Ferrets For Sale
Ferrets may have been domesticated for more than 2000 years, but today they are mostly kept as pets. While their ancestors, the polecats, are solitary animals, ferrets are extremely social and playful, interacting with other ferrets and their owners. These traits make domesticated ferrets relatively popular pets, and most major pet stores have ferret products in stock.
Are they considered an exotic pet?
The definition of an exotic pet varies from person to person, but generally applies to animals that are not dogs and cats. Often the word exotic pet also applies to animals that are uncommonly owned, in which ferrets may not be considered to be ‘exotic’. Ferrets may also erroneously be seen as wild animals by some people due to their close resemblance to polecats and other mustelid species. As ferrets are certainly domesticated by most definitions and common enough to be sold in chain pet stores, they should never be considered wild and are only an exotic pet by the most inclusive definitions.
Where is it illegal to own a ferret?
Confusion over the nature of the ferret’s domestication history has in some cases led to them being treated as ‘wild’ animals. Ferrets are famously illegal in the state of California for environmental concerns and also New York City for their supposed threat to public health. Both explanations are not supported by sound evidence and seem to spring forth from the mentality that ‘other’ pets aside from the most popular animals should be treated with impossible scrutiny. Strangely, ferrets are very popular and have caused no problems in the other 48 states where they are legal, yet ferret advocates have had great difficulty attempting to reverse the bans. Ferrets are also illegal in Hawaii, as are most pets, due to the island’s fragile ecosystem and supportive climate, as well as the fact that ferrets are rabies vectors. Ferrets are also illegal in Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. A permit is needed to keep a ferret in Rhode Island.
“Blog Paws 2011 Ferrets” by Andrea Arden is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Ferret ownership: pros and cons
As far as exotic pets go, ferrets are relatively simple to care for because they adapt well to living in a cage (provided it is large or they are allowed out for daily exercise and playtime), eat readily available commercial food, and are easy and fun to handle. They are entertaining, have a natural affinity for human contact, and are cuddly; traits that are often absent in many exotic pets and all other members of the Mustelidae family. Unlike their close relatives the mink, they are highly unlikely to injure you to the point that you’d need to go to the emergency room. However, like all pets, ferrets are not for everyone. Here are some of their not so desirable traits:
- Odor. Anyone who goes to a store like Petco and visits the ferrets for sale will notice that they have a musky scent. Ferrets have scent glands just like skunks that they can release when they get scared, however these glands are often removed in the United States. Many owners claim that the smell is reduced with spaying and neutering as well. Still, ferrets will often make your room acquire a lingering odor that will be more noticeable to visitors after you go ‘nose blind’. Some owners report that the smell significantly decreases when the animals are fed a non-commercial homemade diet.
- Ferrets can be ‘mouthy’ and rambunctious. It might be cute at first, but some people may not appreciate the somewhat aggressive play habits of ferrets which might lead to the occasional nip. Ferrets can be corrected just like dogs and cats to play more nicely, but results may vary and be as effective as the trainer is skilled. Ferrets also like to steal and hide some items.
- Messiness. Ferrets will sometimes use a litter box but are often inconsistent. Their poop is messy and for a carnivore, there is a lot of it that tends to pile up in the corners of the cage.
- Health problems. Ferrets unfortunately are prone to a few serious health problems and have an overall lifespan of 7-10 years. Cancer affecting the adrenal glands, lymphatic system, and pancreas are common and will require an expensive exotic pet vet to treat.
The positives to owning ferrets are numerous. Ferrets that are well-socialized are tame and can even tolerate having harnesses and costumes put on them. A mature, well-mannered child (the general recommendation is 6+ years old) can enjoy playing with ferrets and many will play with others pets like dogs and cats. Ferrets perform a motion called the ‘weasel war dance’ that in the wild is used to disorient prey, but in domesticated ferrets, it is an invitation to play. Ferrets are very entertaining and sleep most of the day, allowing you to easily take them out for short play sessions before they tire and are ready to go back to sleep.
The ferret enclosure
Ferrets should have a relatively spacious cage and it is generally recommended that they are not housed alone, so the enclosure should be able to comfortably house two animals. A popular cage for ferrets is the Ferret Nation, which provides a decent amount of room and can even have additions placed on to it to expand the living space. Ferrets do well in a multi-level enclosure. Proper cage accessories include a hammock for them to sleep on, a litter pan, and various enrichment devices such as tubes and tunnels.
ferret on leash in yoyogi park” by su.bo is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Since ferrets like to burrow, good enrichment for them are toys that they can crawl into. Many options are commercially available; there are ball pits, fabric pouches in the shapes of different animals, and tubes. Ferrets can play with cat toys that are not small enough for them to swallow. The popular brand kong makes small-sized kongs for ferrets that can be used in the same way that they are for dogs. The best enrichment for ferrets however is their daily playtime with their owner outside of the cage.
While there are many acceptable ferret diets available commercially, there is some debate on what the proper foods are to feed. Many people advocate a raw diet for ferrets under the principal that natural is better, but there isn’t really evidence outside of anecdotes that this is beneficial, and it can pose a bacterial risk to the owner. Some people even feed live animals to ferrets, but this is definitely unnecessary and results in pain and suffering for the prey. Some may claim that the animals need to hunt in order to be mentally healthy but this is also false. Ferrets get all the enrichment they need from playing with other ferrets and their caretakers.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores and their food should have very little carbohydrate content. Choose a ferret or cat food with at least a 36% protein content and a fat content around 20%. There is, of course, much debate over the brand you should choose, and you will find that people prefer more expensive brands over those typically available in popular chain pet stores. Feeding a raw diet that consists of whole prey like frozen-thawed mice and chicks runs the risk of not being balanced; therefore it is a good idea to include a balanced, high quality ferret kibble as a supplement. Ferrets need to eat often and should always have food available due to their high metabolic rate. Raw food should not be left out, however, and whole prey-fed ferrets don’t require constant access to food.
Luckily for ferrets, there is an approved rabies vaccine available for them. All ferrets should receive this killed virus inoculation. They should also receive an approved vaccine to prevent canine distemper, which they are very susceptible to. Ferrets are very prone to adrenal gland disorders. Some of the symptoms of this condition include hair loss and muscle atrophy. Symptoms of pancreatic disease in ferrets include lethargy, nausea, seizures, and they will get tumors on the pancreas called insulinomas that will result in abnormal blood sugar and over secretion of insulin. A ferret with this condition can suddenly collapse and that can last for minutes to hours. As ferrets can be very inquisitive, they should be supervised when they play outside the cage to ensure that they don’t ingest inedible objects, which is a relatively common problem with them. Ferrets are prone to heatstroke, and temperatures above 75 degrees F can be dangerous for them.
Ferrets for sale” by Steven-L-Johnson is licensed under CC BY 2.0
How to tame and train your ferret
Young ferrets and untrained adult ferrets have a propensity to nip as this is natural for them when they interact with their playmates and their environment. You will have to gently guide your ferret to stop inappropriate behaviors or they can worsen over time. When the ferret performs an unwanted behavior, first immediately pause the play session. An added action you can take is to hold the ferret by its scruff. This method initiates a natural response in the ferret to stop the behavior because this is how a mother ferret would correct its babies in the wild. However, if this doesn’t work and the ferret latches on to your finger or a bad object (such as an electrical wire) you can gently push your finger into the ferret’s mouth which will cause it to let go immediately. The finger method should not be used frequently. Firmly say no when performing any corrective actions.
Do not bathe your ferret more than a few times per year to avoid stripping away their coat’s natural oils. There great ferret shampoos available commercially. Ferrets do shed and there are brushes sold for them to aid in removing the loose hairs. Just like dogs, you will also need to trim their nails about every 2 weeks, or when the nails get too long. It is very important to address the ferret’s dental health. Serious health problems can develop over time from plaque present beneath the gum line. When it comes to brushing the teeth, as often as possible (up to once a day) is best, but for most owners brushing about once weekly is more feasible, as ferrets are not likely to tolerate frequent dental care.
Do ferrets make a good pet?
Where to buy ferrets
Purchasing ferrets from pet stores is generally frowned upon because these animals almost always come from Marshall Farms, which is known in ferret owner circles as a ‘ferret mill’. These animals are bred in high numbers and are said to be of inferior quality. The pros to buying from a pet store are that the animals are relatively inexpensive and are already de-scented and neutered or spayed.
It is often recommended to buy ferrets from responsible breeders because there tends to be lower incidence of the common adrenal diseases that they seem to be prone to. Unfortunately, they are harder to find and will likely require you to have your animal shipped to you by plane if you can’t drive to pick them up. It will also become your responsibility to get the ferret fixed.
Another great option is to adopt your ferret. Ferrets are a relatively popular pet and they are sporadically given up to animal shelters. A good way to find them is with sites such as Petfinder.com, or you can contact a ferret rescue, although be advised that private rescues often have high standards on who they adopt out to.
Ferrets, a member of the weasel family, have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years. They are active, curious, playful little creatures that average about twenty inches in length. Male ferrets are noticeably larger in size than the females. The name “ferret” comes from a Latin word that translates to “little thief”, probably because ferrets have a habit of taking small items and trinkets and squirrelling them away.
How much does it cost to buy a ferret?
The ideal ferret cage is one designed with multiple levels and a spot to hang a hammock. Ferrets love hammocks. There should also be a small box or wooden hut inside the cage that provides a darkened place for ferrets to make a sleeping nest. Soft towels or old t-shirts make good bedding material but they will need to be washed frequently. The ferret’s cage should also have litter box with paper-based cat litter or shredded newspapers.
As carnivores, ferrets require a meat-based diet and they need large amounts of animal fat to fuel their high metabolisms. Several pet food manufacturers make high-quality food specifically designed for ferrets but pet owners should read the ingredients listed on the label and avoid ferret foods that rely on fish as a protein base or contain too much grains and vegetables. Ferrets do not like fish and will starve themselves instead of eating fish-based food. And the high levels of grains and vegetables could predispose the ferret to cancer. Ferret owners should get in the habit of buying smaller quantities of ferret food. Ferrets are notoriously picky eaters and will refuse to eat food that has gone a bit stale.
Ferrets love to play and should be allowed out of their cages often to interact with their owners. They will bounce around on the floor and entice their owners to join in. They like to climb and explore, but watch them to make sure they don’t pilfer small objects like your wedding ring or car keys. Ferrets will also play fight and can sometimes play too rough. But they can learn to control themselves. When they are not running and bouncing, they like to snuggle up for a nap is random, cozy places, like hoodie pouches or slippers or inside warm dryers. Owners should get in the habit of looking for their ferrets before they do everyday things.
Female ferrets come into heat twice a year, usually in March and again in August. The males will go into rut several weeks before this time. It is obvious when a male goes into rut because the odor will become much stronger and he will develop unsanitary habits, like drinking his own urine and soaking his fur in his urine. After conception, the male and female ferret should be separated. In about 42 days, the ferret mother will deliver her babies, called kits. Ferret owners should not attempt to handle the newborns. Often this action will upset the mother and she will then eat her young. Instead, owners should be hands off for at least the first week or the kits’ lives. The kits will start eating ferret food at around three weeks of age and they will be ready to explore at about seven weeks.
West Michigan Ferret Connection
First and foremost, let it be clear. Efforts to select a potential owner committed to providing a permanent home is the highest priority and taken very seriously. The West Michigan Ferret Connection retains the right to refuse adoption to anyone for any reason.
The WMFC does not adopt to those under 21 years of age.
The WMFC does not adopt to people with children under the age of 10 years.
The WMFC does not adopt to renters.
FOOD NOTE: The WMFC firmly believes "BETTER NUTRITION, BETTER HEALTH." For that reason, the ferrets here are being fed a combination of Totally Ferret ferret food and Wysong Ferret Epigen 90 Digestive Support. The WMFC does not endorse Marshall (original) ferret food, Wild Harvest (Walmart), Mazuri, Meijer brand ferret food or Kaytee.
The shelter ferrets at the WMFC do not receive treats because treats have no nutritional value (just like human treats) The only “treats,” if you want to call it that, they receive is Furotone. It’s a fatty acid supplement that is good for them and it’s also used when trimming nails. Litter used is regular wood stove pellets. Cage mates are NEVER split up. We highly recommend Ferret Nation cages for housing.
FYI, the adoption fee is $125 per ferret which includes rabies/distemper vaccination certification. There is also a $25 charge for a 4-lb bag of Totally Ferret Active that is not negotiable since this is the food they are eating. You are advised to mix it.
Marshall Babies are not only adorable and super cute, they are bred to be very gentle and docile compared to the other breeder’s ferrets. Every ferret has been hand raised and is eager to be held.
Marshall babies come in a rainbow of colors – from traditional sable, siamese, silver mitt and albino to sterling, panda, champagne, chocolate, blaze, black-eyed white, marked whites and more. View the Marshall Ferret Pattern and Color Chart below.
Available all year long!
Marshall Ferrets are available every week, all year long. They are shipped at 8-9 weeks of age to authorized pet dealers throughout the United States and abroad. Before they leave our farm, they are given a final health check and plenty of food and water for the trip.
To avoid pet overpopulation and prevent health problems, every Marshall Ferret is neutered (spayed/castrated) and descented before being shipped. Two tattoo dots on the right ear identify that these procedures have been performed. By neutering our ferrets, problems that occur during normal mating season are avoided.
Vaccinations – What you should know
Every Marshall Ferret receives a canine distemper vaccination prior to shipment. We highly recommend additional vaccinations at 11 and 14 weeks of age and then annually. Rabies vaccinations are recommended after 12 weeks of age and then annually. It is extremely important to keep your ferret’s vaccinations current, otherwise your ferret is susceptible to contracting serious illnesses, such as distemper or rabies. Click here for Marshall’s Health and Vaccination Record.
Distemper is an airborne virus that, without vaccination, is almost always 100% fatal. Distemper can be contracted from a variety of surfaces and sources; i.e. grass, weeds, trees, shrubs, or animals that you come into contact with. The incubation period can be up to 10 days long, so it is important to isolate any new pets from the household until such time has passed. Some people believe that if they always keep their pets indoors they will never be exposed to distemper. This simply isn’t true, because any time you venture out of your house and back in, you carry all sorts of germs on your shoes and may indeed be exposing your pets to deadly viruses. It is best to vaccinate.
We Guarantee Them!
Every Marshall Ferret shipment is accompanied by a USDA Veterinarian Health Certificate and a baby ferret guarantee card. The Marshall guarantee certifies that the ferret is neutered, descented and covers congenital health problems for one year. To validate the ferret guarantee, you must register your ferret online at marshallferrets.com. After registering your ferret, you will be able to print out your Official Marshall Ferret Birth certificate for your new pet.
Remember, when considering a new pet ferret, Marshall Ferrets are the most gentle and cute and available in a wide assortment of colors. View the Marshall Ferret Pattern and Color Chart.
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