Can Ferrets Eat Earthworms?

Ferrets are strict meat-eaters. That means they need to be fed a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which can cause diarrhea if not correctly balanced. If you are a new ferret owner, you may be wondering if earthworms are safe for your furry friend to eat?

If your ferret happens to find an earthworm and decides to eat it – It’s perfectly fine. So yes, ferrets can eat earthworms. 

But don’t be surprised if your ferret won’t touch them – Not all ferrets like earthworms, same as some people don’t like carrots or other vegetables. I have had my ferrets trying earthworms since I got them at about 9 weeks old. They seem to enjoy the taste but will only take one now and then.

What would Ferrets eat in the Wild?

First off, ferrets are not wild animals! They have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. In fact, there were no ferrets until man started domesticating them. It is believed that they descend from the European polecat.

In Europe, ferrets became very popular pets during the Middle Ages when they were kept as hunters to protect the harvest from rats, mice, and other rodents.  

The Black-Footed Ferret 

The only real wild ferret is the black-footed ferret. This species was once found throughout North America but has become almost extinct due to habitat loss and hunting. The black-footed ferret lives on small rabbits, squirrels, birds, fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles, and even insects.

The only other “wild” ferrets population is a hybrid breed of ferrets and polecats found in New Zealand. They were first introduced to keep down the rabbit population. These hybrids are now considered “unwanted spezies.” They have no natural enemies and pose a real danger to the native wildlife.

Sources: https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/animal-pests/ferrets/

What do ferrets eat?

Ferrets should eat a diet made up of high-quality proteins with minimal amounts of carbs. You could either feed raw meat, kibble, or a combination of both. There are also some commercial wet foods for ferrets available on the market today. Many ferret owners believe that feeding raw meat is the most natural diet for your ferret. 

So, what is good ferret food? 

Meat

Meat is considered suitable for your ferret and the primary source of protein:

  • beef
  • lamb
  • rabbit
  • game birds
  • chicken wings
  • turkey 
  • chicken breast
  • bones (raw)
  • liver and other organs
  • offal
  • deer
  • veal

Ferrets are not limited to eating just the meats on this list, though. As long as it is of good quality and fresh – your ferrets’ diet is complete.

Dry Food

Kibble is a convenient alternative and addition to any raw diet. It’s not too expensive and easy to store. Kibble comes in many different shapes and sizes. Some brands include more than others, so make sure to read labels carefully before buying. 

Especially watch out for starch and fiber! Plus, you ideally should avoid buying any kibble not explicitly made for ferrets! So make sure you read the label carefully if you decide on dry food as your main diet option. If the first ingredient is not meat-based, look for something else.

Dairy Products

Avoid milk, cheese, yogurts, etc. Your furry friend is lactose intolerant! Dairy products will make your ferret feel bad… 

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are something your ferret does not need. Sugar and fruits sugars should be avoided in ferrets. It will lead to obesity, diabetes and can also cause hypoglycemia. Your ferret is not a human and has different needs when it comes to sugar. Your ferret should have no sugar at all! 

Vegetables contain a lot of fiber. And when it comes to fiber, it is also something your ferret does not need. It will cause your ferret to have a lot of waste, which will not be good for their digestion.

If you give your ferret many vegetables, it will likely get diarrhea, or the opposite could happen – the undigestable fiber could cause an intestinal blockage. Seek veterinarian help if you notice the lack of poop in the litterbox. An intestinal blockage is potentially life-threatening. 

Fresh Water 

Do not forget about water! Your ferret needs plenty of clean drinking water every day. Make sure to change their water daily and use bottled spring water. Never give tap water to your pet. Tap water contains chlorine which may cause health problems.

How often do Ferrets Eat?

Ferrets have a short digestive tract which means their food needs to pass through quickly. A ferret eats around 6-9 times per day. And this is where kibble comes in handy. If you are not working from home and nobody else is feeding your pet raw meat, dry food is the answer. 

Leaving kibble out when you’re not around will allow your furry friend to eat at will. 

How much do Ferrets eat?

As with humans, the amount of food a ferret needs per day may differ from ferret to ferret. Several factors affect how much they need, including age, weight, activity level, etc.

But generally speaking, ferrets need around 5-7% of their body weight each day. This is a very rough estimate, and you should always consult with your local vet for any specific nutritional needs your ferret may have.

Summary 

Ferrets are obligate carnivores. If they eat an earthworm, there is nothing to worry about. Yes, ferrets can eat Earthworms. Besides that, ferrets should eat a healthy and balanced diet and a variety of food. 

Raw meat can be fed in combination with commercial pet food. Make sure to check the ingredients list and only buy food that is made specifically for ferrets. 

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