Ferrets are highly active when they are awake and need a large area in which to play and explore.
Ferrets love tubes, tunnels, hammocks and other toys. Drainpipes are ideal for playing in and running through. They also enjoy digging and will appreciate being given a large storage box full of dry rice or soil to dig in.
After all that exercise, ferrets need a lie down – and they like nothing better than a snooze in a hammock. They often love to sleep together so make sure there is space for more than one ferret.
The right enclosure for your ferret
It’s important to make sure your ferret has plenty of space and lots of things to keep them active.
A hutch alone won’t give your ferret the space they need. They can use a hutch as a sleeping space but will need access to an area where they can exercise. If your ferret will spend a lot of time out of their enclosure – in the house or a large ferret-proofed room - then they can live in a large cage or hutch for the rest of the time.
Converted sheds, specially built ferret courts or their own room in your house make ideal enclosures for your pets. The floor space should be at least 10 square meters but give your ferrets a bigger area if you can. There are a wide variety of indoor cages available that provide a reasonable amount of space and different levels to play on and suspend hammocks.
Their enclosure should include:
- A weatherproof hutch to sleep in that is raised off the ground and out of direct sunlight and strong winds.
- Security. It'll need to be well secured so they can’t escape. It’s best for the enclosure to have a solid base as ferrets are excellent diggers. If the enclosure is made of wire mesh, sink it a good way into the ground so your ferrets can’t burrow out.
- Lots of shredded paper as bedding or use fleecy blankets in sleeping areas. They love to make nests in blankets. If your ferrets live outside, they’ll need plenty of bedding in cold weather.
- Lots of places to rest and sleep. Ferrets love sleeping in hammocks and you can hang these up in their enclosure. Give them a range of different sizes so they can choose to sleep alone or cuddle up with your other ferrets if they’d rather.
- Safe platforms of different heights. Ferrets don’t have brilliant eyesight so can sometimes misjudge a jump and fall off a platform or hammock. Make sure they can’t fall far!
- A solid floor. Ferrets are generally very clean and you can train them to use a litter tray (read more about this below). You don’t need to line their enclosure with any sawdust or bedding. If the enclosure has a wire mesh floor, cover it with something like lino. Ferrets can develop ‘pododermatitis’ – swollen feet and sores on the bottom of their paws – if they spend too much time on mesh flooring.
- A splash-proof feeding area. Ferrets are messy with food and water so put some newspaper under their bowls to make cleaning up easier.
- An exercise area big enough for them to have a good run around. Put in toys for them to play with and tubes or drainpipes for them to explore and hide in.
If your ferrets live outdoors, you’ll need to adjust their living conditions as the weather changes over the year. You can read more about this on seasonal advice pages:
A toilet for ferrets
Ferrets are usually very clean animals and like to go to the toilet in one area, called a ‘latrine’. We recommend giving your ferrets a litter tray. It makes it much easier to clean up after them.
- Put the litter tray in an area they already use as a latrine. This will encourage them to use it.
- Ferret litter trays are normally triangular, so they fit into a corner. They have two high sides to help protect your home – ferrets squirt their soft poo upwards and these high sides help to avoid accidents!
- Fill the litter tray with a wood pellet litter. Never use clumping cat litter.
Hazards around the home and garden
Our homes can be dangerous places, especially for inquisitive pets like ferrets. Make sure your home is a safe place for your ferrets by:
- Keeping their enclosure safe from young children and other family pets, like cats and dogs.
- Keeping ferrets away from electric cables as they can chew through them.
- Keeping your ferrets away from rubber toys and soft furnishings. Chewing on these can cause dangerous blockages in your ferrets gut.
Keeping your ferrets clean
You’ll need to clean out your ferrets regularly to make sure their home is kept hygienic. This will involve a daily spot clean as well as more thorough weekly and monthly cleans.
- Clear out an uneaten fresh food so it doesn’t go mouldy. Ferrets often hide food away in corners or inside tunnels so check everywhere for any sneaky stashes of food!
- Wash water and food bowls before refilling them.
- Clean out any poo or wee from the litter tray.
- Wash all bedding. This is usually the source of the ‘ferrety’ smell they have a bad reputation for! If your ferrets are neutered and their bedding is kept clean, they will only have a very slight smell.
- Strip out their enclosure completely.
- Scrub it with a pet-safe cleaner. You can buy these from pet shops or our online pet store.
Wash all bedding and hammocks.
- Only let your ferrets back into their home once everything is completely dry.