Do Ferrets Need Friends? (Are Human Friends Enough?)

Ferrets can make wonderful pets for the right owner. They are loving, fussy and of course mischievous little animals that can prove to be very entertaining and can bring a lot of fun to your family. But maybe you’re wondering if the ferret would be better off if you gave it another friend, rather than just asking you to play.

While ferrets will be fine with just human companionship, this means you’ll be asked to spend a lot of time with them. If not, it is at least recommended that you have a pair of ferrets.

If you’d like to learn more, we’ll cover the pros and cons of bringing a friend for your ferret home and what kind of animal would make best friends.

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A Little About Ferret

weasel grass

Ferrets have been kept as pets and domesticated for at least 2,000 years! This is somewhat surprising when you consider their scientific names, Mustela putorius furo, which roughly translates to “smelly weasel thief.” It’s surprising, perhaps, but it’s the ferret’s personality that makes all the difference and shines.

The average lifespan of a pet ferret is 5 to 10 years, depending on where you find it. Breeder-derived ferrets tend to outlive pet store-bought ones, so that’s something to think about when you’re looking for a new ferret.

If you’re considering bringing a new ferret into your home, you’ll also need to double-check the laws in your location. This is partly because ferrets are considered a pest in some areas. They are also categorized as exotic pets because they do not come from many countries that generally have them as pets.

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The Districts of Columbia, Hawaii and California, as well as New York City, all prohibit ferrets as pets, as do parts of Australia (Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia) and New Zealand.

Advantages of Other Ferret Friends

Ferrets are very social creatures. Did you know that when you have a group of ferrets, they are called a ferret business? They love lots of attention and someone to play with, and what better than another ferret companion? They have playmates ready to play anytime – even in the middle of the night! And don’t forget the snuggle factor. Having another ferret around gives them someone to cuddle with while they sleep, and it doesn’t get much cuter than that!

It is better if you keep the ferrets as a pair or small group, and as long as they are all neutered and spayed, both the female and the male can live together.

And all in all, caring for an extra two or three ferrets isn’t much more challenging than caring for just one.

Many ferret owners find that having lots of ferrets gives them constant companionship, so you don’t have to worry about a lonely ferret when you have to work outside every day.

Lack of Other Ferret Friends

The most significant disadvantage of providing a companion for your ferret is that they usually develop a strong bond, but when one dies, the ferret left behind can become very distressed.

When this happens, it is advisable to let your ferret spend time with the dead ferret so it can go through the grieving process. You should also spend as much time as possible with your remaining ferret as it may stop eating and become lethargic.

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Another downside is that ferrets will form stronger bonds with other ferrets, and you may find that they want to spend less time playing with you.

And all ferrets have their own personalities. Not every ferret will appreciate another ferret appearing in their life. And if you already have a small group, they may turn down a new ferret.

And, of course, there will be increased veterinary bills as well as the need to clean the litter more often.

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What About Other Pets?

We’ve established that ferrets generally do quite well with other ferrets. But what if you have other pets, or you’re thinking about bringing a different species into your home?

Ferrets usually get along well with cats and dogs, but they should always be under constant supervision. The main concern is with the cat or dog and how they will see the ferret. Many dog ​​breeds, especially terriers, were bred for small prey and will therefore consider your ferret as game.

On the other hand, your ferret should not interact with rodents or rabbits because the ferret’s instincts may be triggered because they are the ferret’s natural prey. If you already have a ferret and a hamster, for example, be sure to keep them separate at all times.

Some Final Thoughts

Long and short it is highly recommended for your ferret to have at least one other ferret companion. The choice is yours, of course, and should be based on your own lifestyle and commitment to your pet.

If you spend most of your time at home and often play with ferrets, your ferret is probably fine. They can even entertain themselves, as long as you give them lots of toys and take them out of their cage often. Some owners never cage their ferrets, so they have constant access to the house.

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But in the end, you will have to judge for yourself how lonely your ferret is. Or do you already have a strong enough bond with him and spend enough time with him that he really just needs you.multiple-divider

Conclusion

Weasels are social, but there are plenty of solitary ferrets out there who are very happy and well-adjusted. But there’s nothing wrong with bringing another ferret into your home because the majority of ferrets will really like company. And you’ll be so happy to see them playing, wrestling, and sleeping together.

You know how much time commitment you have for your ferret, so the final choice is yours. While losing a ferret companion can be devastating for another ferret, there are ways to help it cope, so don’t let that possibility be the reason you don’t get another ferret. Putting them together will make your ferret happier, which of course will make you happier.


Featured Image Credit: GuilleNeT, Pixabay

Do Ferrets Need Friends? (Are Human Friends Enough?)
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