Energetic, curious and playful, ferrets have managed to adapt to coexistence and the rules of a home, perhaps because of this it is increasingly common to find them in Spanish homes as pets. Domesticated thousands of years ago, these animals require special care that must be known; In the following lines, we tell you the elementary care that you should know to have them at home.
Ferrets are considered exotic animals, for this reason, many people think they are aggressive and can cause damage or require eccentric care. The doubts that arise in this regard are related to certain factors that influence when caring for a ferret. The size of the cage, the type of food and the proper disposition of its waste, form the main questions asked by those who acquire a ferret for the first time.
Behavior of ferrets in their natural habitat
Just as the dog comes from the wolf, the ferrets descend from the polecat. They are carnivores, nocturnal and hunters by nature. To know the elementary care, first we must observe its primitive characteristics.
Ferrets are constantly hiding in holes and dark spaces. They have an excellent sense of smell, the opposite of their visual capacity. The sight is a sense that does not help them, that is why they are guided by the sense of smell.
This ability to sneak through different corners is what makes raising them in the home dangerous for them. Ferrets can get hurt by getting trapped between appliances or electrical cords. It is usually a mortal danger when they are trapped in folding chairs, so it is recommended to keep them away from this type of furniture.
Care in feeding ferrets
The water and food supply must be continuous, he will be in charge of regulating the amounts he ingests. It is very important that you stay hydrated.
In the diet, it is mandatory to include meat, chicken or animal protein. It is not recommended to give them raw food since the meat could contain bacteria and make it sick. In addition, it is necessary to avoid feeding the ferret with excess carbohydrates and fiber.
In the market you can get ferret feed, a food with all the necessary components for its healthy development. In the labeling of the package should reflect between 30% and 35% of animal protein. Meat waste or by-products are not recommended.
To keep them healthy, ferrets must ingest between 15% to 20% fat and a maximum of 4% fiber. Taurine is a major component in the ferret organism, it is an essential amino acid. Vitamins A, E and C are also part of the essential components.
The ferret must avoid some foods harmful to their body:
- Chocolates or sweets
- Meat or raw fish, especially pork.
- Dairy products.
- Onion derivatives.
- The corn, since it is too much fiber and its digestive system does not assimilate it adequately.
- Remains of food like chicken bones.
The habitat of the ferret
Ferrets, as a pet, measure between 35cm and 40cm in length. When they are in their natural environment or wildlife, they exceed this size. Therefore, the cage should have approximate measurements of 90cm in length, 60cm in width and 70cm in height. Also, you must understand more than two levels so that the ferret can move comfortably.
The cage should be placed in a place without wind and without direct sunlight, since they do not like these climates. They may undergo changes or be subjected to stress if exposed to temperatures above 30 ° C.
It is necessary that between the accessories of the cage there are tunnels, a hammock, bed and safe objects that serve as a toy. They love to play and exercise.
If the cage is large enough, the ferret will be able to fulfill its needs inside the cage as long as the space is far from its place to sleep and eat. In the market there are different types of bed or substrate to absorb odor and moisture.
The products that are available for cats, such as clay sand or Bentonite, are not advisable for ferrets because when they get wet they easily adhere to the ferret’s coat, legs, nose and eyes and it is very difficult to take off. Silica sand and pine shavings are also not advisable since they can have a detrimental effect on the ferret’s respiratory system.
The ones that are recommended are the beds made from recycled paper; They are economical, have a good smell regulation and provide heat. It is comfortable to clean and throw, also has the quality of being biodegradable. It also does not cause damage to the respiratory and liver system of the pet.
Care in the cleaning of ferrets
Ferrets have a characteristic smell that they give off from their characteristic fur oils. For some people it is uncomfortable and they make the mistake of bathing them several times believing that this will be taken away. This is a very common mistake since it is recommended to bathe only once a month.
Because ferrets can not withstand extreme climates or sudden changes in temperature, the water must be clean and warm so that they feel comfortable and can be bathed comfortably.
Ferrets mark the place where they live, therefore, the cage should be thoroughly cleaned once a week. The bed that serves as a bath should be changed preferably every two days.
Castration in ferrets
The endocrine system of ferrets is complex, compared to that of other domestic animals. These animals are prone to suffer from insulinomas, tumors that are created from the acceleration of hormones when the ferret has not been castrated. Another pathology is hyperestrogenism, which occurs when the bone marrow is affected by hormones.
When a ferret is adopted, most of the time the animal is neutered. It is important to be informed about the time of castration, since the intervention must be done after 15 months of life. In some cases, castration is done earlier, which will cause endocrine problems.
These tumors appear because in the adrenal or adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, the hormones are housed and grow until they produce tumors.
Tips for the handling and domestication of the ferret
In the event that the ferret or owner is congested with flu-like symptoms, it is recommended to limit pampering and closeness since the infection is easily transmitted.
The ferret is considered an animal that is easily domesticated. In the market there are prizes that can be used to accustom the ferret to perform their needs in the places provided. Although you can also offer them fruit as a reward, this should be in limited quantities and as the last option, since it contains a lot of fiber.
Those who decide to have a ferret as a pet, should be very aware of the elementary care to have them at home, especially if there are children in the home. Guiding and accompanying the child in the upbringing of this pet is essential.
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