So, I haven’t really had the chance to mention Apple, my ferret, in a little while which is actually quite surprising for myself as he has quite quickly became my favorite thing in the entire world.
Though, I had never had what people would consider an unusual pet before which has created a lot of surprising reactions. There is a belief that they are incredibly smelly, that they are vicious and violent creatures, and even some assumptions that they wont play with you and don’t make attachments.
So, since I have had a ferret and have my first hand experience to account for this fact, I would like to share some stories and dispel and prove some of the assumptions that people have made about these amazing creatures.
The first thing that I would like to discuss is their smell, which seems to be the main thing that people are against and since I will not only be talking about my personal experiences, I will also link a few other things for each section so that you have a few other people who agree with me.
Ferrets do have an odor though I can definitely assure you that it is not an incredibly strong one that you can smell the second that you’re in the same room as them, no, this scent is actually something you can only really smell if you’re holding them or if you’re around something that they enjoy such as blankets.
One thing to seriously realize is that dogs, cats, humans, and ferrets alike have their unique scents!
The myth that they are incredibly smelly mostly comes with how well you take care of their cage or environment as their scent can worsen if they are in the wrong environments and while I will admit that my ferret is descented, most ferrets are so I’m not really worried about it.
Though, there is a scent which is why I will be sharing a few posts that gives tips or hints as to what may be the problem (such as diet) and how to reduce it!
Now onto the complete myth that ferrets are violent creatures, ferrets have natural reactions to things such as pain and even can get a little rough when playing. A thing to understand is that ferrets naturally play rough with each other and if you got your ferret from a place with other ferrets, their natural instinct is to play like that and it is your job to teach them not to do things such as biting your fingers and toes.
Though there actually are stories of ferrets being harmful to babies, as ferrets instinctively hunters and are complete carnivores. Because of this, it is highly inadvisable to allow your ferret alone with any sort of bird, rodent, or infant. While it is uncommon, stories such as Carrie Waldo and her son do happen but it is important to note that they ultimately found the parents at fault.
If you have a child, don’t leave them alone with the ferret and this incident is completely avoidable and another thing to note if something as violent as this does happen, were you feeding them enough? Their digestive tracts do not last incredibly long (at most 6 hours) and get hungry fairly quickly so once a day probably isn’t going to work very well.
Did this ferret have an incredibly bad experience? Do you know what kind of life the ferret had lived before you got them, had he experienced anything terrible since then? Ferrets don’t have short memories and will remember things for a long time. If you hurt them purposely once, they will remember it for years to come. If you don’t trust me though, please do tons of more research into the matter and look at this post which addresses the same situation as earlier, Are Ferrets Dangerous Pets?
Apple personally does bite, the tiniest bite in the world that is literally tasting you to see what you are and then leaves you alone unless he gets too excited or you scare him but it is never in a “I want to bite off your finger” way but “I WANNA PLAY!” or “HEY!” way.
The finally thing that I would like to talk about is the assumption that ferrets do not bond with their owners and won’t want to play with you. While ferrets do sleep about 11-18 hours a day, if they are awake, they are playing and are very different from cats in that aspect.
If you’re personally noticing a lack of interest in playing, account for how long you’ve actually had your ferret. Some ferrets may take longer to want to play with you than others (though this majorly depends on the ferrets themselves!) Another aspect is, how much are you letting him explore? They are natural explorers and want to explore more than all else.
Finally, how are you playing with him?
Ferrets do get bored and sometimes simply wont react to things that have lead to them being bored, Apple finds the most enjoyment from chasing you or you throwing the ball so he can bring it back to me. He also has a ball bit for when he wants to gets inside and play that way. It ensures that he doesn’t get bored and becomes more willing to play with you when you want the attention.
The final thing I want to address is bonding with their owners. This comes to an important variable. Your ferret’s unique personality and yours including how well it gets along.
Apple and I got along from the very moment we met, playful and enjoying each others company which has caused a lot of bonding between us to the point that he has separation anxiety.
While his actions were not immediate, he has slowly grown to be more and more dependent on me. Immediate actions that I noticed from him is that he wouldn’t do anything unless I told him to do so.
My mom would try to take him out of the cage and almost immediately, he would come out and then go back inside if he didn’t couldn’t find me. It was like he didn’t want to play unless I was around and not two minutes later, I would be in the room and he would come running towards me.
Not only that but if he got tired or scared, I would notice that he would come cuddle up with me. If he was out of his cage for more than 20 to 30 minutes when he was little, he would come to my spot on the couch and lay on my chest until he fell asleep.
Another incident when he was a little older was him trying to get on top of my dresser (which is incredibly short) and a calculator fell on top of him which lead to him jump attacking me so that I would hold him as he licked my hand until he calmed down.
The funniest story involving him was after a sleepover at a friend of mines house, he hadn’t seen me in not even 24 hours and my mom had this video of him searching for me and then immediately going into his cage.
After I got home, however, he would follow me around for days and an important thing to note is that he absolutely despises water. He has hated water since the moment I gave him a bath and he tried to drown himself (he didn’t realize that if he just lifted his head, he would be able to breathe) and absolutely despises it.
Well, one day, the first time I was gonna leave the house since then, I got in the shower and he was out of the cage because there are no small children and the house is ferret proofed fairly well so he has a lot of freedom and so I got in the shower and he followed me in. Like he jumped into the shower and you could tell from his reaction that he immediately regretted his decision the second the water hit him.
He looked so awkward and annoyed by the water as he tried to find a spot away that I actually took him out so he wouldn’t have to deal with it but he just jumped right back inside. So, he still hated the water and wanted away from it but he still wanted me to be near him so you could practically see his little gears turning while he tried to figure out what he was going to do.
I finally came up with idea of showing him the shower curtain because then he wouldn’t be hit by the water but he would still be in the bath and he got so excited and immediately got behind and laid down but after a few seconds, he seemed to get upset by something so he reached one of his front paws out and grabbed onto my pinkie toe. (When I hold him, he often holds one of my fingers so this didn’t surprise me very much!)
So despite his complete hatred for water, he still wanted to be near me and even wanted to still be able to touch me so he held out of his foot just so he could. Not only that but if my foot got out of his reach, he would try to bite me so I would stop moving.
He faced one of his least favorite things just so he could be with me.
Now, I know, this is just one story but honestly, it’s my best story and if you don’t believe me with it, I guess I can just prove it to you by showing you this article which proves that ferrets bond similar to dogs rather than acting like a wild animal would.
If you’re using me to decide whether you really want a ferret, I highly suggest doing a lot more research as to whether that may be a good idea as there are a lot of personal factors and they do require a lot of time and maintenance.
Do a lot of research on the topic and watch plenty of Youtube videos.
Here is my Youtube Playlist for Ferrets that I watched when researching Ferrets!
Ferrets My Ferret Powerpoint that I made!
Are you struggling with your Ferret Biting? Check out the method that worked for me!
Don’t forget to follow me @ShesWritingMore
And please don’t forget to check out my book, “The White Butterfly” by Sabrina Ingram on Amazon which you can now buy in both Paperback and Kindle versions and various countries!