Care of Ferrets

Ferrets were first tamed by the Ancient Egyptians for food and clothing. Today, they are playful weasel-like companions that depend on us for love! This category contains questions about ferret health, history, and needs.

2,722 Questions
Ferrets Weasels and Badgers
Care of Ferrets

How much does a ferret cost?

Cost of a ferret can vary from place to place, depending on where you live. For stores and breeders usually in the $75-$250 range, typically around $100. Plan on $150-$400 for a cage and supplies, plus around $75 for the first vaccinations.

When purchasing a pet ferret, it's not the cost of obtaining one, there is more to it than the animal itself. The financial responsibility can be costly to ensure the health of a ferret. Ferrets need to be provided with a good quality ferret food, necessary vaccinations, and annual veterinarian visits for well care. You need to commit to being a responsible ferret owner by providing a loving, safe environment and provide necessary proper care. Are you aware of what is necessary to keep a ferret happy and healthy? Do you have a sufficient large cage suitable for ferrets? What about vaccinations? When you buy a ferret, they have had only one distemper vaccination and will need 3 more distemper vaccinations that are required at 9, 12, and 16 weeks of age. Rabies Vaccinations are required between 13 - 16 weeks from an exotic animal veterinarian. Do you have the money for four separate veterinarian visits?

Recommended supplies

Large, multi-tiered cage - habitat should also include a hammock, tube, litter box, and toys, high quality ferret food, water bottle, book about ferrets, bedding, soft brush, collar harness and leash, litter box/litter, ferret shampoo, nail clippers/kwik stop, ear-cleaning solution, hairball preventative.

The initial cost of supplies can total upwards of $500. You will need to plan to buy supplies on a monthly basis throughout the rest of the ferret's life. You can expect to spend up to $200 on food a year, $200 on litter, $70 to $80 on treats and toys, and more money on other supplies. Veterinary costs vary widely, but you can expect to spend anywhere from around $100 for necessary vaccinations, if there are no health issues. Even when your ferret is healthy, veterinary care can cost you $250 to $500 a year. Ferrets are prone to illness and disease if not properly taken care of and also most ferrets are from Marshall Farms (pet stores) are also prone to illness from improper breeding (inbreeding and genetics) and early neutering, therefore it is suggested to set aside an "emergency fund" of about $800 for veterinarian care. Ferrets can come down with an illness or disease, even within the first year. Anytime a ferret has an illness or disease it is not usually recognized in early stages, because they tend to hide their pain and illness. Usually by the time any illness is noticed, they can easily die within a few days if they don't receive immediate or emergency medical care. If you ferret starts acting different from their usual behavoir, suspect illness. Contact a veterinarian as illness in ferrets can progress rapidly with a possibility of death in a matter of days. Ferrets are not like cats and dogs that you can "wait and see illness" if they will be okay.

Many ferrets have died or have been relinquished to shelters, because the owner was unable to provide necessary medical care.

Please consider adopting a ferret before buying, there are way too many in shelters that need to have a forever home. Costs to adopt a ferret - It depends on the area you live in. You can go to petfinder.com and locate shelters for ferrets in your area. In my area, the local ferret shelter wants $100 for ferrets age one year and under. Older ferrets are $65.00 and $45.00. All ferrets that are adopted out are microchipped, Up to date shots, and declared healthy by a veterinarian unless otherwise stated

First, you must be sure that ferrets are legal where you live. Please note that ferrets are still illegal to own in California. They can be confiscated as wild animals. For more information you may want to contact a group in California called "Ferrets Anonymous".

Advice from other contributors:

  • Re-homing may be free. They are not always free as people may charge a fee to make sure that they go to a good home. From a private breeder: Maybe $125 to $400 depending on the color or if the ferret is from championship bloodlines. Add on additional prices for extra procedures (neuter/spay; first vet wellness visit; shots and boosters). About $100 to $500 pending on the veterinarian's prices.
  • The price of ferrets vary depending from where you obtain one either from an individual, adopt from a shelter, or buy from a pet store. You can check Craigslists.org under pets in your city, Petfinder.com for adoptable pets, or phone directory under Pet Stores.
  • At pet stores, ferrets can cost $125 and more. I would recommend looking up ferret shelters where the adoption fees might (would) be lower. In addition to obtaining the ferret, you need to consider: a LARGE cage, water bottle, food dishes, toys, sleeping hammock, litter/litter box, and food. Also, they love to play with other ferrets.
  • Having ferrets myself, I know that the cost of a ferret can differ depending on which country you are in. I live in England and each of my ferrets cost £5 each. In America, ferrets can range from $75-$250 but are generally about $100.
  • I got my one of my ferrets at Petco. At Petco they cost about $129.95
  • I bought my ferret for $139.00 locally. It included his first shots. He was descented (supposedly) and fixed. He also had a identifying tattoo on his ear. All others are correct. Remember the other costs involved and remember that ferrets are EXTREMELY smart and curious animals. Its like having a 2 year old 24/7. I know that is more information than needed, but when you love ferrets you just can't stop talking about them. Good luck!
  • Ferrets in a pet store should already be descented . Most pets stores will not provide any shots and the animal it's self will cost you at least $150. It's cage plus food, litter and all the needed items will cost around $400 depending on the cage you get. Vaccinations about $150. If you go to your local shelter the adoption fee will be less and they usually come with vaccinations, health care and sometimes a microchip (some even have used cages for sale too)
  • Depends on where you live... Where I live, they are about 150-200 dollars..
  • The price of a ferret varies depending on where you are, how old they are, and whether they are vaccinated/neutered. In the UK young kits can cost anywhere between £5 and £50, though usually no more than £20. I have found that ferrets in the UK are usually cheaper than elsewhere, such as in America or Australia, where you may have to pay over $100 to adopt, or perhaps more for a young kit straight from a breeder. If money is an issue, look into ferret adoptions in your area and see what they charge (most SPCA's have ferrets if they are legal).
  • in the UK the average price for a ferret is around £10! not exactly breaking the bank! but this can fluctuate due to the demand etc

It varies quite a lot depending on what country you live in and whether you buy from a pet store or a private breeder. A ferret from a pet store will usually cost between $100 - $150 (US Dollars), where as they can cost up to $250. Whilst buying from a breeder is more expensive it does have some advantages such as being able to see the parents of the ferret you are getting and seeing what conditions the kit was kept in.

The cheapest way to get a pet ferret is to rescue one from a local animal rescue center. Some look for a donation as small as $50 - $60. To find out, contact you local center and see if they have any. Check their adoption policies and costs. The ferrets are usually a bit older but older ferrets make great first time ferrets as they are slightly calmer than kits. Make sure to ask where the ferret was found, was it abused and has it any issues. A traumatized ferret can be helped and turned into an amazing pet providing the owner is patient and knows what to do. A traumatized ferret is not a good first time ferret as they may be harder to handle and may bite depending on the level of their trauma.
Ferrets cost about $150 in pet stores in the U.S., you can adopt a ferret from a shelter or a previous owner for $75 or even for free.

But ferrets are expensive to keep. Good food, health check-ups, toys and etc. will cost at least $1500 a year.

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Care of Ferrets

What colors in a ferrets vision can they see?

Are ferrets color blind? A ferret can see tones of gray, and red. They have poor vision, but can see better an night, if you notice their eyes are all black.

Ferrets have very poor eyesight and cannot see far-away objects, they mainly rely on their keen sense of smell. They can only see about two feet in front of them. Their peripheral vision (side to side) is better than their frontal vision, which often causes them to run into objects. Ferrets also have very poor depth perception and many have been injured climbing onto high places and falling. If you notice that a ferrets eyes are all black, they have better vision in the dark from their ancestors that lived in burrows in the ground. Ferrets are very poor at judging distance.

Can Albino ferrets see? Yes, of course they can. Just not quite as well as other ferrets.

True or False The only color ferrets can distinguish is red? False - Ferrets have poor vision. they see in shades of gray tone They see the color red more readily than other colors.
no

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Care of Ferrets

What would cause a ferret to have green diarrhea?

If a ferret manages to pass a foreign body (non-food) through their intestines, they often pass green mucus with it. Green mucus is not characteristic of an particular disease, it just shows that something has irritated the gut lining,

Ferrets can get diarrhea for several similar illnesses, the green color means that the food spent a very short time in the ferret's digestive tract (Also, look at any food the ferret has eaten for food dyes). If the ferret still has diarrhea after 36 hours, a veterinarian visit is necessary

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Conditions and Diseases
Diabetes
Care of Ferrets

How do you treat a diabetic ferret?

Treatment of diabetes in ferrets - First is what caused the ferret to have diabetes? Once the diagnosis of diabetes is reached, treatment ferrets is a complicated. Diabetes mellitus is uncommon in ferrets, though not unheard of, and it can be a transient condition after insulinoma surgery. The causes of diabetes that are likely affect ferrets - the first is due to pancreatic destruction. Two common causes for pancreatic damage that may affect the secretion of insulin are insulinoma surgery and pancreatitis. Diabetes that develops secondary to insulinoma surgery is probably the most common form of diabetes and tends to be transient.

refer to link below for more information

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Head Lice
Care of Ferrets

Can humans get head lice from ferrets?

Head lice cannot live on animal blood, only human blood, and will die within 24 hours of leaving the human head, so it is unlikely. However, if even one does end up on your animal by happenstance, and you interact with your pet within a 24 hour period, it is possible to get the head lice back into your hair where it can lay eggs. For the sake of caution then, it may be wise not to allow your pets on your beddings or furniture such as your sofa until at least24 hours after your last hair treatment, and to change clothes after interacting with your pet.

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Care of Ferrets

Are ferrets legal in China as a pet?

Ferrets are illegal in Singapore, China. Check with your countries veterinarians for more assistance

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Care of Ferrets

Can ferrets eat guinea pig food?

Do not feed ferrets any guinea pig food or any other pet food. Feed ferrets food made especially for ferrets. They are strict carnivores (meat eater) and cannot properly digest any vegetables, fruits or grains.

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Care of Ferrets

Are ferrets legal in Nebraska?

Check with your city government ordinances on companion animals. Ferrets are illegal in California, Hawaii and New York City, NY.

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Care of Ferrets

Why is your ferret making weird noises?

"Weird noises" is a pretty non-specific term, but we'll give this our best effort.

The vocalization most commonly associated with ferrets has been humanized as "dook". The truth is, this is a poor approximation of the sound, but it isn't an easy sound for humans to imitate. Still, you'll know it when you hear it.

"Dook" is generally an indicator of excitement, frequently associated with play or perhaps minor squabbles. Taking away something a ferret wants, but shouldn't have, is likely to result in your being chastised with a series of "dook, dook, dook" sounds.

Another common vocalization is a somewhat breathy, scratchy, hissing sound. This is a warning sound, issued in fear, anger, or during play when things are getting a little rough.

From time to time you will hear a variety of others squeaks and grunts, and you really have to judge the meaning of these by the context they occur in. Louder squeals are often a sign of discomfort or pain, frequently the result of an overzealous bite from a playmate. A small grunting sound (kind of a truncated "dook") can be a sign of satisfaction, or simply a vocalization of play.

Last, but definitely not least, is their distress vocalization. It is a surprisingly loud screech for such a quiet little creature, designed not only to summon help from others, but to cause an attacker to back off. A ferret making this sound is a ferret in trouble and possibly in pain. If you hear this sound, run to help. It may not always be as bad a situation as your ferret perceives it to be, but sometimes the circumstances are dire and help is desperately needed.

I personally don't mind running to them for the occasional over-reaction, I just wish

the call could be a little bit louder for the times they really need help. I have almost missed their calls on a couple of occasions when they really needed assistance and I was in another part of the house.

One of the joys of caring for animals is learning how they see the world and interact with it. Learning about their vocalizations and the rules they live by will help you to provide them with a human companion who they can interact with on their terms, and that is very satisfying for all concerned.

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Care of Ferrets

Are ferrets legal in New Hampshire?

Yes, ferrets are legal in every state in the US, except in Hawaii, California and New York City, NY

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Care of Ferrets

What kind of cat food can be fed to a ferret?

Is cat food right for ferrets? Do you feed dog food to your cat? Of course not!

Most cat foods are unsuitable for ferrets, because of their low protein content and high fiber. Most cat foods contain corn, which can lead to blockage in ferrets.

Do not feed your ferret any kind of cat or dog food, they will suffer from improper nutrition and will become ill and could possibly cause death.

If you are unable to obtain ferret food, you can temporarily give them a high quality kitten food, like Iams or Science diet, just ask your veterinarian first before you give it to them. Evo brand cat or kitten food is the same ingredients as Evo for ferrets.

If you have to give cat food, go for high quality kitten kibble. The cat food should contain a minimum of 32% meat based protein and 18% fat and a maximum 3% fiber. The higher the protein and fat percentage is better, with low carbohydrate and fiber content. Learn to read and interpret the pet food labels.

From another contributor:

You can feed your ferret cat food as an occasional treat - kitten food is best, and they really like it. However, cat food should not form the main part of a ferret's diet as ferrets need a diet made up of >38% fat and protein. Cats need less, so most cat food is around 36% fat and protein - a ferret fed entirely on cat food will develop health problems due to nutritional deficiencies in its diet.

The best thing to feed your ferret is proper ferret kibble, which is formulated to meet their needs and contains the fur and feathers that would be found in a wild ferret's (polecat's) diet, with small amounts of other food such as meat, egg and the very occasional treat such as a single sultana. Do not feed your ferret any other vegetable matter - they are obligate carnivores, meaning they have evolved to survive on meat alone, and vegetable matter can cause fatal intestinal blockage. Milk and dairy products should also be avoided - almost all adult ferrets, like adult cats, are lactose intolerant.

Dry cat food, only in a pinch , for a day or two

refer to the link below "What is the best food for a ferret"

.
No, most dog and cat canned food is mostly vegetable proteins. You know those chunks that look like meat ...well its the vegetable protein, they use that because it stays the same color/shape and texture, giving the owner a false impression.

Ferrets need high quality ferret food like Dr's. Foster & Smith Original Ferret food.

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Both cats and ferrets are obligate carnivores so some cat food are ferret suitable. Any food given to ferrets needs to have at least 35% protein, 20% fat, and have less than 3% fiber. At least 4 of the first 6 ingredients should be meat.

Good cat foods are: EVO, Wellness Core, Orijen, Go! Fit and Free, Natures Variety Instinct, and Blue Wilderness. Most of these (if not all) are grain free and very high in meat protein.

Dog food should not be fed because it does not contain taurine, a necessary nutrient for ferrets and cats.

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Care of Ferrets

What can you give a baby ferret to drink if its mother cannot give it milk?

If possible try to find someone with a nursing ferret that can be a foster-mother. Alternatively you need to emulate the ferret mothers milk that consists of 23.5% solids, which 25.5% protein, 34% fat and 16.2% carbohydrates - you might be able to use cat or dog milk substitute. According to the book "Complete guide to ferrets" by James McKay - he wrote that he raised ferrets from two weeks old on a mixture of evaporated milk and water (1:2), mixed with the yolk of an egg.

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Chipmunks and Squirrels
Ferrets Weasels and Badgers
Care of Ferrets

Do ferrets survive harsh winter?

Domestic ferrets cannot survive outside in the extreme cold. Wild ferrets adapt to their climates.

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Guinea Pigs
Care of Ferrets

Will a ferret kill a guinea pig?

You better not put ferrets and guinea pigs together, since ferrets are natural predators and have a hunting and killing instinct when it comes to rodents. It's very likely for a ferret to kill a guinea pig since it reminds him of mice and other rodents wild ferrets hunt. Ferrets are able to kill chickens, so better not try to wait and see what happens if you put your ferret with a guinea pig.

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Ferrets Weasels and Badgers
Care of Ferrets

Do ferrets like to ride in cars?

Some ferrets love it and some hate it. Unfortunately some ferrets will get an upset stomach if they go on a long journey so make sure you take small breaks and allow the ferret to rest. A ferret should be restrained in a pet carrier for car travel.

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Ferrets Weasels and Badgers
Care of Ferrets

What happens if you feed a ferret pork?

As long as the pork is cooked, it would be okay for ferrets, avoid highly processed meats like sausage

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Care of Ferrets

What kind of food does a ferret eat?

A ferret needs a food made specifically made for ferrets that are designed to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Feed the best food you can afford and your ferret will be healthier and happier. A good nutritional ferret food will help to prevent disease and illness, and it's much cheaper than to treat it with drugs and surgery later. For variety and training, offer an occasional treat, duck soup, or chew treats made for ferrets.

Use the following guidelines to select a dry or kibbled food for ferrets:The first three listed ingredients should be a high-quality meat protein - chicken, poultry, beef, or lamb (preferably whole - not meal) meat. Protein must be 35 - 40%, Fat must be 18 - 30%, Fiber - 2% (good fiber ingredient - beet pulp) (anything above 3% can cause digestive upsets), Needs to contain 21 amino acids including taurine, an essential amino acid for vision and proper functioning of the heart.Must have a low ash level (7.0% or less), Good carbohydrates ingredients - rice flour or brewers yeast.

Ferrets are true carnivores (strict meat-eaters - whole prey) belonging to the weasel family, or mustelidae and is related to ermines or stoats, minks and weasels. Ferrets lack a cecum and appendix, the section of intestine that helps omnivores process vegetables and they cannot adequately handle diets high in fiber or carbohydrates and requires a diet high in protein and fat, consisting mainly of meat and animal products. They cannot digest vegetable, fruits, or grains. They digest food in about 3 to 4 hours, and must have food and water available at all times. Most high quality ferret foods contain all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary, and does not need any extra supplements.

A baby kit (6 - 11 weeks old) might not be accustomed to eating solid food and may need to have moistened food. One part dry food with three parts warm water, let sit about 3 minutes, until consistency of oatmeal (adjust ratio if needed). What a ferret is fed in the first six months of life, it will only recognize that as food. It is important to feed a variety of food from the beginning. A lot of owners buy a variety of ferret foods and offer as a mix. This will prevent any problems, should a brand become unavailable.

Feeding a ferret an improper or poor diet of highly processed food with excessive vegetable protein can cause many illnesses and premature death. A ferret can suffer from such diseases as bladder stones, poor coat and skin , eosinophilic gastroenteritis (wasting, diarrhea, ulcerations of the skin and ear tips, swollen feet) and poor growth. Foods high in carbohydrates (sugar - ferret treats) causes insulinoma in ferrets. Do not feed a ferret vegetables, grains or fruits, they are unable to digest and could cause stomach blockage that without surgery will cause a painful death. Do not feed ferrets any dog or cat food, they are not nutritionally appropriate and will cause heath problems. A high quality kitten food is acceptable if you are unable to obtain ferret food.

Avoid dyes (look at the color of the food), fillers such as corn, corn meal, corn grits, wheat middling, bran, germ, flour, and other grains or fish as the primary protein. Avoid anything with soy flour or soybean meal. Avoid fruits and vegetables ingredients. Foods with corn products can cause intestinal blockage in ferrets.

Avoid artificial preservatives such as Ethoxyquin (used as a preservative in pet foods to prevent the rancidification of fats), BHT (synthetic analogue of vitamin E), and BHA (an additive that accumulates in the body fat and known to cause cancer in animals) as these ingredients are considered to be harmful to a pet's health and may increase the likelihood of cancer.

There is a direct relationship between foods and disease. Be aware that most ferrets love sweets and are prone to being "junk food" eaters. Do not feed candy, cakes, sugar-coated cereals, soda, junk food, ferrets cannot digest sugar. Sugars puts tremendous strain on the pancreas and results in diabetes, which is difficult to treat and leads to death. No dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream), dog food or canned cat food. All of these can cause severe, life-threatening diarrhea.

Do not feed your ferret any kind of cat or dog food, they will suffer from improper nutrition and will become ill and could possibly cause death.

.Never feed your ferret these items:

Toxic or dangerous food for pets

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Raisins.
  • Yeast dough
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Marijuana
  • Moldy or spoiled food
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Large amounts of raw fish
  • Potato, rhubarb or tomato leaves
  • Large amounts of raw liver
  • Large numbers of macadamia nuts
  • Fruit pits
  • Corn cob
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Care of Ferrets

Where can you buy a ferret in tweed heads?

I have no idea where in the world Tweed Heads is.

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Care of Ferrets

Are any ferrets native to the US?

Black Footed Ferrets are native to the United States.

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Ferrets Weasels and Badgers
Care of Ferrets

How do you know if your ferret has a fever and what are the symptoms?

Ferrets normal temperature is 103 F (range 101 - 103). A ferret's temperature is done rectally. Refer to link below for procedures.

advice from another contributor:

If your worried about your ferrets health, take it to a vet as these small animals can die very quickly.

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Care of Ferrets
Baby Names
Jamie Lynn Spears

Who is Jamie's baby's dad?

It her boyfriend Casey the one on the front cover of a magazine. casey aldredge (18 YRS) It her boyfriend Casey.

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Care of Ferrets

Do ferrets like straw?

If you want to give your ferrets straw to play in once in a while, that shouldn't be a problem. However, do not give them straw as bedding material. It can cause respiratory problems in the long run.

Instead give them some old towels or clothes to sleep in. It's cheap (free even), easy to keep clean and my ferrets love nothing more than to snuggle in them.

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Care of Ferrets

What is a substitute for ferret food?

Since ferrets are obligate carnivores, they require meat in their diets.

Small prey, such as mice and rabbits, most closely match their natural diet in the wild, and some owners feed this to their ferrets.

However, when this is not available, high-quality cat food most consisting of meat can be substituted.

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Ferrets Weasels and Badgers
Care of Ferrets

Are ferrets spineless?

Ferrets have a vertebrae, they are not spineless

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Care of Ferrets

How long does a domestic ferret live to?

Average life-span of a domestic ferret - How long does a ferret liveAccording to Marshall Farms, the largest breeder of ferrets in the U S, the domestic ferret average life span is 5 to 8 yearswhen properly cared for.

To maintain a ferrets life it's important to have a quiet and dark sleeping space with without noises or interruptions, they sleep an average of 15 hours (more or less). A good quality ferret food is very important, and not all ferrets foods are that good of quality. Marshall farm ferrets are more prone to illness and disease early in life, thought to be caused by genetics - inbreeding, and early neutering. But with proper care (meaning educate yourself and read everything you can about ferrets) they can live longer (My ferret Abby is a white albino female that weights about 1 lb and she's 9 years old)

From other contributors:

  • ferrets in the UK live till they are between 8 and 10 years.
  • a ferret aged 5 years would not be considered old in the UK
  • Generally, ferrets live for 7-9 years.
  • The average lifespan of a ferret is normally 8 to 10 years, although well cared for ferrets have been known to live for up to 12 years, and others die at the age of 4 to 6 for no apparent reason other than old age.
  • some ferrets have lived for as long as 15 years it all depends on there health most live till 10 years of age
  • They can live anywhere from 5-8 years. All depending on their health and care.
  • The average lifespan for a ferret is 6 to 8 years. Although my last ferret lived to be 11 years old. But not without the sad effects of blindness, hair loss and other ailments. Though he did live a happy and playful life to the very end.
  • They can live to be 6 to 10 to even 15 years old. That is if they're healthy and cared for very well.
  • They live 6 to 10 years. Sometimes, they live even longer.
  • Anywhere from 6-10 years can be considered normal. However, some ferrets can live up to 10 years if you take good care of them.
  • The oldest lived to be 15 or 16.
  • From 6 to 8 years.
  • Anywhere from 5 to 13 years, depending on where you got your ferret (pet store or breeder), how the ferret is cared for, and general luck. Feeding a good diet and ensuring they don't ingest objects they shouldn't are essential to the longevity of a pet ferret. Ferrets bought in a pet store, especially in America, are said to have shorter lifespans due to genetic issues. Do not feed a ferret anything but meat-based products, proper vitamins (Ferretone, only in small amounts), and water. They should never, ever have anything with a lot of sugar or dairy. Sugar is linked to pancreatic cancer (insulinoma, an all-too-common killer) and ferrets are lactose intolerant.
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