The Domesticated Ferret (Mustela Putorious Furo)

The Domesticated Ferret (Mustela Putorious Furo)

There is just something about ferrets that most owners can’t explain.  In the latest 2013 census data, there are approximately five to seven million household ferrets kept as pets in the United States (Biology and Diseases of the Ferret, 2014 3rd edition, James G. Fox and Robert P. Marini, Chapter. 1, pg. 15). Ferret Owners thoroughly enjoy ferrets for a plethora of characteristics, mainly companionship, ease of training, individuality, ease of care,  and simply their good looks and their buffoonery. This article aims at those concerned with the ferret’s welfare.  Most importantly, domestication history, also, it’s of great importance!  This article mainly aims at debunking the public’s myths, fallacies, and misconceptions.  To say the least, these are undeserved and untrue. Fortunately, most ferret owners have a deep respect for their ferrets and have a very close and intimate relationship with them, and would agree when I say, “I am owned by ferrets”. When writing an article such a this, I take on a considerable task.  I’m fighting prejudices, and when the majority of false information and prejudices, which come from a minority of owners, as compared to the majority…the task is a real up hill battle. Ferrets have served mankind very well in the past centuries, and with much dedication. The range of ferret owners is vast.  Fanciers, ferreters, veterinarians, surgeons, students, laboratory workers, shelters and sanctuaries, staff biologists, and wildlife writers.  Although having said this, all have their own strongly held opinions, though it is very unfortunate, and it’s discouraging and harmful to the ferret community at large that there is so much disagreement and contention, but they seem to...
Bathing Ferrets – The Truth Behind the Fiction

Bathing Ferrets – The Truth Behind the Fiction

Ferrets, by nature, are clean animals, but they do need our help sometimes.  Regarding bathing your ferret, research has proven, also it is strongly believed by many other experienced ferret owners, and agreed upon that ferrets should only be given a bath once a month or even less.  Bathing strips the ferrets naturally occurring oils from the skin, resulting in the oil glands (located behind the ears, subcutaneously) to go into ‘hyper-drive’ or in other words, they will over-react to replace and reproduce more. Ferrets naturally have hard, dry, and itchy skin beneath their soft coat of fur.  It’s not uncommon to see a ferret stop, mid-stride, to scratch itself. Many times, they aggressively scratch themselves with the same resilience as if they had fleas.  Bathing ferrets DOES NOT remove the scent of the oil (some call it an odor).  Actually, within an hour or two, the scent will be back even stronger.  Using shampoos only temporarily mask the scent by removing the oil.  The removal of the oil actually makes ferrets uncomfortable.  However, it is fun to watch them ‘zip’ all over the place after being dried off. Ferrets, unlike many of their genetic relatives, like otters for example, do not like to be wet.  Though most household pet ferrets will tolerate a bath, but don’t confuse their toleration with enjoyment. Never use a shampoo directly on a ferret’s face, even if the shampoo is “tear-free”.  This will still irritate a ferret’s eyes and the nose, if inhaled.  Use your hand and cup the water to get its face wet and it’s probably best to leave that part of...

What is a Ferret “Sanctuary”?

Have you ever wondered what a “sanctuary” is?  According to the Oxford American Dictionary, ‘Sanctuary’ is defined as, “a place of refuge or safety”.  There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the differences between a sanctuary and a shelter.  It is however, important to know the difference between the two, because of the foundational purposes of each, and as a ferret owner, a ferret sanctuary may be the only viable and humane option for many, in the future.  Of course it goes without saying, shelters and sanctuaries are extremely important to the lives and welfare of many animals, but specifically ferrets, for the purpose of this article. A ferret sanctuary is a facility where ferrets are brought to live, they’re cared for, loved, and protected for the rest of their lives.  Unlike shelters, sanctuaries do not seek to place animals with individuals or groups, instead maintaining each animal until it’s natural death.  In some cases, an establishment may have characteristics of both a sanctuary and a shelter; for instance, some ferrets may be in residence temporarily until a good home is found and others may be permanent residents.  The mission of a ferret sanctuary is generally to be a safe-haven where the ferrets receive the best care that the sanctuary can provide.  The resident ferrets are not bought, sold, or traded, nor are they used for animal testing.  They are given the opportunity to behave as natural as possible in a protective, caring, and loving environment. What distinguishes a sanctuary from other institutions is the philosophy that the ferrets come first.  Sanctuaries act on behalf of the animals, and the caregivers work under...
The Dangers of Housing Ferrets Outside

The Dangers of Housing Ferrets Outside

This article is directed toward ferrets kept in the United States mainly because American climates are not privy to keeping the ferret outside. Also, the U.S. clearly has the largest population of household pet ferrets in the world. Considering that the keeping of ferrets outside is something most American Ferret owner do not practice.  It is estimated in the latest census data that there are approximately 500,000 to 700-000 “household” pet ferrets in the United States. The key word to this definition of “household,” conjures up and indicates that this is an indoor-kept animal.  Though, this is not to say that some owners do not keep pet ferrets outdoors, because they, in fact, do.  I must say under the proper environmental and temperature conditions, ferrets can be kept indoor and out. Ferrets must be housed in either an indoor, controlled temperature, or an outside (year-round) temperature range of 57 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although ferrets can be maintained outdoors, at temperatures as low as 45-50 degrees (which is cruel and inappropriate) and has high as 86 degrees, both of which are intolerable and NOT recommended! The lower and the higher ranges can be fatal to the ferret. In most important to ensure that if you must house the ferret outside, it MUST have a large area in which it is not exposed to sunlight. In heated conditions, the ferret is susceptible to heat prostration (extremely physically weak or exhausted), and hyperthermia, as ferrets have poorly developed sweat glands. In the event a ferret were to get overheated, the clinical signs that would be noticeable are open-mouthed breathing, panting, vomiting, and...

General Ferret Aggressive Behaviors: Ferret Psychology 101

This article will cover some basics such as nipping, biting, ferret psychology, ferret behavior, and ferret-on-ferret aggression, among other subject topics. WARNING: This is not at all an “all-encompassing” article, so therefore, I invite and suggest you research too. With decades of exclusive ferret-keeping experience and now working, writing, and moderating/administrating quite a few websites and Social Media websites, blog, forums, and groups, I get a lot of questions regarding various inappropriate behavior such as ferret-to-ferret aggression, nipping, biting, etc. Many readers and followers want to know more details and they really want to understand, “Why?”. There are a few reasons, actually. I’m only cover some of the reasons, but in a rather basic format for quick and easy reading. Again, it’s my suggestion that owners need to do research as the majority of veterinarians have NO clear suggestions, and really…who wants an opinion? This article is not an opinion, but is the result of several hours of research because it’s asked so much. References that helped in the study for this article are listed at the end. First, it is very important to understand ferret behavior and a ferret’s communication. You can research “ferret aggression”. A few things to keep in mind. Ferrets are very social animals whether it be with other ferrets (cage mates), other household pets (with the exception of birds, rodents, guinea pigs, rabbits, and reptiles…simply, these can are genetic “food items” especially if you are a “raw” feeder. And some reasons for the inappropriate use of his teeth, can include: – Improper socialization with both you, other humans (strangers), and other animals. – Communication...

Ferret Areas Do Not Have to be Odorous

Ferret Areas Do Not Have to be Odorous People’s scent perception differs greatly. Many fragrances some folks love, others loathed. A person may become offended by one smell but not notice a familiar one. Ferrets, in fact, have a woodsy aroma different than cats or dogs. Though, like wet dogs, a ferret’s signature scent will tend to be stronger in a humid climate. Air sprays or solid “fresheners” are just a temporary mask. The only way to stop odor is ensuring your ferret’s environment is sparkling clean. It’s rarely the ferret that stinks; it’s their stuff. Changing litter daily and washing floors and bedding, etc. will make a tremendous difference. Carpeting is tougher, however — it may need periodic steam-cleaning. Febreze (safe for pets) can work for the short-term, but odor-reducing, enzymatic cleaners are more effective on multiple surfaces. And also, don’t forget about quality air sanitizers that are specifically designed for odor control. Most of these are highly effective, and prices and quality of the product ranges significantly. Whatever ferrets touch will pick up the oil from their skin. Wash bedding weekly; try using a natural laundry additive like borax or baking soda. Don’t forget to clean toys also. Recently I purchased an “O2 Pure air purifier” that’s small and works great! I love the wall-mount option. In any air cleaners, make sure to look for an activated carbon filter designed for odor control. While you may never completely eliminate smells, with work they’ll be inoffensive and your friends, family, and visitors can spread the word — ferrets do not smell bad! Brian Carr Coordinator of Eduction and...
The Latest on Mandrake

The Latest on Mandrake

I’m sure everyone is wondering how our patient is doing. Mandrake is healing very well. The swelling is diminishing. We are keeping him medicated and he seems to be fine. The right eye keeps scabbing over and we have to clean it and lavage the eye. We are keeping panalog on it. He’s seems confused as to why he can only see out of one eye and the pain meds are keeping him a little woozy. But other than that, things seem to be progressing quite well. Our favorite Web Guru decided to stop by and check on Mandrake himself. He loves the sanctuary and all of the fursnakes love...
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! LOOK!!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! LOOK!!

The new business cards have landed!!! OMG i love them. Eleventy zillion hugs going out to Fred Ackers for the new design and additions to it!!!! I love new and i love cards and i love WeezleWings so i LOVE  today  ‘cuz we gotted NEW CARDS!!! Wooohooooooo!!! /weasel war dancing all over the place, the fursnakes are doing back flips and gettin’ all excited with me!!! Thank you Fred, you are our very own Rock Star!!!! Some are biege and some are white, which gives us a wonderful choice depending on what we are using them for at the time!!!!...