Ferrets are known to be a very resilient pet that can adapt easily to various situations and conditions. But can pet ferrets live outside? Should you keep your pet ferret outdoors?
Before domestication, ferrets used to live in the wild, therefor pet ferrets can live outside in a hutch or a cage, however they need good protection from intense weather conditions like wind, heat, cold, and rain.
There are various reasons why ferret owners keep them out of the house. While some may not tolerate the musky smell, others have limited space to keep a pet’s cage in the house.
Whatever the reason, ensure that you keep your ferret safe from running off, weather hazards, and sickness.
Keeping Pet Ferret Outdoors
Below, you can find information on how to keep your pet ferrets outside minimizing the risk of escape, sickness or loneliness.
One main thing you need to do is protect your ferret from is extreme heat and sun. Surprisingly, the sunshine might be perfect for you but detrimental to your pet’s health. When temperatures hit above 79 °F (26 °C), try all means possible to keep them cool.
Start by giving them ice cubes or frozen water in a bottle to play with, install an air conditioner, or spray them with cold water once in a while. If the heat worsens, you can add a tiny paddling pool for them to cool off.
Even if ferrets opt for colder weather, note that they may freeze if it gets too chilly. In such circumstances, add extra snuggle sacks or bedding to keep them warm.
It is important to note that ferrets feed more in the cold season. Therefore, ensure that you give them healthy food and lukewarm water to keep them warm. Also, replace their food and water bowls twice a day to prevent ice buildup.
– Ferret Hutch
An ideal outdoor enclosed space for your ferret should measure at least 6 x 6 x 6 feet (2 x 2 x 2 m). This size comfortably fits up to three medium-sized ferrets.
If you don’t have enough space for a big hutch, you can get a smaller one, but make sure your ferrets have enough out-of-cage time.
There are several such cages in the market, but you can also build one if you have any construction knowledge. Using wooden frames and mesh wire, you can come up with a suitable pet house.
Before you start working on it, remember that ferrets are inquisitive and love to force themselves into tiny spaces. So, ensure that your wire mesh spaces are not more than one inch wide.
In addition, block all the crevices and possible exits. Additionally, put strong and durable locks on your cages.
Problems with Keeping your Ferrets Outside
If you decide to keep your pet ferret outside in a hutch, please beware, that there are some risk. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the problems that may occur with keeping ferrets outdoors:
In normal circumstances, ferrets are hardy animals and may enjoy a fulfilling life without major health issues. As a matter of fact, healthy ferret may survive from eight to ten years.
However, if you expose them to extreme temperatures, the life time may become shorter.
Pet ferrets can live up to 8-10 years, however keeping them outside, can shorten their lifespan with 2-3 years, depending on the circumstances.
Note that ferrets living indoors may lead healthier lives since they rarely get exposed to intense natural elements. To counter that, ferrets who stay outdoors develop a thicker coat compared to their indoors counterparts.
If you are keeping your pet ferrets outdoors, vaccination is must in order to protect them from untreatable diseases.
– Extreme Temperature
All in all, too much heat or cold would still have negative repercussions on your pet. It may start from a simple sneeze, cough, or runny nose to severe complications if not treated on time.
Some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout include fever, low appetite, or even diarrhea. As first aid, keep them hydrated with plenty of fluids.
When it becomes scorching hot, increase air circulation or add a cooling option. Moreover, keep the cage temperature range between 40 to 80 °F (5-26 °C ).
Remember that ferrets love playing and cuddling with others. In reality, they are some of the animals that connect deeply with their peers. If you happen to separate them from one another, some become incredibly lonely.
When that happens, your pet may refuse to eat, become grumpy, or less active. As a consolation measure, introduce treats and spend considerable time with them cuddling or playing.
If you notice no improvements, seek further assistance from an exotic vet.
What is the Best Temperature for Ferrets?
The best temperature for ferrets is between 60-70 °F (16-21 °C). They can support lower temperature much easier than hot weather.
So, if you decide to keep your ferrets outside, make sure you give them protection from the sun and the option for them to stay cool in the summer.
Burrowing underground can protect your ferret from extreme heat, but not always the best option, because they can escape.
Can a Ferret Freeze to Death?
Like any animal, ferrets may freeze to death when exposed to acute cold. So, if you keep your ferret outside, they are several things you need to do to keep them warm through winter.
For instance, you may add more warm blankets, put a transparent plastic sheet to block the cold, or use pet snuggle pads.
Additionally, you may put warm water bottles inside the cages. Make it a routine to regularly check on the water and replace it before it freezes. Even if your ferret loves playing in the snow, dry their coat thoroughly before returning them to the cage.
Can Ferrets Get Heat Stroke?
Ferret’s hairy fur makes them very uncomfortable during hot weather. It is worth noting that ferrets do not produce sweat at all. This makes it almost impossible for them to control their body temperatures.
In the wild, ferrets hide from extreme heat in tunnels underground. Nonetheless, as a pet, they depend on the owner to remain cool in the summer season. One main consequence caused by the sun is severe cases of heat stroke.
It is effortless to detect when your ferret gets a heat stroke. Given that they are always energetic, less activity is a clear indication that something is seriously wrong. At other times, they may become agitated or start panting for air.
A gulp of fresh air and warm or cold temperatures would make your ferret a happy soul. If the weather conditions allow, putting their cage out of the house is not a bad idea.
It is worth mentioning that your pet’s well-being depends on the measures you instil to help them survive through winter and summer.
Even if ferrets love winter, too much cold is disastrous to their health. On the other hand, excessive heat is the worst enemy to your little friend. Hence, keep them in an environment that tolerates these elements and safely give them a better quality of life.