Ferrets can be a loaded topic. They’re illegal to own in some places and have gotten a bad rap sheet with some folks. Whether you love or loathe them, there’s a lot of misconceptions surrounding these tubes of fuzz. Here are 15 myths about ferrets you should stop believing.
The 15 Myths & Misconceptions About Ferrets
1. Myth: Ferrets can’t be trained
Fact: There’s a pervasive myth that ferrets are untrainable, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. These intelligent creatures can be litter trained, taught tricks, or taught to play with toys.
2. Myth: Ferrets will bite you
Fact: The hard truth is that any animal will bite you if you harass it, and ferrets are no exception. That doesn’t mean they’re ‘naturally bitey’ or mean — they aren’t! But if you aren’t respectful of them, they will use evolution’s methods to defend themselves.
3. Myth: Ferrets must be caged
Fact: Though it requires a lot of work, it is possible to have free-roaming ferrets like you would have a cat or dog. The tricky part is ferret-proofing your house. Ferrets can squeeze their bodies into tiny spaces, so an improperly-proofed place could prove deadly to a curious free-roaming ferret.
For those uninterested in ferret proofing, worry not! Supervised time out of their cage is imperative for your ferrets, even if they aren’t free-roaming!
4. Myth: Ferrets need to be fed fruits & vegetables
Fact: Many people believe that ferrets need to be fed fruits and vegetables, but the reality is that this can make them sick. Some people say that they can be given as treats, but the American Ferret Association advises against feeding any fruits or vegetables.
5. Myth: Ferrets are wild animals
Fact: There is also a prevalent misconception that ferrets are undomesticated wild animals. If you pick up a black-footed ferret off the ground, this is more than likely true (it’s also a crime as black-footed ferrets are an endangered species!). However, the ferrets you get from breeders and pet stores are fully domesticated, captive-bred creatures, not wild animals. Humans have been domesticating ferrets as far back as 63 BCE. So, there’s no need to worry about the ferrets you see in the store being wild animals.
6. Myth: Ferrets kill other pets
Fact: Ferrets don’t kill other pets any more than dogs or cats. When properly socialized with the other animals in the house, ferrets can become fast friends with their adoptive brothers and sisters. Once socialized properly, ferrets are playful and easy to get along with for other animals.
7. Myth: Ferrets smell bad
Fact: Any animal that is improperly cared for will smell foul. Still, a ferret who hasn’t had its scent glands remove will have a pungent odor. Removal of the scent glands, neutering, and a proper diet have been shown to keep the smell to a minimum.
8. Myth: Ferrets should be kept outside
Fact: While many people keep rabbits in outdoor hutches, this is not advised for rabbits or ferrets. If kept in an outdoor cage, they are not outdoor animals and could be susceptible to illness, predation, or other harm.
9. Myth: Ferrets are dangerous
Fact: There isn’t an animal alive who couldn’t be dangerous to you if they needed to be, but ferrets are no more dangerous than any other domesticated house pet.
10. Myth: Ferrets have excellent vision
Fact: People believe that since ferrets are nocturnal, they must have perfect vision since they’d need to see in the dark. Their vision is relatively poor, and they can only see reds and blues. They don’t rely on their vision as much as one might think.
11. Myth: Ferrets don’t need vet care
Fact: No animal can go without vet care! Ferrets will need regular checkups and other care, just like any other animal.
12. Myth: Ferrets violently trigger people’s allergies
Fact: This myth probably comes from the same places as the odor myth. Ferrets are hypoallergenic, so they make excellent pets for people with allergies!
13. Myth: Ferrets are rodents
Fact: Ferrets are not rodents. They belong to the family ‘Mustelidae, shared with weasel and otters.
14. Myth: Ferrets can catch colds
Fact: There’s a shred of truth to this one. Ferrets can catch and transmit the influenza virus between themselves and humans, and this virus can prove deadly to them. The common cold, however, cannot be shared between humans and ferrets.
15. Myth: Escaped ferrets will band together and kill our livestock
Fact: This is the reasoning given for some of the places that legally ban the ownership of ferrets. In reality, escaped domesticated ferrets rarely last more than a few days, according to the American Ferret Association. It’s one of the reasons ferret-proofing is so essential when considering ferret ownership.
Whether you aspire to own a ferret or came here looking for affirmation of why you should hate them, there’s so much to learn about these loveable fur-friends. We hope we can help to dispel some of the harmful myths surrounding ferrets and help you make an informed decision on your prospective ownership!
Featured Image Credit: skeeze, Pixabay