There are several types of ferrets; the black-footed ferret, the albino, and the cinnamon. Back before they became pets they were used to go through rabbit holes and scare or catch the rabbits and other rodents. The black-footed ferret is the one in the wild but not there are very few left, they are endangered. Ferret in the Latin root means "thief" and they stick true to their name, pets will steal anything from socks to pencils and food. Wild ferrets are known for stealing eggs, food, and stuff from people's homes. In the 18th century they were considered evil because they stole and were nasty mangy animals but now they are just cute, overactive, lovable pets. They are in the weasel family; other animals in that family are raccoons, skunks, otters, and minks. They are stinky but there are ways to avoid this, by taking out their sent glands and giving them baths and keeping the cage clean. Their skin is fragile so only bathe them once a month. Ferrets normally live up to 8 years, but like any other animal can live longer depending on heath.
Ferrets are very energetic animals that need lots of time, love, and attention everyday. If you cannot provide this it is suggested not to own a ferret. If you have 3-4 hours or more a day than a ferret may be right for you, provided you love them. The type of cage preferred is a multi level ferret cage. On level is not enough space for them. To the right is a picture of an ideal ferret cage. Tubes are not required but it is a great exercise and fun thing for a ferret to have. Coming from their background history it provides a tunnel-like thing for them it hide and get around in. When a ferret is not active they are sleeping, so they need to have multiple beds depending on the cage size. If it has more than two levels they may need two beds. The basic pet store will supply everything you need for your ferret. Also because they are so active they have a very high metabolism and will eat a lot. They will need a food container that always has food in it. The picture below is a good example of a food dispenser. They also will drink a lot of water so a water bottle is required. Ferrets will be up and playing even when your not so it would be a good thing to have as many toys as possible in their cage so they don't get bored or mad at you and start either trying to open the cage or wake you up. IT WILL HAPPEN. Just as any animal they do defecate so in a multi level cage it would be good to have 2 or more littler boxes. They like to go in the corners so a corner litter box will be perfect. You can train your ferret to go into its cage and use the bathroom but it is hard and might not happen so if you are going to let you little guy run around your house or room you might want to have some litter boxes laying around and train them to use those.
Pet stores sell all kinds of food and snacks for ferrets. The thing ferrets will eat is dry ferret pellet food. Marshals is a leading brand but also the most expensive if you want to go cheaper they have options and the other cheap most common brand is Ultra-Blend Select 8-in-1. Treats are also available they sell many different kinds; they come in sticks, softer flavored pellets, and chewy toys. It all depends on what your ferret likes. Due to their digestive system and them being carnivores animals they cannot eat fruits or vegetables, they can get sick and possibly even die. So stick to things sold for ferrets, however they can eat raw and cooked meats like steaks. That is only a treat though too much can be harmful. Do not ever let them eat human food; especially chocolate.
Most ferrets that come from a pet store are already fixed and unless you have a breeding license it is illegal to breed them. If you can breed them the female is in heat every spring after she is ten months old. When showing signs such as, odor increase, thin watery discharge, and vulva swelling, she should immediately be put with the male. The male will act aggressive and grab the female's neck and throw her around at first but this is normal. After she is pregnant you can put her back in a separate cage; the gestation period is six weeks. A nest box should be provided for the female for when the babies arrive. Female ferrets do not have a difficult time giving birth so they need no help. The average litter is six to eight kits, and they arrive every five to ten minutes. The kits will be pink and fuzzy weighing at about to of an ounce and is 11/2 inches long. Always approach females and litter with caution because they are very protective.
Ferrets can easily get canine distemper, it is a fatal viral disease in ferrets; vaccination is very important. Young kits should receive vaccinations at twelve weeks and than annually after that. The signs are discharge from eyes and nose, breathing difficulties, and diarrhea. They can also get feline distemper. Rabies among ferrets is not very common because they spend most of their time in cages; there is a vaccination available for a precautionary use. Hemorrhagic enteritis, or bloody diarrhea is a common disease; they can die within three days of getting this because they stop eating. Some cases the animal will just stop drinking ad die within a month. Quickly recognizing and treating your ferret will save its life. A couple other diseases are Pasteurella multocida, Clostridium botulinum, ear mites, Sarcoptes scabei, fleas, and physical injuries. Another thing really common in older ferrets is that they have strokes and could possibly become paralyzed on one side of their body. Just observe your ferret every day and try you're hardest to keep it healthy and happy.
As mentioned before ferrets are very active and hyper pets, they will do anything for attention and wont stop till they get it. They have A.D.D and love to be played with, loved, handled, and burrow in the grass. Ferrets can also be trained to do certain things; one of them is to poop in their correct litter box, another is to not bit you themselves or other people, and other than normal stuff they can be trained to walk on their hind legs, roll over, and learn their own name. Some of the bad stuff can be taught by flicking their nose right after they did something wrong or if you notice they have to go to the bathroom put them in their litter box. The others can be taught by giving rewarded treats, clicker training and just simply giving them another toy or holding and kissing them. Ferrets are not very smart animals but with the right work could learn a lot of things.
Ferrets are very sweet lovable animals and can be great pets; you just have to have the time, money, love, and attention to provide for them. If you feel you can do all this for a ferret than head on over to the closest pet store and check them out, it might be right for you.