The Pros and Cons of Having a Ferret For a Pet

My ferrets “dook,” do the war dance, and “skitter” between my feet, and make my husband, kids, and I smile. For my family, ferrets are excellent pets. My husband thinks they’re better than dogs, and the whole lot of us prefer ferrets to cats. Ferrets are very different from cats and dogs, however.Their behavior, smell, motivations, and shape are all different from cats and dogs. They are classified as exotic pets, and it is important that you consider the pros and cons of ferret parenthood before adopting one of these wonderful weasels.

The differences between ferrets and other pets create the pros and cons of having a pet ferret

Intelligence: I hesitate to say that cats and dogs are smarter than ferrets, but I readily acknowledge that ferrets have a significantly different kind of intelligence. Ferrets are pretty good problem solvers. As an example, for Christmas one year, I put an apple in a stocking for my ferret. (The ferret liked to steal apples and hide them. He didn’t actually eat them.) The apple was just a tad smaller in diameter as the stocking. Ernie put his head in the stocking, grabbed the apple, and pulled. It didn’t work. After only two tries he crawled out of the stocking and got on top of it. He pushed the apple out.

Tenacity: Every ferret I have ever seen has been far more tenacious than the most dedicated cat or dog. Ferrets are intensely curious. They must know what is behind closed doors. They must know what is behind a barrier. They need to study the backside of a dishwasher and the inside of a sofa. If a ferret somehow manages to get in your pots and pans cabinet, don’t be surprised to find them later in with your silverware. This tenacity makes it difficult to “ferret proof” and make your house safe for your beloved pets.

Thievery: Dogs tend to steal shoes and socks as puppies, but they outgrow the behavior. Ferrets “steal” throughout their lives. If an object appeals to a ferret, it will snatch that object and hide it in their stash. Ferrets do not grow out of this–humans learn to put up their keys and shoes.

Diet (Input): While dogs are omnivores, ferrets are like cats. They are carnivores. In fact, ferrets are obligate carnivores and they eat meat and fat. Ferrets need ferret food, and ferret food is a little more expensive than cat food.

Output: Ferrets don’t bury their excrement in a litter box. Dogs are easily trained to go outside. Ferrets, on the other hand, generally do their business in corners. While they can be trained to use litter boxes, it’s rare to find a ferret that will walk to another room to use a litter box.

Names: Cats and dogs quickly learn their names and dogs are easily trained to come to their name. Few ferrets know their names. Only two of my ferrets know their names. A woman I know who has operated a ferret shelter for 18 years tells me she has only ever seen one ferret demonstrate knowledge of her name.

Which of these are pros and which are cons? Well, the answer to that question is different for each person.

Before you get a ferret for a pet, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. If your pet ferret steals your keys, is it cute? If your pet ferret steals your keys twenty times, is it still cute?
  2. Are you willing to re-arrange your house to ferret-proof it?
  3. Are you willing to deal with magnetic locks on your cabinets?
  4. Are you willing to get rid of your recliners?
  5. Do you get bent out of shape if the bottoms of your doors have scratch marks on them?
  6. Do you mind cleaning litter boxes?
  7. Do you mind cleaning up areas that aren’t the litter box?
  8. Can you get over a two-foot tall Plexiglas barrier?
  9. Do you have a sensitive nose?
  10. If you leave a glass out, will you mind if it gets tilted over and a nose in it?

It’s not all bad though. As yourself these questions too.

  1. Do you like watching curious animals?
  2. Do you like playing with your animals?
  3. Do you like pets that will play with you and play on their own?
  4. Do you like cute animals?

Ferrets are not for everyone, but they are wonderful for some people

Ferrets can seem chaotic at times, but once you get to know the species, they aren’t.

Are you still considering a pet ferret?

Please visit a ferret shelter close to you and talk with the shelter workers. Besides the fact that almost every ferret shelter is overflowing right now, the shelter people can help you understand a specific ferret’s personality. The shelter people also have a vested interested in doing what it takes to make your home the ferret’s forever home. The American Ferret Association and Ferret Life both have directories for ferret shelters.

Why the Heck Would You Have a Pet Snake (or lizard, crocodile, monitor, frog, turtle etc)?

This is a question that has been asked of me and a thousand (million?) other herp keepers. I think it’s almost a case of once bitten, twice as determined. But seriously, it is something I have pondered but not really found an adequate answer for. They are not cute and cuddly. They bite (when young), they feel cold (not really) and they have funny eyes. And scales.

As a little tacker I was always into animals – frogs, lizards, tadpoles, butterflies, beetles, spiders – you name it, I went looking for it.

I don’t think I ever got over it. It’s hard to explain to people who do not have a fascination with animals, what the attraction is. It’s just there. I think most people actually have it but for a variety of reasons they do not act upon it or ignore it.

Snakes are particularly intriguing. The way they move, the way the eat, the way their metabolism is so brilliantly attuned to the particular environment they inhabit, their ancestry, the development of venoms so potent that that can kill in minutes, all of these things interest me and make me want to know more about them.

There is some part of you that has to overcome a natural fear in the first instance to want to own and keep a reptile. For some reason, I’m not sure if it’s instinct, we fear snakes and many reptiles. Witness a small child when you show them a snake. They instantly recoil. It’s only when you show them that they have nothing to fear that they can then ‘pet’ the snake and overcome their own fears (well, as long as it’s not venomous).

Where I live, every snake is venomous. There is no such thing as a snake that is not dangerous. Copperheads, red-bellied black snakes, mainland tiger snakes and eastern brown snakes all inhabit my local area, so it’s understandable that people fear them. We have no pythons or non-venomous snakes in my area. Just the other day one of the painters doing my house remarked to me that he nearly leapt out of his skin when he saw what looked to be a snake in the grass near where he was painting. It turns out it was a blue tongued lizard, but nonetheless, his fear was well grounded. Living in the area makes you wary of snakes.

I think this is somewhat unfortunate. Snakes are more scared of you. How big you must appear to a snake. Standing still when you see one will prevent an attack. They only attack when threatened. Slowly backing off is also a good thing to do.

So why keep them? I think it is a duality of fear and fascination. And the trouble is that once you have one, you want two, and then three etc. If you have them, you know the feeling.

Another aspect is the actual act of managing to keep an animal that is not naturally suited or normally kept as a pet in an artificial environment. Learning about its needs, how to maintain optimal health, how to breed it, how to ‘tame’ it and how to enjoy it for what it is. These are challenges that herp keeping offers that few other pets do.

Friendly Rabbit Breeds: What Breed of Rabbit Makes the Best Pet?

When choosing a pet rabbit, breed is one of the major factors to consider. Rabbits vary a great deal from breed to breed in terms of temperament, lifespan, care needs and ease of handling. With more than 60 rabbit breeds and over 500 varieties worldwide, there are many to choose from; this article gives information on the breeds most commonly seen as pets.

Rabbit breeds are classified into four sizes – dwarf, small/medium, large and giant. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the breed, the longer the lifespan, with dwarf breeds having an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years while giant breeds have a shorter lifespan of 5 to 6 years.

Size also has a bearing on temperament, with the larger breeds tending to be more laid back and friendly, while the smaller or dwarf breeds can be very energetic, highly strung and more difficult to handle. Long haired breeds such as the Angora need almost daily brushing while very short haired breeds like the Rex need no brushing whatsoever.

Therefore, the ‘best’ pet rabbit breed in terms of friendliness and ease of care would be a large breed e.g. English Spot, New Zealand, Californian, Standard Rex or French Lop. Dutch and Himalayan rabbits are also friendly and easy going, despite being a small/medium size.

The most common pet breeds seen today are dwarf or small breeds e.g. Netherland Dwarf, Dwarf Lop, Mini Lop, Holland Lop, Lionhead, Mini Lion Lop, Polish, Mini Rex etc. These have been breed to look small and cute with rounded heads, however, these breeds have a far higher risk of dental disease which can be very costly to treat. They are also not recommended for inexperienced rabbit keepers or children as their lively, energetic nature makes them more difficult to handle.

Copyright 2011 Hannah Davis / Bunnyhugga.com All Rights Reserved