Pros & Cons of Ferrets as Pets

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Ferrets can make wonderful, entertainment and intelligent pets, but it's important not to get one on a whim. As with any pet, pros and cons exist to owning a ferret, which you should consider before you take one home. Lots of homeless ferrets live in rescue shelters, so, if you do decide to add one to your family, it's a great idea to rescue.

Temperament

Once you get to know a ferret, you're likely to fall in love with it. They have amazing personalities and are a joy to own. A well handled and socialized ferret is loving, playful and inquisitive. They're great with children, as long as your child knows not to startle or overexcite them, although they should always be supervised with little ones. They readily bond with their owners, so you can hope to have plenty of furry ferret snuggles.

Entertainment

Ferrets can provide hours of entertainment -- in fact, you should interact with your ferret for at least two hours a day. They love to play and are likely to think of you as a toy, too. They're intelligent, and they quickly pick up new behaviors, so they're easy to train and teach tricks. If you have more than one ferret, just watching a pair or more play together can keep you amused all afternoon.

Ease of Care

Although ferrets require a good chunk of your time each day, they're fairly easy to care for in other respects. Most pet stores now carry a specialized ferret food, so you don't need to put too much effort into feeding them an appropriate diet. They can easily be trained to defecate in a litter box, which makes cleaning out their cages relatively painless. They have no problem being without human interaction for the majority of the day, so they're ideal pets for people who are often out of the house.

Smell

Many people object to the smell of ferrets; others don't find it a problem. It isn't necessarily unpleasant odor, but it is quite strong and musky. This smell can be kept to a minimum by cleaning out your ferrets' cage three or more times a week and by weekly or monthly bathing with a baby shampoo. Although, you must be careful not to dry out ferrets' coats or skin by bathing them too frequently.

Destructiveness

Due to their curiosity, ferrets like to get into everything, and they're not afraid of making a mess. Any rooms in which you let these critters roam will have to carefully ferret-proofed. They won't hesitate to scratch and scrabble at a door they want to get to the other side of, or to try to burrow into your sofa. They'll also chew any electrical cables they can get their teeth into, and squeeze into any small spaces they find. They need constant supervision outside of the cage to ensure they don't get into trouble.

Time

Ferrets require more of your time than you might initially imagine. Although they're OK being kept in a cage while you're at work or out of the house, they need a minimum of four hours a day outside their cage. You should spend at least two of these playing or otherwise interacting with them. You'll also need to devote plenty of time to grooming, as they need regular nail-clipping, ear-cleaning and tooth-brushing.

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