How Long Do Ferrets Live as Pets?

Domestic ferrets have been living around humans since 450 BCE, according to the American Ferret Association. They were kept to help hunt rabbits and keep the mice population under control. Back then, domestic ferrets probably didn’t live very long. Today, domestic ferrets are common in American households — which means better health care, better food and more knowledge about them is available. As a result, ferrets are living longer, healthier lives.

Ferrets also suffer from problems of the adrenal glands and pancreas — both of which can affect life expectancy if not addressed properly. According to Cullen’s Archangel Rescue, unspayed females suffer from high estrogen levels, which in turn causes serious anemia — so serious, in fact, that the ferret will eventually die.

Do ferrets recognize their owners?

Do ferrets recognize their owners? Ferrets are very social animals and bond well with their families. Therefore, they become very affectionate towards their owners and recognize them well. The only thing is that you will have to spend enough time playing with them to increase their bonding with you.

Why ferrets are not good pets?

Ferrets are predatory animals and may not be suitable to share a home with pets like rabbits, birds, lizards or rodents. They might get along with dogs and cats. … Ferrets may not be the right pet for everyone especially a family with young children because ferrets can bite.

Do ferrets like to cuddle?

Ferrets really enjoy spending time with their human companions are usually happy to be picked up and cuddled. If they’re frightened or accidentally hurt, ferrets can give a strong bite. Getting them used to being picked up when they’re young is really important.

Can a ferret live 10 years?

A healthy domestic ferret can live between six to 10 years, according to the American Ferret Association. In comparison, the black-footed ferret — the wild cousin of the domestic ferret — has a lifespan of just three to four years in the wild.

Just about any animal lover can tell you the average lifespan of your typical dog or cat, but the question gets a little murkier when it comes to ferrets. Though not quite as common to the American household, ferrets can nonetheless make just as wonderful pets as puppies and kittens do. This is especially true for families seeking a new four-legged companion thats not quite as large as a Labrador and slightly more playful than a Persian. But anyone considering adopting a ferret should have a fair understanding of how long the jovial critter will be in his or her life.

When the ferret craze first took off in the United States, the only option for eager owners was to import their prospective critters from across the Atlantic.

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Back when ferrets first became popular in the United States, they lived for about 10 years. They were imported from Europe during this time.

As you might imagine, ferrets that arent fed or exercised properly wont live as long as those who are. Check the ingredient list of any commercial ferret food to ensure that it contains mainly meat.

An annual vet visit is critical to ensure that your ferret isnt developing an underlying problem. Damage to the gums can give bacteria direct access to the bloodstream, which can harm organs. Many ferrets may develop more infections later in their life, so it is vital to get periodontal disease under control before something else starts attacking their immune system.

Image Credit: Couperfield, ShutterstockMany people know that their ferret needs high-quality food and proper vet care. They benefit greatly from a range of mental stimulation starting at a young age. This is mainly due to improper breeding that focuses more on the aesthetic qualities of the ferret over their health aspects.

This has caused their lifespan to decrease, primarily as breeders focus more on temperament and aesthetic traits. However, an unhealthy ferret may live and make a great pet in captivity, especially if they have a good temperament.

Ferrets are members of the weasel family that have been domesticated for over 2000 years. They are highly intelligent and social pets and, even though they seem just like a small, easy to care for a pocket pet, they are a big responsibility and often require just as much care as a cat or dog, if not more!

Again, most ferrets you find around here have already had these glands surgically removed, so you only have to deal with a mild musky odour from the oils in the skin. Bathing a ferret will strip its skin and coat of all of the natural (mildly stinky) oils, which will cause the body to overcompensate and keep producing more and more.

It is also important to note that ferrets cannot digest fibre, so high levels of grains should also be avoided when choosing a diet for your new pet. Understandably, many owners may not feel comfortable feeding that to their pet, so the next best option would be either a specialized ferret diet made specifically for their nutritional requirements or a high-quality kitten food you would find at a vet clinic. They should always have a box, pee pad or newspaper close by because, as mentioned under DIET, they have a short GI tract and therefore cannot hold it in very long.

It is also recommended to regularly trim your ferrets nails every couple of weeks at least, as they can get quite long and sharp and potentially get caught in bedding, carpet, etc.

Lifespan

A healthy domestic ferret can live between six to 10 years, according to the American Ferret Association. In comparison, the black-footed ferret — the wild cousin of the domestic ferret — has a lifespan of just three to four years in the wild.

Factors

How long a domestic ferret lives depends on many factors. Ferrets who live in stressful environments or are kept in cages for most of the day might not live as long as ferrets who are happy and well-adjusted to the household. A balanced diet is key to keeping a domestic ferret around for longer, too. Ferrets are meat-eaters — and members of the low-carb diet club — who require a diet high in animal protein in order to stay healthy. Special ferret food is available at pet stores, or you can feed wet cat food or wet dog food as long as it contains at least 36 percent protein, according to the American Ferret Association.

Health Issues

Ferrets are susceptible to three fatal diseases: canine distemper, rabies and the Aleutian disease virus. And yes, ferrets should be vaccinated yearly with a special vaccine created specially for ferrets. The Aleutian disease virus is the ferret version of a cold — and he can actually get it from you. Preventing or treating such health issues ensures that your furry friend will be around for longer. Ferrets also suffer from problems of the adrenal glands and pancreas — both of which can affect life expectancy if not addressed properly.

How Long Do Ferrets Live?

Unfortunately, such information is a bit more difficult to nail down than it may be in the case of some other popular pets. “There are books out there that tell you that ferrets live for ten years, but that’s not happening anymore,” said L. Vanessa Gruden, executive director of the Ferret Association of Connecticut. According to Gruden, the lifespan of the modern American ferret is substantially shorter than that of its 1980s counterpart, which when the species, indigenous to Europe, first gained popularity in the United States.When the ferret craze first took off in the United States, the only option for eager owners was to import their prospective critters from across the Atlantic. “Since [Europe is] where ferrets started out, that’s where they tend to live longer,” Gruden said. Today, domestic breeders are hardly unusual, though perhaps not the best source for healthy critters.Vickie McKimmey, office manager of the American Ferret Association, stresses a similar inconsistency among ferrets. “[A ferret’s lifespan ranges] from five to nine years,” she said. “[It’s] a pretty large gap and it’s mainly because the ferrets in pet stores live on a shorter time frame, whereas if you get a ferret from a breeder … you get a longer age range.”According to McKimmey, the lifespan difference between a ferret purchased from a breeder compared to a ferret purchased from a pet store may have to do with how early the ferret was spayed or neutered. “Ferrets in pet stores are fixed before they go into the pet store, so you’re looking at the ferrets being fixed at like five weeks of age, whereas a breeder will recommend you wait until a ferret is at least a year old. That way, it’s had all of its hormones fully developed,” she said.

Factors That Affect a Ferret’s Lifespan

You can help your ferret live a longer lifespan by ensuring that they are well taken care of. As you might imagine, ferrets that aren’t fed or exercised properly won’t live as long as those who are. How you take care of your ferret has a significant role in how long they will live.Here are a few factors to consider.

Food

Ferrets should be fed ferret-formulated food. Just like dog and cat food, ferret food is not all made equal. Some are higher quality than others. Ferrets are carnivores, so their diet should contain as much meat as possible. Check the ingredient list of any commercial ferret food to ensure that it contains mainly meat.While cat food once had to be fed to ferrets, there are now commercial options available. We do not recommend feeding them cat food.You should also work to keep your ferret the correct size. If your ferret becomes obese, it can severely affect their health.

Vet care

Ferrets are prone to many different diseases. It is crucial to find a vet who knows how to care for ferrets. Many are not specifically trained to treat these animals.An annual vet visit is critical to ensure that your ferret isn’t developing an underlying problem. Many diseases may not show symptoms until they have progressed. Often, it is best to treat these quickly before they start severely affecting your ferret’s lifespan. Routine testing is often the only way that you can identify these problems.Dental cleanings should also be considered. Like dogs and cats, ferrets can get periodontal disease. This affects their whole health, not just their teeth. Damage to the gums can give bacteria direct access to the bloodstream, which can harm organs. Many ferrets may develop more infections later in their life, so it is vital to get periodontal disease under control before something else starts attacking their immune system.

Mental Stimulation

Many people know that their ferret needs high-quality food and proper vet care. But many do not consider their ferret’s emotional and mental needs as well.Ferrets are curious and intelligent creatures. They benefit greatly from a range of mental stimulation starting at a young age. Be sure to provide your ferret with plenty of different toys and interact with them daily. These pets need just as much attention as a cat or a dog. They are not “lower maintenance” than any other typical pet.If you can’t commit at least an hour a day to interacting with a ferret, you shouldn’t adopt one.Many ferrets will also benefit from having other ferrets around, so many people will adopt them in pairs. However, this can vary from family to family. It isn’t a good idea to adopt two ferrets if you can only correctly take care of one.

Do Ferrets Die Easily?

Ferrets are relatively hardy creatures. However, improper breeding has lowered the lifespan of the average ferret considerably. As ferrets gained popularity in the 1980s, many domestic breeders popped up.Some of them bred ferrets to improve the species, while others bred them primarily for profit. In some cases, aesthetic traits were encouraged over those that were healthy. Therefore, this has negatively affected the ferret’s lifespan.Nowadays, many ferrets can die quite quickly. Most of the time, these ferrets are from pet stores, as their suppliers focus on making money. Some ferret breeders are a bit like puppy mills, producing as many ferrets as possible, as cheaply as possible.If you want a ferret that will live a long time, we recommend adopting from a high-quality breeder. Breeders who only sell directly are usually more concerned about where their ferrets end up, which should tell you something about how much they care about their pets.Ferrets can be a bit more expensive from these breeders, but you often get more bang for your buck. Usually, these ferrets are better socialized and have received more vet care. Some breeders even use genetic testing to help breed out certain genetic conditions that ferrets are prone to.

Can a Ferret Live for 10 Years?

Ferrets usually live closer to 5 or 7 years, but some record breakers can live as long as 10 years.Over the decades, the average ferret’s lifespan has gotten lower, not higher. This is mainly due to improper breeding that focuses more on the aesthetic qualities of the ferret over their health aspects. Some breeders also operate like puppy mills in that they focus primarily on producing as many animals as possible, with little regard to the animals’ health.While puppy mills are illegal in many places, there are often no regulations on how ferrets should be bred.Therefore, you must do your research, especially if you want your ferret to live a full lifespan.

Do Male or Female Ferrets Live Longer?

There is no difference between a male and a female ferret in terms of lifespan. In captivity, most ferrets have been sterilized, anyway, though the exact age that they are sterilized varies.Lifespan should not be a significant part of your decision-making process when you consider what ferret to get. There are a few differences in sex, especially among intake animals. However, these are typically small and largely anecdotal. There is no objective study that shows a significant behavioral difference between these two sexes.