The Ferret Owners Manual

Hidden Dangers Because ferrets are so curious, they often find themselves in situations that are life threatening. The empty cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels are just large enough for the ferret to get his head stuck inside. If you aren’t around to remove it, the ferret will panic; often to the point of severely lacerating his tongue, or rupturing his larynx. Take a few seconds to tear such tubes lengthwise before discarding them. Be cautious of anything that is just big enough for a ferret’s head to squeeze into.

Ferrets like to “tunnel” under things. Throw rugs or small area rugs are great places to play, until someone steps on the rug. Be very cautious where you step. A ferret makes a small “bump” under a rug that is very difficult to see. A similar danger exists for couch and sofa cushions although here the danger is sitting rather than stepping on the burrowing critter.

When you open your refrigerator, make sure your ever-curious ferret has not decided to climb inside to see what’s new. Same goes for washers, dryers, and dishwashers. (Dishwasher detergent is highly caustic. Even the residue sometimes left behind will quickly kill a curious ferret if they ingest even a tiny amount.) When you do laundry, make sure that the dirty clothes do not include a sleeping ferret. Before you empty your trash, make sure that the trash bag doesn’t include your ferret. Lost Ferret – To a curious ferret, the door to the outside is just another door to another room. Given even half a chance he will dart out between your legs without you ever seeing him. Once out, he will go into his “explore mode,” quickly become lost, and starve if he is not found soon.

First, if you can’t find your ferret, check the home thoroughly again. We “lose” at least one ferret a day and I often end up combing the neighborhood only to find that he had decided to take a nap in some strange, never before visited place in the house, right under our noses. Sometimes the ferret isn’t lost, but has become trapped somewhere. Check rolls of carpeting, behind furniture, etc.

If he is lost, contact the police, animal control officer, and local shelters. It pays to advertise too. Put an ad in the local newspapers and place posters around the neighborhood – particularly where children are likely to congregate (schools, clubs, playgrounds, ball fields). If ferrets are not common in your area, be sure to include a picture of your ferret on the poster. For an offer of a reward, you can recruit a medium sized army of children. Ferrets have been found several miles from home, so don’t necessarily restrict your posters to the block where you live. If you can, place his cage and bedding, with food and water, outside. He might just stumble on his own scent and find his way back home. You may just be fortunate to look inside the cage and find your wayward pet looking back at you wondering where you’ve been.


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