Ferrets as Pets – Is This The Right Pet For You?
By: Jonni Good
Many people are now considering ferrets as pets. This animal is the third most popular pet in the United States according to the pet industry, in spite of the fact that it's illegal to own one in California, one of our most populous states.
You may be thinking of getting a ferret yourself.
Just don't make the mistake of assuming that this curious, independent critter is anything like any other pet you've ever known.
The ferret is a small, long-bodied, low-slung creature closely related to weasels, skunks, wolverines and badgers. Their sleek bodies and thick soft fur reveal their close relationship to the mink, while their intelligence, ingenuity and playfulness mark them as a relative of the otter. All these animals are carnivores, and the ferret is no exception.
Since a ferret can live for 7 to 9 years or even longer, you must really understand what you're getting into before adopting one of these little animals as a household pet.
For the ferret's well-being, and yours, the adoption of a ferret should be a decision that is made after long and careful thought.
For instance, you should not assume that the ferret is a good substitute for your young child's hamster, since ferrets require lots of attention, playtime and affection. They are very social animals, and can't stay locked in their cage forever without company or companionship. If you can't spend several hours a day playing and socializing with your ferret, you should consider a goldfish instead.
Ferrets are also much less forgiving than the tiny hamster or placid guinea pig, and will defend themselves if a small child hurts them. Any child under the age of 6 (and many older children) will not have the sensitivity or coordination they need to pick up a ferret without hurting it. These animals are not recommended for households with small children for that reason.
Ferrets do have sharp teeth, and they'll use them to protect themselves.
Ferrets must have a cage where they can sleep peacefully (as much as 18 to 20 hours a day), but they can't stay in their cage all the time. When they do come out, they will act much like a kitten on steroids, with an extra dose of curiosity and independence.
They love to play, and if they have been properly socialized they will love to play with you. But this also means that they will find many things to play with that you may prefer they leave alone – and some items they decide to chew or wrestle with can be dangerous to the animal.
That means that much attention must be paid to the chore of ferret-proofing your house (before you bring your new pet home) in order to protect your pet and your possessions. If you were thinking that your new ferret would simply stay in his cage all the time, you must rearrange your thinking or forget the idea of having one of these animals as a pet.
And if you thought they would grow out of their playfulness, as many cats do, you are mistaken. However, they sleep for much of the day so they're active for only a few hours, and they are usually willing to schedule their play at a time that's convenient for their owners.
If you're thinking about getting ferrets as pets, be sure to learn how to care for your ferrets the right way, to keep your new pets healthy and happy. Visit http://www.FerretsCare.com
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