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THINKING OF GETTING A FERRET.

Let us first dispel some of the Myths of this very misunderstood Animal.

Ferrets do not bite without a good reason i.e FEAR, PAIN, HUNGER, being TEASED or ILL.
 
They rely mostly on their noses as they are quite short sighted. Even apparent harden biters can, with careful handling love and attention, be reformed into trust worthy lovely non biting pets. Handling a ferret regularly is just as important as providing it with clean living quarters and the right food. Ferrets are not a natural British wild animal but a domesticated breed like cats and dogs etc, therefore they do not cope very well in the wild. Also contrary to beliefs, Ferrets cannot live a healthy life on just bread and milk. There are now several brands of complete dry food on the market, but primarily they are meat eaters .

FERRETS AND POLECAT

The pure ferret is white with ruby eyes or some people say red as the polecat is black with a very distinctive mask with a black nose and black eyes. All other colours have come from the breeding through the years. Do not mistake a polecat ferret with a wild polecat even though they look the same, one is domesticated the other is a wild animal and are found in Wales and the surrounding counties.
 
Do they smell

All Animal have a personal scent. A Ferret is at its strongest during the breeding season, males being the most potent. They also have a scent gland located in the anal canal which produces an oily musk, this is used in self defence and the reason for the Ferrets name Mustella Putorius, meaning Smelly Weasel. Unlike most small mammals they live quite a long time {5 to 10 years } or more.
 
Ferrets as Pets 

They are a very playful characters even when they are old, very clean they will always use one place for going to the toilet and will use a litter tray. They will Groom themselves and each other do not need bathing unless the have fleas, they also love to be played with every day. They are very curious and inquisitive, can climb get into very small places, and need a lot of human contact. They are not a pet to put in a cage and ignore. You can also take them for a walk on a lead and harness if you wish, but do not them run loose in the park as they may not come back when called. 
 
 
 

HEATSTROKE

The Ferret has no means of lowering it own body heat {They do not sweat or pant}, so in the summer must not be kept in the full sun, and must have access to plenty of fresh water.
 
The signs of heatstroke are distress and high temperature, coupled with the ferret may collapse and go into a coma. To help get the temperature down, place the ferret in a shaded and cool area. Then soak your ferret with cool water and if possible use a fan to help the waters cooling affects, repeat until you can see it temperature is down. Give your ferret a drink of water and if you are not sure of your ferrets condition take it to your vet. When the weather is hot try to spray your ferrets with a water sprayer that you get for plants. Heatstroke can easily be avoided by putting their hutches in the shade, or face your hutch in the direction of the sun coming up in the morning, and it will be behind in the afternoon this will help. Also make sure if you have them in a travelling box keep them shaded from the sun try to spray with cold water regularly, and never leave them shut in your car for any length of time.

DIARRHOEA

This may be a sign of a disease, but it may be caused by what your ferrets has eaten, food which is off, or a sudden change of diet or some sort of allergy starve for 24hr and dose them with kaolin solution but make sure that they have plenty of fresh water. If symptoms persists take a sample to your vet.

BITES

All bites can be a problem but if not serious can be treated at home, either with warm salt water or hibby scub if it is only minor. If it is more serious take it to a vet.

FLU

Ferrets can catch the flu from you also colds, so if you have either try not to get to close to your ferret. The illness responds to good nursing within a few days. If any complications go to a vet.

DISTEMPER

This can be caught from dogs, either directly or indirectly. Signs of this are running eyes and gummed up lids, catarrh, a rash under the chin, lack of appetite, sore and swollen feet and maybe diarrhoea.It is difficult to treat and is very contagious to ferrets.You can get them vaccinated against it ask your vet about it.

ABSCESS

These can develop after any bites or wounds, if it does your vet will treat it with antibiotics and lance it to thoroughly drain it.


The next step is to sort out a cage either in doors or out side, Sex of Ferret(s) plus colours
 
Your Ferret will need a cage with other requirements. These include security, strict hygiene, plenty of living and exercise space. If possible plenty of shade {ferrets suffer from heatstroke with too much sun }. Fresh water and food each day your Ferret is entirely dependent on you so please take these requirements into consideration when you take on your Ferret or Ferrets. The basic Ferret cage should consist of a sleeping compartment which should be dark with access for the Ferret by a small hole about 4/5in. The exercise and dining area should have as much space as possible to exercise in.
 
A Ferret's home can never be too big, but it can be too small. There should be a toilet area well away from the sleeping area.
 
The minimum cage for one Ferret should be no smaller than 48x24x24 inches (1200 x 600 x 600 mm) but even better if you have a two tire cage. For two Ferrets 60x24x 24 inches (1500 x 600 x 600 mm)
 
You can also build your own, which we call a Ferret Court, if you have the space. You can buy a second hand shed and make it into a  Ferret court, or a large aviary type cage, but it must be made fully weatherproof.Don,t forget lots of pipes for them to run and play in plus some toy,s.
 
 


Before you decide to buy your Ferret or Ferrets
 
You should think long and hard, ferrets can live up to 10 years, plus we had one that lived till he was 18yr old, So your ferrets will require a lot of attention for every day of their lives. They will need feeding and cleaning every day. Then you have vet bills. all this cost money so you should consider all this and be sure you can supply all of your Ferrets needs for its entire life.
 
But after all this the pleasure and sheer fun that Ferrets can give you far outweigh the work and effort needed and I can heartily recommend them to those who put in the effort to take care of all their needs,

 


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