Friday, 16 July 2010

Figuring out Ferrets: Part 1

Ferrets are small mammals that have become popular pets in some areas of the world. They can be fun companions, but before you decide to get one as a pet, you need to understand that they can be a demanding pet to keep. When they are active they need lots of supervision and you will have to take many precautions in your house to ensure they are not injured or killed. Ferrets can also have health difficulties and will need veterinary care from time to time. Ferrets will also have difficulty getting along with some other animals you might have in your home. Ferrets are not just big hamsters, before you make that decision to bring one home educate yourself on the responsibilities involved.

Basic Information:

The domesticated ferret is from the family of mammals known as Mustelidae which also includes weasels and otters. The skunk is also a relative to the ferret and one legacy of this is the musky scent the ferrets produce. Ferrets were originally domesticated by man sometime between 2500-1500B.C. and used to kill or capture rodents and other small animals. Ferrets range in size from about 33-50cm long and weigh between 33 to 180g with the males being almost twice as large as the females.


Ferrets require a cage to spend most of their time in. A good cage is one that is at least large enough for the ferret to stand completely up on its hind legs. There are many cages which have multiple levels for the ferret to explore. The cage should include a bed which allows the ferret to curl up out of sight as they will be sleeping through most of the day and will appreciate some privacy. A litter box is also necessary in the cage. The ferret will pick one corner of the cage to use as its bathroom; this is where you should put the litter box. The litter box will need to be cleaned frequently. They will also require a water bottle which fastens securely to the side of the cage, and a heavy food dish that is difficult for the ferret to overturn.

Next time we will conclude our discussion on ferrets by looking at their behavior and health.

Tune in to find out more...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Hamsters are lively and clean animals that like to live alone. They can take a while to become tame, so patience is essential. Hamsters are nocturnal animals so they need a quiet and peaceful environment during the day.


• To live on their own (some dwarf species will live as pairs).
• To be fed seeds, grains, nuts, cleaned fruits and vegetables daily and to have a constant supply of fresh drinking water. A drip-feed bottle with metal spout is ideal.
• To be given a large living space kept indoors that is out of direct sunlight and a nest box inside where they can sleep and hoard their food.
• To have sawdust on the floor with hay or soft wood chips on top as well as paper towels for their bedding.
• A plastic exercise wheel (not the open rung kind). Hamsters love to exercise.
• Toys to stimulate them, like plastic or cardboard tubes, mazes and ladders for climbing.
• To have their homes thoroughly cleaned weekly.
• A hardwood gnawing block, natural not treated wood, so they can wear down long teeth.
• To be picked up gently, with 2 hands.
• To be brushed.
• To be taken to the vet if they are sick or injured or when showing abnormal behaviour.
• To be looked after while you are away on vacation.


• Don’t let your hamster run freely around your house as he or she could get lost, injured or stepped upon.
• Don’t take your hamster out for outings like you would your dog. They are tiny animals and the experience could be very traumatizing for them.
• Don’t handle your hamster roughly and quickly. Hamster like to jump when they are scared therefore could jump right out of your hands and get injured or lost.
• Don’t take your hamster to school and pass them around to your friends like a toy. The noise, movement and unfamiliar surroundings could be extremely traumatizing. Remember how tiny they are and how big you are.
• Don’t use newspaper or cotton in their cages.
• Don’t keep more than one hamster in a cage as they will usually fight.

No matter the size of the animal you keep, it is your responsibility to give him or her what they need. If you cannot provide what a hamster needs, you should choose another animal that better suits your lifestyle.