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Do Ferrets and Rats Get Along? 3 Facts You Should Know

Both ferrets and rats are always misunderstood by many people, including pet enthusiasts. What’s more, these two tiny mammals are feared for different reasons. They are aggressive and destructive when left on their own.

Despite all that, they make wonderful pets at home. Most ferrets are considered great family pets. They create a strong bond with everyone in the family, especially their owners.

On the other hand, domesticated or fancy rats are excellent companion animals at home. They can get along well with people of different ages. Even young kids can blend in well with domesticated rats by providing them with basic needs.

Now the question is, do ferrets and rats get along? The answer is no! Ferrets and rats can’t get along, even though there is video footage online which shows that they live in the same cage.

If you intend to keep these two types of pets you should never allow them to share the same cage. Ferrets are natural hunters and ferocious killers. They may harm or even kill rats if they are left in the same cage.

Why Ferrets and Rats Don’t Get Along?

There are many reasons why ferrets and rats cannot get along. Some of the most obvious reasons are as follows:

1. Ferrets are Hunters

Ferrets are indeed skillful hunters, thus they can easily kill rats if they get a chance to do so. Besides, ferrets are classified as predatory animals. They are likely to prey on weaker animals around them.

While this trait displays their dominant behavior, it can also work against them. An encounter between ferrets and rats is not a pleasant one. A ferret may kill a rat in the process but the rat can cause more harm than good in self-defense.

Typically, rats are primary hosts for different pathogens and diseases. They are likely to carry the bubonic plague or rabies. So a serious tussle with rats can put your pet ferrets in great danger of getting sick and eventually dying.

2. Size Difference

Most people think that ferrets are rodents. Sadly, they are not. They share the same family with weasels. This means they are large in size compared to rats. The size difference is one of the reasons why these two pets cannot live together in harmony. One will feel intimidated while the other will try to dominate, creating endless conflicts in their living space.

Having a pet ferret and a pet rat in one place can bring a lot of stress to the rat. Therefore, don’t allow them to free roam or let them share the same room at the same time even if they occupy different cages.

3. Ferret Odor

According to a scientific report published in NCBI Journal, ferret odor poses a great stress factor to rats when left to share the same environment. Bear in mind that ferrets are natural predators and their odor will most likely elicit some stress responses in rats.

Most of this odor comes from the ferrets’ urine, feces, and anal gland secretions. The odor causes both behavioral changes and endocrine stress response in rodents such as rats. Such changes can affect the wellbeing of rats in the long run.

Can Ferrets and Rats Live in the Same Household?

Yes! Rats and ferrets can live in the same household if you keep them in separate cages. Not to mention raising them in separate rooms. What you need is to create a separate environment for each pet and they will live in harmony.

Also, keep them well-supervised and under your full control. Most importantly, maintain a safe distance between these two small pets to prevent them from attacking each other.

Again,  you should never let them out of the cage at the same time to prevent ferrets from preying on rats. Whenever your ferrets are out of the cage, don’t allow them to stress out your caged rats. Don’t even let them get too close to the cages where your rats are staying.

Can a Ferret Kill a Rat?

Absolutely yes! The ferret will also eat the rat since it is a predator and the rat is part of its prey. As a matter of fact, ferrets have been used to control rats in most homes.

This should tell you that allowing them to get close to rats will definitely give them a clear chance to grab and kill the rats. The two can co-exist only if you let them live in separate cages.

Ferret vs Rat – Which is a Better Pet?

To answer this question, we should try to analyze each pet in more detail. In this case, we will start with the ferret.

Apparently, ferrets are social animals and it’s often recommended to keep at least two in a cage as they enjoy playing together. Aside from that, ferrets bond well with their owners, creating a strong bond in the process.

They can also get along well with dogs and cats when socialized early. These lovely pets require your time and attention including supervised exercise each day. On top of that, they are a long-term commitment since they live up to 8 years or 12 years under good care.

Rats are almost similar to ferrets when you keep them as pets. They are social, intelligent, and happier animals when raised in a group.

They also love to play and require at least one hour outside their cages to exercise. Contrary to what most people think, rats are clean and love grooming themselves. Unlike ferrets, they live up to 3 years.

When it comes to determining which one of the two is better, it all narrows down to an individual’s preference. If you prefer a long-term pet, then you should settle for a pet ferret.

But if you want some little fancy pet, you should turn to a rat. Otherwise, both options make wonderful pets at home.

Wrap Up

Ferrets cannot get along with rats for several reasons. They are extremely aggressive and predatory by nature. Keeping them in the same cage with rats can lead to several conflicts.

Some frets may even prey on rats. But you may keep them in the same home by providing them separate cages and maintaining considerable distances between them.

Ferrets - Updated: February 22, 2021
avatar 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.

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