Are Ferrets Nocturnal or Diurnal?

Ferrets need between 14 to 18 hours of sleep a day to be in good physical condition. When your ferret does not sleep enough, it becomes stressed and vulnerable to several diseases.

This means, apart from better diet, hygiene, and safety, maintaining your pet properly encompasses understanding its natural sleep cycle.

But, when do ferrets usually sleep, during the day or night? Are ferrets nocturnal or diurnal?

Ferrets are neither nocturnal nor diurnal; they are crepuscular, which means they are mostly active during dawn and dusk.

When Do Ferrets Sleep?

Unlike humans that sleep most at night, ferrets sleep both during the day and night. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have enough playtimes with your pet, especially during weekends when you are free. Their sleep period is not one long-overhaul.

During the period between sunrise and sunset, ferrets wake up multiple times to drag things around, eat, and spend some good times with their owner. When you are always around, you’ll observe that your pet hardly snoozes as it tries to do anything you are doing.

It will follow you to the kitchen and any room in your house and accompany you through your household chores.

However, when lonely, ferrets snooze throughout the day, especially when caged. That said, it is always best to keep two ferrets, so that the duo can keep each other’s company when you are gone working.

Leaving your pet with your child is also not a good option. Adult ferrets are aggressive; they can scratch or bite your child when handled roughly.

How Long Do Ferrets Sleep?

Ferrets sleep 14-18 hours a day. Most often, you will find your ferret asleep during both days and night—sometimes deep asleep that you may think it has died.

However, they do not sleep 18 hours straight. Averagely, they have at least 1-hour playtime in between, after every 6 hours. Also, the amount of sleep varies from one ferret to the other depending on:

– Environment

Ferrets adapt to different weather conditions by becoming either too sleepy or too active. During the winter seasons, they oversleep to preserve their body heat. During warm summer seasons, they become more active to release excess energy in their bodies.

– Age

Ferret kits are born blind and deaf. During birth, they only have a few strands of white fur on their bodies. Baby ferrets depend on their mothers for warmth, food, and water until about six weeks when they start to naturally wean.

Baby ferrets start seeing and hearing about 35 days from birth. During this time, they sleep more than 22 hours a day and only wake up to feed.

On the other hand, adult ferrets sleep about 18 hours a day on average. As they grow old, the sleeping time also goes up to around 20-21 hours a day.

– Mental Health

Stress is one of the rampant mental health conditions that cause ferrets to oversleep. When your pet sleeps too much, there is a high chance that it is stressed or anxious.

To start with, where does your pet sleep? Is it hygienic enough?  Infestation by pests such as fleas can cause your pet to bite, lick, chew, or scratch its body hence leading to stress and anxiety. Conversely, the musky smell of ferret poops and peas can also cause the fussy to oversleep.

Secondly, whenever they lack a companion, ferrets become stressed and anxious. In case your pet is exceeding its sleeping hours, consider buying play toys or spending more time with it to combat loneliness.

– Physical Health

Ferrets are playful; they will drag anything that comes across their path, making them susceptible to physical injuries. In case your ferret is not sleeping adequately, check the whole body for any form of bruises or cuts as this can cause a lot of pain.

Conditions such as rumbling stomach, diarrhea, headache, and toothache can also make ferrets sleep too much.

Do Ferrets Sleep Dead?

Sometimes, your ferret may sleep soundly that you will think it is dead. You can fold the limbs, scrub the fur, or hang the body like a rag and don’t move. Well, if your ferret is not having any health problems, it is definitely playing dead.

As social animals, ferrets actively play anytime they have your companionship. For this reason, they get tired and will need enough sleep to rejuvenate.

However, if you disturb the pet constantly, it may play dead as a sign of requesting more hours of sleep. During this process, they minimize their body movement and achieve 100% relaxation. At a glimpse, you’ll think that your pet has undergone a cardiac arrest or it is dead.

Don’t fret. Instead, check for signs such as rhythmic patterns that will notify you if at all the pet is in perfect condition. Other signs to check out for if your pet is sleeping dead include a moist pink mouth and warm body.

How to Make Your Ferret Sleep at Night?

Your fussy should naturally fall asleep during the night. If it doesn’t, here are a few hacks to make your ferret asleep.

– Serving Heavy Meal

Ferrets tend to sleep deeply after heavy meals. Just before bedtime, serve your pet a heavy meal that is high in protein.

If this doesn’t work, buy a timed feeder and fill it with food. Set the feeding time in a manner that the feeder dispenses the food either once or twice during the night.

This process will help you feed your pet adequately without having to move from your bed. With time, it will adapt to the night feeding hours and develop an excellent sleep cycle.

– Play With the Ferret

Vigorous physical activities make ferrets tired. Once the tiredness set in, they automatically fall off, dead asleep. If your pet is always awake, use play toys to make him run around the house.

If it likes collecting stuff, Ping-Pong balls and other softballs can help you give it an extra run.

– Add Another Ferret

Ferrets are social with humans, fellow ferrets, and other animal species such as rabbits. Having another ferret will give your pet a good chance to play with each other.

By the time night sets in, the duo will be dead tired to sleep.

Can Ferrets Adapt to Your Sleeping Habits?

Yes, ferrets are fast learners that will adapt to both environmental stimuli and your sleeping habit. They use signs such as lights out to know when to sleep.

When you are home, they will cuddle next to you and sleep when you retire to bed.


Sleep is the energy powerhouse that keeps ferrets mentally and physically fit. In the wild, these crepuscular animals are active at twilight to hunt for the waking prey.  This trait doesn’t change even when in a domestic setting.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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