Should I get a Male or Female Ferret?

I am not sure if it is just me, but ferrets are cute and cuddly little creatures. They seem like they would make excellent pets, especially since they are so intelligent. However, before getting one as a pet, there are things you should consider first.

This blog post discusses what you need to look at before deciding whether to adopt a male or female ferret.

What is the difference between male and female ferrets?

As with many animals, male ferrets are generally larger than female ferrets. Usually, males are between 3 to 5 lbs, while females are between 1 to 3 lbs. Female ferrets grow up to around 16 inches in length, whereas males can be 24 inches long.

Both are playful and curious creatures that will love to cuddle up to you. They also love to play with toys (you) and investigate their surrounding. That’s why it is so important to allow them plenty of time outside their cage/carrying case to roam freely in the house.

Male Ferrets

  • Lifespan 5 to 10 years
  • Average length 17-24 inches
  • Average weight 3-5 pounds

Female Ferrets

  • Lifespan 5 to 10 years
  • Average length 12-16 inches
  • Average weight 1-3 pounds

Both are family-friendly, trainable, friendly to other pets, and overall great pets. Ferrets are strict meat-eaters (obligate carnivores) and need a diet based on animal proteins. One of the best ways to provide your furry friend with a good diet is to buy your ferret raw meat!

Here is a list of foods that are good for your furry friend:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • chicken wings
  • game birds
  • lamb
  • rabbit
  • liver
  • offal
  • turkey
  • turkey necks
  • feeder mice (dead)
  • kibble
  • tuna (sometimes)
  • eggs
  • bones (raw)

Ferrets are not limited to the meats listed above. The most important thing is that they get all the nutrients and vitamins they need for a healthy life from raw meat or/and kibble.

When feeding commercial foods to your ferrets, make sure that the percentage of fiber as an ingredient is not above 5%! Ferrets can not digest fiber or plant matter. Avoid sugar and milk products too!

What do I need to consider when getting a Male or Female ferret?

While there are no major differences between male and female ferrets, you need to consider the following:

Breeding Age

Male ferrets (called a hob) rarely stop breeding, so you must get your ferret from a non-breeding facility or rescue organization and have your ferret neutered or spayed.

Female ferrets reach sexual maturity between 4 and 8 months of age. That is the time when Female ferrets come into heat. They will remain in heat unless bred. Females ferrets that do not reproduce by the end of their heat cycle are prone to aplastic anemia.

What is Aplastic Anemia?

According to Rick Axelson, DVM over at vcahospitals.com, Aplastic Anemia is defined as such:

Aplastic anemia is a condition in which the bone marrow is completely suppressed, resulting in a shutdown in production of new red blood cells. Bone marrow suppression will also result in a shutdown in production of white blood cells and platelets.

Source: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/ferrets—problems

Signs for aplastic anemia are:

  • lethargy
  • pale mucous membranes (gums)
  • swollen and enlarged sexual organ

Nowadays, most female ferrets are sold already spayed.

How do you tell if your ferret is male or female?

Well, you’ll have to take a look. To do so, you would need to place the animal on its back. If it’s a jack, you should spot his testicles. If it’s a jill, a smooth abdomen without protuberance should be the only sign that will give you the ability to spot.

A word of caution: Your furry friend might not like the idea to be placed on its back. As a result, it is possible that you have to deal with an angry ferret! Maybe just make an appointment at the vet.

Why would you want to know this information?

You need to know because if your ferret is not spayed or neutered, the result could be a house full of baby ferrets. Also, as mentioned above, if a female ferret stays in heat, she might develop aplastic anemia (bone marrow suppression).

Should you keep both sexes together?

You can keep the same sexes together without any problems. Ferrets are not as territorial as you might know it from dogs, for example. If you keep male and female ferrets together, neutering and spaying are the way to go.

Conclusion

Both female and male ferrets make great pets! Female ferrets are slightly smaller in their appearance, but they have the same personality as male ferrets.

It is essential to have your ferret neutered or spayed, so it doesn’t reproduce, or in the case of female ferrets, stays in heat continuously. This could result in serious health complications.

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