Ferrets as pets

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Updated: 4/17/2007 12:08 pm Published: 4/17/2007 12:08 pm

A century or so ago, if you owned a ferret, you probably used it for hunting. These sleek, limber little critters would be turned loose to flush rabbits or other game out of holes. The sport of ferreting has since been made illegal, so most ferrets you find now are pets. A pet ferret has many of the same characteristics as a cat. It can be trained to use a litter box, which is always helpful. They're also incredibly curious, and groom themselves just like cats, including hacking up the occasional hairball. The most important thing a ferret owner should do is to ferret-proof the house. Any place a ferret can poke its head, it can fit its entire body. It's possible for a ferret to find its way inside a wall and be unable to get back out, so seal every crack before turning a ferret loose in your home. You can keep them in a cage at night, but they'll need to be let out for a few hours of playtime every day. They're carnivores, so you'll want to find a good meat-based ferret food that provides a balanced diet. Ferrets are incredibly playful and fun to watch, but avoid soft rubber toys that they can swallow. As you bond with your ferret, you'll find that it likes crawling up your pants leg or inside your shirt. This is normal behavior for them. Learn to enjoy it.

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