Ferret care

Do ferrets need an annual vaccination? 

Yes, ferrets should be inoculated annually against Canine distemper, a virus that has is often fatal in ferrets. 

Do you have to worm a ferret? 

Yes, your ferret should be wormed and treated for fleas every three months.  

Claw trimming

In the wild, ferrets would naturally wear their claws down by digging in the soil. Ferrets kept in captivity don't get the chance to do this so will need their claws checking and trimming regularly. 

Should you microchip a ferret? 

Many of the ferrets that are currently looking for new homes in rescue are strays. If your ferret is microchipped and manages to escape from his enclosure or slip his lead while out walking, then he is much more likely to be reunited with you. Prices vary but it is generally around £30 to microchip your ferret. There are often schemes running at veterinary practices or rescue centre which means you may be able to get this done at a reduced price. 

Is it true that ferrets smell? 

Like skunks, ferrets can secrete a scent from their anal glands when scared or startled, although this is not as pungent or lingering as the skunk's scent. Getting your ferret neutered can also help to prevent the typical ferret smell.

Should you neuter a ferret?

Yes, ferrets should be neutered once they are fully mature (at around six months of age for males and eight months for females). Neutering prevents unwanted litters, protects against disease and can make your ferret less smelly. 

Do ferrets enjoy being handled? 

Yes, ferrets are highly sociable animals and enjoy interaction with people. They tend to become very closely bonded with their owners, but should never be considered completely child friendly. There is always a chance that you might be the victim of a playful bite, especially when handling young ferrets. 

Handling sessions with your ferret should start from a young age, keep handling and play sessions to a short periods only to begin with so your ferret can become used to the process. Ensure that you are handling your ferret in a safe, secure place, either inside in a ferret-proof room or outside in your garden on a well-fitted harness. 

It's best to play games with your ferrets using toys — cat toys are ideal. This way, your ferret will not associate your hands with something to be played with and nipped. Ferrets can be slightly short-sighted so it's important that you make sure that they know you are there before you approach or they may nip or become startled.

When picking a ferret up: 

  • Approach confidently and be sure of what you are doing 
  • Place your hand on your ferret's shoulder blades, placing two fingers in front of his front legs. Wrap your fingers firmly around him but don't grip him too tight. Keep your fingers away from his head and mouth
  • Once you have picked him up, hold him to your body so that he feels secure and support his back end with your other hand. Alternatively, let him rest his body on your folded arm
  • To relax your ferret, gently swing him from side to side 
  • Remember to always supervise children handling ferrets. 

Ferrets will also enjoy regular walks on a harness to run about, play games and explore new places. Being such mischievous charactors, they will attempt escape from the harnesses so it's important to ensure that your use a well-fitted harness that is specifically designed for ferrets.

Ferrets don't have a great homing system and, unlike dogs, are not likely come when called. It's important to always keep your ferret on a harness when he is outside and to make sure that he cannot slip it off easily and get loose. Remember to have your ferret microchipped should he escape and become lost. 

Do ferrets bite? 

Yes, ferrets can and do bite but this is rarely out of agression, they more commonly bite when they are young and new to being handled or when they have become over excited.

Pet care advice