A panda ferret playing with a favorite ferret toy.
And there are many more to come.
I’d like to discuss two matters concerning pet ferrets in this post.
The first is ferrets climbing on their cage. This behavior is perfectly normal for ferrets. Rikki and Possum are constantly climbing on their cage, especially Possum, my male panda ferret.
The cage I have for my two ferrets is a small- to medium-sized three-level cage. To get from the floor to the first level, my ferrets make use of a tube. Then, to get to the second level, they have to go up a spiral slide. And to get to the third level, they go up a ramp.
When I first got Possum, he refused to use the tube or the slide or the ramp. He would just climb up the side of the cage to get to each level. After a couple of months, he finally started using the tube, slide, and ramp. But even then, when the mood struck him, he would still – and still does – climb up the cage to get to the level he wanted.
Rikki (my older female albino ferret), on the other hand, climbs the cage only when she’s bored and wants out. But this is okay – it’s just the nature of ferrets. They love to climb.
Now, the other thing I’d like to talk about is covering your ferrets’ cage at night.
Covering the ferret cage is actually up to the human parents of the little fuzzies. You can choose whether or not you want to put a cover over your fuzzy babies’ cage at night.
I, personally, don’t cover my ferrets’ cage at night. I don’t have any real reason why I don’t do this – I just don’t.
I you do choose to cover the ferret cage in order to make the cage dark, hoping that your pet ferrets will sleep quietly through the night . . . just be aware that this is not going to happen.
Nope. If your fuzzies want to have a midnight romp, they will do it – whether their cage is covered or not.
That’s why I always try to get mine out their cage for several hours each day. Ferrets play extremely hard for a few hours, and then they sleep the rest of the time. The idea is that they will play and get tired so they’ll sleep longer at night. Sometimes it works – sometimes not.
Covering the ferret cage also depends on where you live and whether your ferrets live outside or inside. My fuzzies are inside pets, and my house is fairly warm in the winter and cool in the summer. So I don’t see a reason to cover up my ferrets’ cage at night.
Pet ferrets, being the ornery, independent little critters they are, will climb on their cages and will sometimes keep you awake at night, covered or not.
I didn’t even know my baby existed . . . until one day last November. That’s when my husband and Rikki Tikki Tavi and I went to the pet store to pick out a baby brother for Rikki.
Now, I have a beautiful, ornery, spoiled-rotten, and much loved one-year-old panda ferret.
Happy first birthday, Possum!
I love ya!
We’ve already talked about the basics of getting set up for bringing ferrets into your family (cage, litter box, and bed). So now let’s talk a little about picking out a pet ferret.
First, you should probably be aware of the wide variety of ferret colors and color patterns. If you embark on your ferret-adoption journey without giving some thought to this beforehand, you’ll have a tough time making up your mind. Here are just some of the many colors, patterns, and ferret types: Sable, Black Sable, Cinnamon, Masked Cinnamon, Panda, Albino, Black & White, Champagne, Chocolate, Dark-eyed White, Light, Medium, and Heavy Silver, Badger, Blaze, Hooded, Mitted, and Siamese.
I have two ferrets, an albino and a panda, and they are very spoiled. You would think they are my children they way I treat them. I even scold them like children when they do something mischievous – like getting into the clothes hamper and pulling my clothes out and scattering them everywhere.
But back to picking out a ferret. I get a little carried away talking about my ornery little critters.
At the time I got Possum, my young panda ferret, there was only one pet store in my town. (Now, however, there are two.) And this one store had only a few (or one or two) ferrets at any time. So my choice was made a lot easier owing to limited options.
Most pet stores around here get their ferrets from the Marshall ferret farm. Marshall always de-scents and spays or neuters ferrets before delivering them to pet stores. They also tattoo sex-identifying dots in one of each ferret’s ears – one dot for a female (or jill) and two for a male ferret (or hob). I’ve come across some negative comments about Marshall, but I can assure you that Possum was a very healthy ferret when I got him. So I don’t have any complaints.
When I set out to get my second ferret, one of the issues I was concerned about was biting. Since the pet store had only two ferrets at the time (both pandas), I was able to take them into a “play room” to see how they would interact with Rikki. Yep. She got to pick out her “baby brother.”
The larger of the two pandas seemed to want to bite, both me and Rikki. Every time we approached him he would start hissing and making biting motions toward us. He was probably just frightened and didn’t trust us. Still, I didn’t want to take a chance on a ferret that seemed so aggressive, especially for Rikki’s sake.
Ferrets are very curious critters – more curious than a cat. So, generally, when they meet someone new, they are all over that person or animal, sniffing and checking things out. But not this ferret.
He was also very hyper. He just couldn’t be still for a second. I already had one “ADHD” ferret and didn’t think I needed another one. So, Rikki then got to go into the play room with the smaller panda ferret.
This one was much calmer and more cuddly and very interested in Rikki. Right away, he tried to get her attention and play with her. But after her experience with the first ferret, Rikki didn’t want to have much to do with this one. She spent her time instead checking out the new surroundings, the new toys, and the new person who was helping me and answering my questions. So I played with the little guy.
He was totally different from the first ferret. He crawled all over me, smelling my clothes, hands, and face. He never offered to bite and let me hold him and cuddle him. Since Rikki was too busy to help me, I had to decide on my own. So I chose this smaller panda ferret to be her baby brother. A very good choice, it turned out.
And that’s how Rikki and I acquired her new “baby brother,” Possum, who really did look like a small fuzzy-tailed possum. You can tell from the pictures that he is quite a ham and likes to pose for pictures.
Since this site isn’t really about me, I’m going to kick things off by introducing you to my two lovable ferrets – Rikki and Possum.
Rikki – My Rescue Ferret
Rikki, whose name comes from Kipling’s children’s story “Rikki Tikki Tavi,” is a female albino ferret. (I found out later that a ferret is only very distantly related to a mongoose.) Rikki is the one who started my love affair with ferrets. (My husband even took to her soon after I found her and brought her home.) Here’s how it happened (although my husband still raises an eyebrow when I tell this story).
I found Rikki at work one cold, wet December night. When I went out to my truck during my break, I spotted a white object on the ground by the front tire. I couldn’t, at first, tell what it was. Then it moved. And I thought: “Oh, crap! It’s a white rat.” Then, the “rat” started walking toward me, and I realized it was a white ferret.
She was soaked through and cold and, apparently, had nowhere to go and no one to go home to. So I scooped her up, dried her off, and took her home. (I did do my best to locate her owners.) And that is how my life with ferrets began.
After a couple of months of observing her eating habits, I finally decided that Rikki is a fairly old ferret. Now, she won’t eat unless I soak her food in water. But she has energy and is never still. One of her favorite activities is “helping” me make my bed.
Possum – My Adopted Marshall Ferret
I got Possum, a male panda ferret, about a year after I found Rikki. He is a playmate to Rikki and both a joy and a trial to me.
After having Rikki for about a year, I began to feel very guilty about not being able to give her the attention she needed (because of work and family and all that). So, in early November that year, I put on my brightest, most-fetching smile and in my sweetest tones asked my husband for an early Christmas present. And he said, “We’ll see” – which was close enough to “Yes” for me.
So in a few days we set off to our local pet store to find Rikki a “baby brother.” I took Rikki with me so she could help me pick out her “brother,” but she couldn’t make up her mind. Right away, she got along well with both candidates. So I decided for her – and it turned out that I made a very good choice.
I really wanted a sable ferret, but they only had two panda ferrets. So I named my new ferret Possum. When he was young, he really did look a lot like a fuzzy-tailed possum.
Possum is a Marshall ferret (and so is Rikki). You may have heard bad things about Marshall, but Possum was healthy and happy and full of life when I got him. Marshall ferrets are spayed or neutered and de-scented when you get them. The females have one small dot tattooed in their ear, and males have two dots to identify them as Marshall ferrets.
And that’s how I adopted two ferrets and became an irredeemable ferret lover. If you have any stories like these, I would love to hear them.