Let’s try to understand and explain some of the most common ferret myths and misconceptions that non-ferret owners would never understand. We all know that in some states, owning a ferret as pet can be illegal because of what they perceived as “danger” that could pose to the household and the community when in fact, the issue is all about being a responsible pet owner whether the animal you are caring for is a dog, a cat, a rabbit or birds or even exotic animals.
Let’s Break Some Ferret Myths:
1. Ferrets are silent animals
This is partially true if what you mean by being silent is by not having a distinct sound like barking dogs, or crying cats. Ferrets are noisy in a sense that when they play with other ferrets they create a dooking sound which can be very noisy at times.
2. Ferrets can’t learn tricks
This is not true. Ferrets are smart. Like dogs, they can easily be trained with basic tricks like roll on the floor, sit, and stand. There are many videos in Youtube showing ferrets with their tricks like this one
3. Ferrets have sharp eyesight
Ferrets burrow in the dark but that doesn’t mean they can see clearly what they are doing. Ferrets have poor vision that is why you will see them sometimes slamming on the door. Their poor eyesight also contributes to their sloppy behavior.
4. Ferrets must be caged.
If your ferrets can roam around your house the whole time, the better it is for them, but like other pets they also need to be confined in a cage especially when there is no one to look after them. They need at least 4 hours of out-of-the-cage time to maintain a healthy well-being.
5. Ferrets are biters
They bite when they want your attention but this behavior can be outgrown. You can also train your ferret not to bite and they would gladly comply.
6. Ferret is a type of rat and may carry Leptospirosis
Ferrets are not rodents. They are bred from the species of European pole cats. They don’t carry leptospirosis which is known to be contracted from rodents.
7. Ferrets attack people
Ferrets don’t attack people except in rare cases where they find them as threat. As a matter of fact, they can be scared of humans particularly strangers. Their initial reaction upon seeing a stranger is not to attack but they are usually scared and will back into a corner.
8. Ferrets carry rabies
Ferrets don’t carry rabies but they can become infected with rabies that is why ferrets are recommended to undergo anti-rabies vaccine. When ferrets acquire rabies they can die immediately before they can even infect others.
9. Ferrets are wild
There is a specie of wild ferret called the black-footed ferret but they are very rare and endangered and are not acquired as pets. The term “wild” may be because of their naughty and rowdy ferret behavior but they are not wild in terms of killing instinct.
10. Ferrets are illegal as pets
This is true in some states particularly in California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, and some cities in Texas and Minnesota and other US states but they are very legal as pets in majority of the US states.
11. Ferrets are stinky
This has something to do on how you care and provide proper hygiene for your ferrets. Almost all ferrets bought from stores or shelters have their anal sac removed which is the main cause of their stink. Read more about do ferrets stink here.
Like other animals, regular cleaning of their cage is important to avoid the stinky odor. Furthermore, you should feed your ferrets high quality ferret foods as this greatly contributes to their body odor.
12. Ferrets feed on anything
Not true. You MUST not feed ferrets with fruits and vegetables as their digestive system doesn’t produce the enzyme needed to break down fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based food. Ferrets are carnivores and would only feed on raw meat. You can offer them eggs too.
13. Ferrets can cause asthma and allergies
This is one of the most common ferret myths worth correcting. Ferrets are hypoallergenic. In fact, pet owners recommend this animal if you are allergic to dogs and cats when they shed. Ferrets do not shed their fur as often as cats and dogs.
As you can see, there are many ferret myths to break. The ones listed above are just the few of them. Knowing these stuff is important so that we can correct this misconceptions about our beloved fuzzy friends.