

As usually happens, the Greater Chicago Ferret Association (GCFA) finds itself with an oversupply of ferrets by November (currently, 93 in a shelter that considers its cages full at 60). This overpopulation of mustelids puts a stress on all the shelter’s resources: volunteers; funds for medical needs, food and litter; and time: time for ferrets to get out for play as well as volunteers to cover giving basic food and cage-cleaning care.

Why the fall surge? Some surrenders come from students going away to school and unable to bring their pets along or people that suffer sudden allergy onset with the closing up of homes in cold weather.

The continued economic downturn, with its job losses, foreclosures, and moves to no-ferret housing account for many others. Sadly, a large number of ferrets come in as “no longer wanted” pets; from people “upgrading” to prettier and younger pets; or as strays, dumps and “trash can ferrets.” Yes, people dump live animals in dumpsters. Sometimes tied in plastic garbage bags!

So, to give the shelter’s ferrets reason to be thankful by the upcoming holidays, GCFA offers a combined membership and adoption incentive this month of November. With the tagline of “Don’t just buy a ferret, adopt some love,” GCFA offers a members-only Free Adoption Event this month.

Read more here.

A Ferret Manual

Here’s an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released little book titled A Ferret Manuel: How to Train and Manage Your Human. It’s a humorous, ferret’s-eye view of the often comical relations between humans and pet ferrets.

So, you’ve finally acquired your very own human, have you? Good. Good for you and congratulations! It sure beats being crowded together with a bunch of total strangers in a tiny cage at the pet store, doesn’t it? But . . . while this is a great accomplishment and a first step toward a happy life in a home of your own, your job is just beginning. You have a lot of work and a long road ahead of you.

First of all, humans aren’t really very teachable. But, then, there are very few animals as inquisitive and intelligent as ferrets. That means training your human will require, in varying degrees as your unique situation demands, inventiveness, persistence, consistent application, and time.

Okay, let’s get started.

Introduction – An Overview of Human Nature

Following are the four important truths about or principles of human nature that will form the foundation of our guidelines and rules for training and managing your human. Remember these and adapt your training tactics accordingly, and you should see some success in your human-training efforts.

1. Humans are basically lazy creatures.

The thing you need to keep squarely in mind at all times is that adult humans are lazy. They don’t sleep nearly as much as we do, but they are far less active when awake. They seldom run, they don’t hide under the bed, and they never get on top of the dresser and play among the knickknacks. Even human kits (“children,” I think they call them) usually don’t play as vigorously as ferrets, and I’ve never seen one do the ferret “war dance.”

Because they are lazy, then, and slaves to the law of inertia, humans are just downright hard to train. The difficulty lies in getting them to change a behavior. For some bizarre reason, they prefer the familiar and easy to the better course. And never forget that humans just aren’t as smart as ferrets. There’s really nothing you can do about that, though.

For a human, it takes a lot of effort to learn something new and change a thinking pattern and/or a behavior. That’s why they dig in their heels and resist change: because it takes effort. Ironically, though, humans often expend more energy resisting change, owing to their inherent laziness, than they would actually making the change. (But, remember, they’re just not all that bright.) So, one of the keys to successfully training and managing your human will be persistence. You will simply have to work at it assiduously until you’ve achieved the desired results.

Just don’t give up. Success could be right around the corner.

2. Humans are incorrigible creatures of habit.

This truth about human nature is tightly bound up with the first one above. Because humans are lazy, they are also creatures of habit. They tend to keep doing the same thing the same way over and over because – well, because it’s just easier for them that way. It will take a lot of effort on your part to get your human to do something in a new and different way.

But the good news in all this is that once you’ve trained your human to engage in a certain behavior, your work is usually done with respect to that particular thing. Your human will keep doing whatever-it-is out of habit without thinking about it. While this aspect of human nature makes training your human quite a bit of work, it does mean that managing a behavior once inculcated is fairly easy.

Suppose, for example, you don’t like the food that your human has been giving you. You can’t, of course, just tell your human about it – she can’t speak our language. (Again, keep in mind that humans aren’t as clever as we are.) But after you’ve put in the necessary training effort (using some choice training tactics I’ll get to in a little bit), most of your work will be done. When your human learns to buy the kind of food you like best, she will keep doing it simply out of habit, even if she forgets the reason she started doing it in the first place. Once trained, humans are generally pretty easy to manage . . .

And here are links to our other ferret books:

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy

“Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale”

 

Ferret Odor Revisited

If you’ve owned a pet ferret for any length of time, then you’re no doubt acquainted with your pet’s distinctive, um, ferret odor. A ferret’s unique scent can sometimes be a problem for new owners of pet ferrets. Fortunately, you have a few options if you dislike having a “stinky Ferret Odor Solutionslinky.”

First, keep in mind that a ferret’s scent is simply a natural part of its existence. Ferrets, being related to skunks, have scent glands located near the anus (although a pet ferret doesn’t use her glands for defense the way a skunk does). Usually, these glands are removed when the ferret is quite young (generally at the same time it is being spayed or neutered). And if you got your ferret from a pet store it has most likely been “de-scented.”

But in some countries removing the scent glands is considered to be abusive and therefore not performed. If you are adopting a pet ferret from outside the US, be sure to find out whether the animal has been de-scented.

If your pet has not been de-scented, he may release a distinctive (and pretty strong) musk-like odor when excited, afraid, or angry. But once your ferret has calmed down, the smell usually dissipates fairly quickly.

Removing the scent glands will eliminate most of the musky ferret odor. It may recur, however, if you don’t take care of your ferret properly. And this happens because ferrets have oil glands that also emit a musky odor.

While it may seem counterintuitive, you should NOT bath your ferret frequently to control this ferret odor. Too much bathing will actually make the problem worse because frequent baths will wash away the natural oils that actually help protect your fuzzy’s health. Bathe your ferret no more than about once a month.

(Also be aware that a persistent, strong ferret smell could signal that its teeth and/or ears could use some cleaning.  If the problem persists after you’ve thoroughly cleaned these areas, you should take your pet ferret see her vet.)

Now, while most ferret owners adjust to their fuzzies’ unique “odor,” other members of the family often do not. Family (and friends) may complain about this smell. But not to worry – this ferret odor can be controlled (though not eliminated entirely) quite easily.

You can control pet ferret odor with a product called GoodBye Odor for Ferrets. I use it because it works – and I wouldn’t be without it.