ferret sitting on a lab and being held by one hand

10 Ferret Myths And Conceptions

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Ferrets make awesome pets, but one of the things holding them back is various myths about these furry cuties. These myths range from that they are stinky biters to that they carry rabies and so many other falsehoods labeled on these guys.

Nevertheless, in this post, we debunk ten of those myths and misconceptions many have had about ferrets for a long time.

1. Ferrets are Aggressive and not Suitable as Pets

woman holding a ferret on her arm

This is probably one of the most annoying assumptions about ferrets. Just like other pets, the more love and attention you give to your ferret, the more likely they are to love you back.

Ferrets are exceptionally playful; they are intelligent and curious. You should see a ferret joy dancing; you’d be amazed at the innocence. Some ferrets wagtails, too, and they’re practicing kitty litter.

2. Ferrets kill the Native Faunas

Ferrets are originated from the Mustelidae species. Their domesticity is such that there are few ferrets that could last very long outside.

What could happen though is that due to them being closely related to polecats, ferrets could hybridize! In some regions of New Zealand, this developed into a real issue for the native fauna. 

3. Ferrets Carry Rabies and Pose Serious Health Threats

Ferret on white background,

Unvaccinated ferrets are at risk for rabies and can spread rabies to you if they become infected. But that also applies to dogs, or cats, or any other animals.

Studies have shown that ferrets could transmit the virus via their saliva, through a bite.

That´s why you should always vaccinate your ferret. According to petmd.com “…there had been fewer than 20 cases of rabies in ferrets in the United States since 1954.” 

4. Ferrets Eat all the Time

This is actually true: ferrets need food on a regular basis (best soft ferret food) for their high metabolic rate; thus, they need 6 to 8 pieces of food a day. They are playful and active little fellows and work up an appetite very quickly, so they need a steady supply. 

5. Ferrets are not Good with Children

Ferrets are not recommended for small children. They can get carried away when playing and might bite and scratch.

However, there are many reasons in favor of ferrets as pets for families with older children. Ferrets are very curious and you should be ready for everything to be chewed and destroyed.

You should never let a child under the age of eight handle a ferret unsupervised.  

6. Ferrets sleep all the time

Ferrets aren’t the lazy bums that people think they are. Ferrets are often said to be nocturnal, but this isn’t the case either.

A typical pet ferret sleeps for about 14 hours every day.

Ferrets sleep when they are tired, which is about every two hours or so throughout the day. Ferret sleep patterns are affected by seasonal changes.

During the winter ferrets tend to sleep more than they do in the summer. However, ferrets will sleep more if they are not kept active enough.

Ferrets that are frequently kept active and stimulated will sleep less than ferrets that are kept in a cage all day. 

7. Ferrets Kill Other Pets

Photos show a 12 month old female working Border Terrier socialising with a 5 week old ferret kit for the first time. Bred for temperament, the terrier allows the ferret kit to climb on her, snuggle into her, and curl up under her chin. Both with a mutual respect for each other. Taken with a Canon 700 DSLR.

They have hunting abilities, and some species that are not recommended for ferret households include rabbits, snakes, birds, mice. Rodents are prey to ferrets!

Just keep in mind, that ferrets originally were domesticated to hunt rabbits and rodents. Plus they are curious and love to play. 

8. Ferrets Stink up Your House 

Let´s rather say they have a musky smell to them. You either like it – or hate it. If you are unsure or never have “smelled” a ferret before, go and see a breeder.

Sometimes ferrets that are sold have their anal glands removed. What you feed your ferret also has an influence on their odor.

Furthermore, a ferret that is not neutered will smell stronger due to certain hormones (read.. basic tips for ferret training).

9. Ferrets are Rodents

In fact, contrary to common opinion, ferrets are not in any way related to the rodent family.

They originate from the Mustelidae species: badgers, weasels, minks. Despite their name, ferrets are believed to be more closely related to mink and weasels than to polecats.

Your Ferrets scientific name is the (Mustela putorius furo).

10. Ferrets Will Bite You

Almost any animal with teeth can bite, but socialization, good treatment, and preparation can protect you.

Ferrets that bite usually suffered cruelty and are scared. Ferrets who are given affection and good treatment are less likely to bite.

Conclusion

Ferrets are well-known for their playful nature, and sometimes they are described as being like a kitten. I would actually disagree.

Yes, you could leave them in their cage when you are not home. But they need their playtime – you have to socialize, play and cuddle with them.

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