Many PetSmart stores do not sell ferrets. However, the Petco ones do. On the West Coast, no PetSmart store sells ferret. So, if you’re looking to buy a ferret, do so from a Petco store.
Ferrets, PetSmart, Petco, And Costs
If ferrets are not the most extraordinary animals globally, they are one of the most awesome. They come third after dogs and cats and right above hamsters (for me). When you observe a ferret, you pick out an expression of cluelessness on their face that might make you aww. When you see it, you may be inclined to snuggle them. And I understand – it is so cute.
Having a ferret as your friend and companion may require you to spend real cash. You shouldn’t think of going for the wild ones – those will need to be domesticated first, and I doubt if you have the time. This implies that you can only get a tame ferret from a pet store. If you don’t know who much ferrets cost, this section will give you up to the last detail. Read on and buy a fuzzy little ferret.
An Introduction Of Sorts
Let’s talk a little about the animal. As already implied, there are two types: the wild and domestic ferrets. The domestic ones are the most petted because they are not, in any way, a threat to humans. These animals have long cylindrical bodies that are covered with fur. The fur can be anything between white, brown, and black. Sometimes, the hair of the ferret can be a mixture of brown and black.
Their weight is to the tune of 5.5 pounds, and they can be as long as 46 centimeters. The wild kind of ferret is the one with black feet. One time, those ferrets were thought to be extinct, but they are not.
While there may be some stigma associated with having a pet ferret, people should know that a domesticated ferret cannot live and survive on the outside for more than a day. This is because its wild instincts are numbed, and it cannot hunt for food like a wild animal. This should tell anyone that getting a pet ferret is okay as long as the poor animal gets a safe place to live. Also, they will need to be showered with love by you.
Should I Or Should I Not Get A Ferret?
Well, you first need to know if you can commit, be patient, and invest emotionally in the pet. If you give a yes to those items, nothing should stop you from getting one.
A pet is a critter that, although not human, comes with humanlike demand – it is a life. You need to do a self-assessment to know if you’re ready to be responsible. Time is an essential factor, and you should be able to provide it. Owning ferrets means having the time to give it all the attention it needs.
Ferrets are pets that you will love – they are friendly, energetic, and playful. Those three traits mean that you will have to supervise them during their play. If not, they could hurt themselves. Also, you will need to clean and feed them routinely.
The ferret is like a human baby, and if you’re ready for that kind of vibe in your life, do not hesitate to go for it.
Do Ferrets Produce Any Smells?
Well, who doesn’t? Like humans and other animals, ferrets have their smell – a characteristically musky one. They use their smell in territory marking. The one unique thing about ferrets is that they have a scent sac around the anal area. This makes the musky smell manifest more. And no – you cannot remove that sac as it could threaten the animal’s health. The only way you can mitigate the smell production is by getting the ferret neutered. This way, it won’t have the hormones that motivate it to leave the odor.
You should know that the animal also releases a particular smell when faced with a threatening situation.
What Does A Ferret Eat?
As part of the Carnivora order, the ferret is a meat-eater and not a vegetarian. The dietary requirement for this animal is proteins and fats in plenty. Another viable option that ferret owners try is kitty food.
Among the ferret community is a demand for kibble. When you feed the ferret, you may need to slide a freshwater bowl to help the animal down its food. Do not give ferrets vegetable protein as they won’t have the ability to digest it. Also, it can trigger gastrointestinal problems.
Work your way around 35% protein as you prepare their diet. It can be something like a slice of chicken or chicken by-products. Another very essential thing to note is that ferrets should not be fed with any dairy products.
The Cost Of Owning A Ferret
As mentioned, you need to pay for the pet itself. Also, you need to take care of food, medication, and general maintenance. The figure comes to something between $50 and $100, and it goes to $100 and $150 if you include vaccinations. If you need to neuter or spay the ferret, you may have to pay more than that. So, the cost is upwards of $250.
Looking at those cost details, it is correct to say that owning a ferret is neither cheap nor expensive. If you feel that it is costly, wait till you enjoy the companionship of the animal.
Petco And PetSmart Ferret Cost
At a Petco store, be prepared to pay anything above $150. As Petco is a reputable pet shop, you can trust that you will get a good one. At PetSmart, you will pay anything between $65 and $120 for the animal. These are prices for an adult ferret that will need little maintenance.
If you wish to get a baby ferret, you should be ready to spend between $75 and $250. That price is exclusive of the additional charges.
Other Needs The Ferret May Have
Ferrets will need an enclosure. Sometimes, you may have an errand to run and need to put the ferret down. You can’t allow it to roam around the house – it may destroy your items. At Petco, you can get a ferret cage for between $250 and $300. That bracket shouldn’t scare you as it is the high-end one; you can get an enclosure for as little as $30 to $35. It all depends on your preferences and how much you are willing to spend on the ferret.
The other items you may need are colorful balls and squishy toys. You can also get a comfortable ferret bed and install it in the cage. Softballs will cost you anything between $3 and $12. Other popular ferret toys include hammocks ($7 – $23) and tunnel tubes ($5 – $15). For sanitation purposes, get animal shampoo and a brush.
Ferret And Legalities
Like many exotic animals, there are controversies when it comes to having a pet ferret. The reason could be that the ferret is traditionally a wild animal. The states and cities where owning a ferret is illegal are Hawaii, Puerto Rico, California, Washington DC., and New York City. If you are coming from another area or jurisdiction and are entering those states or cities, the authorities may want your attention. They may even go to the extent of confiscating your pet.
Some Noteworthy Details
The following pointers should be in your mind as you get a ferret:
1. Buy the adorable animal a hammock – they will love lounging and getting lazy there.
2. When you go shopping for the food dish, get one that has considerable weight. The ferret could knock off a lightweight bowl.
3. Serving water is not only for their thirst but also for health maintenance.
4. Ensure that the ferret does not meet other animals like young rabbits, small reptiles, and birds. Since those animals are smaller than it, the ferret could be inclined to prey on them.
5. You only need to bathe them every 2 – 3 months. If you feel like their musky smells are stinging your nose, learn to live with it. If you can’t, ask your pet for expert advice.
Before Getting A Ferret: The Factors Considered
This final section focuses on the factors you need to consider before getting a ferret. Going through all the noted points will set you up for a great pet parental experience.
The one thing that prospective owners of ferrets want to know is if the ferret can coexist with other pets and children. A ferret, unlike a dog, may be a little too much for a child. So, an adult should be supervising the child as they interact with the pet. The child also needs to know that a ferret will not be as accommodative as a cat or a dog. To handle the ferret without any apprehension, the child should be old enough – anything between 6 and 7 years.
As ferrets are born hunters, do not expect them to get along with other pets like fish, rodents, birds, lizards, or rabbits. If any of these pets are at home, you should always supervise their interaction with the ferrets.
If you have cats or dogs as your other pets, you will need to formulate a proper introduction to introduce the ferret. The pets should be allowed to smell each other as they deal with the tension in the room. Once they interact freely, you can leave them to themselves but not for too long. You will need to be present at all times because anything can happen with the pets.
Ferrets tend to bite and nip. This also goes for puppies and kittens – but these are taught to behave appropriately. Your pet ferret may not display aggression or viciousness, but it may enjoy combative games like hunting. Until you tell it what and what not to do, the ferret will engage in carefree behavior. If you want to make any adjustments to your home, do it. The ferret could be nipping and biting people because of the blaring music or noisy children. As time goes, the ferret will know how to remain calm.
The Age To Go For
You should know that ferrets will still have wild tendencies and will be inclined to behave wildly. This means that you need to understand and have lots of patience with them. If you are not ready to put in a lot of time to care for a baby ferret, get an older one.
If you feel that a kit is what you want, you should go for one that is between 8 and 16 weeks. You will find them being sold as little as 6 weeks old at pet stores and from breeders. Getting a kit ferret will give you a chance to watch it grow.
The Number Of Ferrets
For the most part, a ferret will love to have you all by itself. However, you may not be there all around the clock to attend to the animal. An excellent option would be to go for multiple ferrets. When the ferrets are together, they can play with each other and interact while you are away.
If you are going for multiple ferrets, it would be a brilliant thing if you got kits. They can grow together in your raise them with the other pets.
The Sex Of The Ferret – Is It Male Or Female?
Female ferrets are known as jills, and their male counterparts are known as hobs. Getting either exposes you to unique advantages and challenges. The most significant difference is in the reproductive cycle. If you are looking at engaging in ferret breeding, you need to research the subject well.
If you want to bring a male and a female ferret and don’t want them to breed, you should consider spaying and neutering them. A female ferret that has not been fixed stays in heat every six of 12 months. During this heated period, the jills will change behaviorally, and her physical characteristics will be out of the norm. It is important to note that the hormones involved in the heated period increase the risk of stress-related illnesses and leukemia.
Like many other males in the wild, an intact male will engage in lots of aggressive behavior. This means that you should be ready to handle the ferret when it starts acting up.
Getting A Fine Ferret Health-Wise
In the long run, you would want to have a healthy ferret regardless of its gender, age, and color. As you prepare to go shopping, you need to know how to spot a healthy ferret. You need to observe the general appearance and behavior.
An alert, curious, and playful ferret is probably the healthiest of them all. It should also have bright eyes and erect eyes. Its movements should be supple and smooth.
Any discharge coming out of the ferret’s mouth, nose, ears, eyes, genital organs, and anus should indicate that it is far from healthy. The pad and mouth should be clean and pink.
The Musky Scent Of The Ferret
As mentioned elsewhere in the article, ferrets produce a musky smell that comes from a gland under their skin. Also, there is a sac of scent around the anal area. In territorial marking, the scent usually passes onto the ferret’s fecal matter. As compared to female ferrets, the male ones produce urine that is strongly scented.
The sac that produces the scent should not be removed as it could complicate and compromise the ferret’s health. If you neuter the male, it will stop releasing the scent unless it meets a frightening and agitating situation. The smell should put you off – you can get special solvents to treat it, or you can let the scent dissipate on its own. To control some odor that you may not want, you should ensure that the litterboxes remain clean.
As compared to cats, using a litterbox does not come naturally to a ferret. However, that does not mean that they can’t be trained – they can. It would help if you started the ferret off on a corner box. Fit the box in a small area in the age. To ensure that the ferret understands the purpose of the box, put some of its litter there. This will help the pet to avoid using other areas. Once the ferret does its business in the box, you can give them a treat to appreciate their intelligent behavior and responsiveness.
Remember that the training will take time. You should be patient with the animal and shouldn’t treat it harshly. Any messes made can be corrected using an odor remover. It would help if you remained vigilant until the ferret gets the point.
Getting Your Home Ferret-Proofed
Since you are bringing an extra member of the family, you need to make the home accommodative. The fixes that you make to your house will ensure that the ferret remains safe in the place. Looking at the ferret’s long and cylindrical body, one can comfortably see them squeezing through tight spaces comfortably. If your ferret is male, it could be wanting to leave the house and look for a mate. It would help if you blocked all holes that could open the ferret up to the outside.
Also, some in-house rules need to change. You may need to tell everyone to be extra careful as they step. This will avoid hurting any ferrets that are playing underfoot.
As you ferret-proof your home, you also need to look at the furniture. Since ferrets love nesting, you may want them to stay away from beds and sofas. Ensure that all the thin plywood and heavy fabric is fastened. Also, the levers and springs in reclining chairs and sofa beds need protection. Get a protector for your plastic carpet as the ferret may nibble on the floor fabrics.
Ferrets are curious animals, and they may want to look at what the cabinets and drawers have. Ensure that those are safeguarded. Also, keep items like cleaners, soaps, and medicines out of reach of ferrets. To avoid ferrets from being involved in drowning accidents, get all the toilet lids closed. Also, all buckets, sinks, and bathtubs that are filled with water should be supervised. If you have any aquariums, make sure that they are all covered.
If you have any houseplants, you need to do your research on their toxicity levels. Ferrets will love nibbling on the leaves and stems of every plant they see, so you should be very alert. If the ferret wants to chew, ensure that the plants involved are the safe ones.
Things like drapery cords and plastic bags, which are suffocation hazards, should be out of reach of the ferret. You also want to consider things like gift wrappers, paper towels, and toilet paper because of the ferret’s miniature size. While these items may seem harmless, they pose a lot of danger to the pets.
As already captured, you need to provide the ferret with a diet high in protein and fat. Also, freshwater should be on the side. Because there are not many ferret foods in pet stores, the ferret will enjoy eating food meant for cats and kittens.
Companies like Kaytee have managed to make good food for ferrets so you can look at their products. Their diets and foods are made to meet the nutritional requirements of the pet. If you choose to stick to cat food, avoid any that has fish or fish flavoring. If you don’t, the ferret’s litter will have an unbearable odor. Then, do not give the ferret any food meant for dogs. While it may not be harmful to them, it will fill the ferret without giving it any nutritional benefits.
Totally avoid giving your ferret any human snacks. Those foods may expose the ferret to indigestion and toxicity. Specifically, avoid tobacco products, coffee, tea, colas, milk, onions, and ice cream.
Your ferret will appreciate it when you give it a varied diet. To get a treat from you, the ferret will do just about anything and everything – it will roll over, walk on its hind legs, sit up, and even beg. Have a bag of cat food near you to reward the ferret for its stunts. Instead of the treat, you can just add something to the ferret’s regular diet, like fruits and vegetables. If you need specially-formulated treats for ferrets, you can get good ones from Kaytee.
I’m Christopher Benjamin, a dedicated Animal Nutritionist at Ethos Veterinary Health with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Michigan State University. My lifelong passion for animals led me to establish AnimalsData.Com. Here, I share expert advice, educational resources, and inspiring stories to empower fellow pet lovers worldwide. Join our community as we celebrate the beauty and diversity of our beloved animal companions!