Ferrets as pets: Pete the Vet video from Ireland AM

To watch this week’s video, about ferrets, follow the link at the foot of this page.

Traditionally, ferrets were kept as hunting animals, to be used to go down rabbit burrows, but these days they are just kept as companion animals

They are similar tor dogs and cats in some ways:

  • Like cats, they sleep a lot and can be trained to use a litter tray.
  • Like dogs, ferrets are social and crave the company of people

But the similarities stop there: ferrets are in a category all their own and are very much a special choice of pet, not for everyone.


Male ferrets are called “hobs,” while female ferrets are called “jills” and baby ferrets are called “kits.”

  • Ferrets have friendly, inquisitive natures
  • They are very intelligent and can be trained to come when called, use a litter box and even perform a few tricks.
  • They have furry, cuddly bodies
  • Ferrets can live for around 7 – 10 years and can breed from an early age. Females will be fertile from around 4 months of age, and males from around 6-8 months. ]They are usually neutered or spayed when they are between five and six weeks old to reduce smell and aggression.


Ferrets love interacting with people, so you need to spend at least one hour with them every day and consider having more than one ferret to help keep them entertained.  They do need constant supervision when outside their cage, however, and are not recommended for children under six years old as they can bite.

Health issues

  • Ferrets are prone to a variety of health problems, which can make them an expensive pet, and will often chew things and swallow foreign objects, making ferret-proofing your home essential.
  • Issues include ulcers, gastric problems due to ingesting foreign objects, and diseases of the adrenal glands and pancreas
  • While ferrets make good companions for larger house pets with careful introductions and supervised interactions, ferrets should be kept away from birds, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and reptiles.
  • Ferrets have very flexible spines that can easily curl around to almost 180′. This means they can squeeze into tight spaces and turn around easily to get back out. This is partly why they are such good escape artists.
  • To find out more about ferrets, including advice on diets, see this Exotic Direct UK webpage.

To watch the video of Pete and Rolo the ferret, see below.

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