Is It Easy to Own a Pet Ferret?

Explore the challenges of pet ferrets and judge for yourself whether or not it’s difficult to own one of these quirky and mischievous companions!

Apr 9, 2024By Dallin Darger
is it easy to own pet ferret

Few will deny that there are countless good reasons to own a pet ferret. From their playful curiosity to their good-natured friendliness, these eccentric explorers make fantastic pets and friends. But how much of a headache is it to actually own one?

Let’s take a deep dive into that question! By analyzing the most common hurdles for owning a ferret, you’ll learn what to expect and find out if the rewards outweigh the drawbacks.

Are Ferrets High-Maintenance Pets?

woman holding ferret field
Photo by Evgeniya Litovchenko

Just how high-maintenance is the average pet ferret? That comes down a little bit to context. Compared to common farm inhabitants like goats or miniature donkeys, ferrets are practically a breeze to care for. However, when you stack one up against, say, a well-trained golden retriever, it’s a different story!

Overall, ferrets are best placed somewhere on the “moderate-to-difficult” side of pet ownership. You probably won’t tear your hair out trying to maintain one, but some of their less glamorous traits (like their infamous tendency to run and hide from their owners!) can certainly make them a handful.

Common Obstacles for Ferret Owners

red collar ferret
Image by Trysteen from Pixabay

So, what are the main problem areas to watch out for when owning a pet ferret? One main concern to highlight is a ferret’s feeding schedule. Simply put, ferrets eat…a lot! In fact, ferrets typically eat in the range of 6-to-8 times a day, so it’s necessary to keep food out for them at all times. And, with a diet consisting mainly of meat and protein, their feeding routine can get quite costly after a while.

On a behavioral level, ferrets are usually renowned for their intelligence and curiosity. On the other hand, this trait can be a double-edged sword! With their smarts and drive to explore, these pets often try to escape their home. Likewise, they are a bit notorious for stealing and hiding owners’ belongings. Not a trait you see as much in the calm and relaxed Ragdoll or other common cat breeds!

Lastly, ferrets, under the right circumstances, can be surprisingly aggressive. This hostility mostly happens when owners don’t handle these pets gently enough, but it can lead to bites and scratches. Ferrets also sometimes adapt poorly to other animals, leading to fights and territorial disputes when exposed to new pets.

Are Ferrets Good Pets for Beginners?

hands holding white ferret
Photo by Nikolett Emmert

Pet ferrets pose some unique challenges, but does that make them completely unsuitable for beginners? Not exactly. Despite their unflattering side, ferrets still, on the whole, make for friendly, intelligent, and trainable pets. So, if you’re a more adventurous new owner and think you can handle the ups and downs that come with caring for a ferret, there’s nothing stopping you!

That said, it’s a different story for children. Due to their periodic aggressiveness, risk of escape, and general mischievousness, ferrets aren’t generally a good pick for a child’s first pet. A preferable choice here could be a child-friendly popular dog breed like a poodle or beagle.

How Loud Are Pet Ferrets?

ferret yawning
Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay

While capable of vocalization, ferrets are actually refreshingly quiet companions. The noises they make are usually limited to restrained squeaks and hisses, with none of the loud theatrics common to some other species. Their quiet nature is one of the areas where ferrets really shine compared to cats or dogs. No constant barking or mewling to contend with here!

Interpreting the noises made by ferrets is also, fortunately, a pretty straightforward process. When they’re feeling happy or playful, you’ll often hear a distinct sound reminiscent of chuckling. On the other hand, if your ferret friend is feeling down, they might let you know with a characteristic, quiet hiss.

Maintaining Ferret Health & Wellness

ferret eye dropper oil
Photo by Pharma Hemp Complex on Unsplash

One of the biggest responsibilities in pet ownership is keeping your animal healthy. For ferrets, this task comes packaged with some extra requirements. Ferrets, for example, most often need special, protein-rich commercial foods on account of their carnivorous diet. Some owners find that a whole meat feeding schedule works best, which, of course, comes with its own set of obstacles.

In that same vein, ferrets have unique veterinary needs. They need to be taken to a qualified vet at least twice a year for checkups and vaccinations. It’s also essential to establish a monthly bathing schedule to keep your pet ferret’s hygiene in check!

Pros and Cons of Pet Ferrets

two ferrets log
Image by Angela from Pixabay

For the most part, we’ve focused on the downsides of owning a pet ferret. But these creatures have a ton of positive qualities that make them wonderful to own! Simply take a look at their immense friendliness and love of cuddling to understand the appeal. Or, if you’re a big fan of highly intelligent pets, it’s worth noting how quick, curious, and easily trained ferrets are.

On the flip side, there are undeniable downsides that can make owning a ferret a tricky matter. They often use their smarts for destructive behaviors like stealing belongings, escaping their cage, and hiding from owners. Plus, ferrets have a demanding diet, require special veterinary care, and can attack other pets. These drawbacks keep ferrets from being more widely adopted as pets despite their many shining virtues.

Dallin Darger
By Dallin Darger

Dallin is a passionate, seasoned pet owner and enthusiast. He has, over the course of 27 years, owned and loved a litany of breeds, from Labrador retrievers and calico cats to angelfish and neon tetras. Much of his free time is spent researching and learning everything he can about unfamiliar and exciting types of wildlife.