Ferrets can be a handful. Despite their striking resemblance to rodents, they are not as docile. They are fierce, relentless carnivores with an insatiable desire to kill small critters. You could think of ferrets as cats on steroids.
Nonetheless, ferrets make excellent house pets. But the biggest challenge in keeping them is providing them with exercise and enrichment. This is because these balls of energy are extremely playful. As such, you must provide them with proper toys to play with.
Fortunately, that should not be a difficult task, as ferrets will play with just about anything. But some playthings are more appropriate than others. The following are some of the best and safest ferret toys to consider. This list includes both commercial and DIY toys.
Commercial Ferret Toys
The benefit of commercial toys is that they are designed to meet the needs of your pet. For example, some allow you to provide your ferret with mental stimulation, which is incredibly difficult to pull off using DIY toys. Some of the top-rated ferret toys in this category include the following:
1. Kaytee Nut Knot Nibbler
The Nut Knot Nibbler by Kaytee is a natural wood toy that is excellent for ferrets. It consists of several colored wooden posts forming an intricate design to protect a treat. The goal is to get through the posts to obtain the prize. If you know your ferret well, then you know that they will stop at nothing to get to that treat.
Therefore, the Nut Knot Nibbler offers you a great way of providing mental enrichment to your ferret, as they will have to figure out a way to get to the treat. Additionally, this toy provides the perfect avenue for the ferret to exercise their natural chewing instinct, which helps keep their teeth in good condition.
2. Niteangel Small Animal Cotton Rope Nets Activity Toy
This rope net by Niteangel is a multipurpose tool that your ferret will tremendously enjoy. It comes with metal clips to allow you to hang it from the top of the ferret’s cage, from where you can manipulate it.
For example, you can turn it into a ladder by hanging it vertically, a ramp by hanging it at an angle, and a hammock by stretching it horizontally. Therefore, you get to engage your pet’s climbing instinct while also providing them with a comfortable place to rest.
3. Niteangel Suspension Bridge
This suspension bridge by Niteangel is another toy that promises to be lots of fun for your ferret. Measuring 22 inches in length, it allows your pet to explore higher sections of its habitat while getting some exercise.
It is made of flexible metal wires and organic wood sticks, allowing you to bend it into a variety of angles and shapes. The organic wood ensures that no harm comes to your pet if they decide to chew on it.
4. Silent Runner Exercise Wheel
As mentioned, ferrets are boundless balls of energy, meaning that it can be extremely difficult to wear them down. Unfortunately, ferrets with pent-up energy tend to have behavioral problems. Fortunately, this exercise wheel might be all you need.
Technically, the Silent Runner Exercise Wheel is the equivalent of a treadmill to small critters. It features a dual ball-bearing design that prevents squeaking noises as your pet runs on it, which is an annoying issue that most exercise wheels have. Additionally, its lack of a center axle ensures that your pet cannot be entangled in the wheel.
Moreover, the Silent Runner’s heavy-duty construction means that it can take a beating, which is something that ferrets are more than willing to deliver.
Other noteworthy features include the textured surface that provides better traction to your ferret, as well as the solid rear wall that ensures that your pet is comfortable when running.
DIY Ferret Toys
It is incredibly easy to make toys for ferrets using basic household stuff. Nonetheless, you will need to be creative about it, as you want the toys to be enriching. The following are simple DIY ferret toy ideas to consider:
1. Cardboard Boxes
Like cats, ferrets are extremely fond of boxes, as they provide them with a seemingly secure place to hide or rest. You can use a couple of cardboard boxes to create an obstacle course for your pet, as seen in the picture above.
2. Paper Bags
If you do not feel like doing much, simply offer paper grocery bags to your ferret. Paper bags are somewhat the ideal toy for ferrets, as they allow them to exercise their two primal instincts: hiding and destroying.
As soon as your pet rips their paper bag to shreds, simply give them another one. Consider throwing in treats and ball toys to make it more interesting.
3. Tube Maze
Ferrets are drawn to tunnels instinctually because they remind them of burrows. And burrows mean shelter and hunting grounds to wild ferrets.
As you can imagine, your ferret will be beyond elated to have a toy that resembles a tunnel or burrow. Fortunately, tunnel toys are easy to make, as all you need is PVC pipe. You can get this pipe at your local hardware store.
Consider connecting several pipes to create a maze for your pet to solve.
4. Fishing Wand Toy
Like cats, ferrets will not hesitate to jump and capture potential prey out of the air. Fishing wands allow you to recreate such a scene in a controlled environment. Simply tie a feather or a toy to where the bait is supposed to be and let your pet try to jump and catch it.
You can make your own wand by using a long stick, a leather cord, and feathers or small animal toys such as a fish or mouse.
5. Dig Box
Digging is another thing that ferrets love doing. In the wild, they literally have to dig their prey out of the ground. This is why a dig box with treats hidden inside is such a remarkable source of enrichment to ferrets.
To construct your one, take a large plastic tub and make a big hole on its side that your pet will use for access. Next, fill up to three-quarters of the bin with ferret-friendly materials, such as sand, dried beans, or rice. If you decide to use rice, avoid instant rice, as it is toxic to ferrets.
Use a clear container, as it allows you to see the little rascal as they go about their business. Do not forget to throw in a few treats for your friend to dig out.
Ferret Toy Guidelines
As mentioned, these animals will play with just about anything. While that makes them somewhat easy maintenance, it also makes them susceptible to numerous risks. This is because they might end up playing with something that is hazardous to them. To prevent such risks, consider the following:
Ferrets are not only hyperactive but also extremely intelligent. And this is the reason why they make such charming pets. However, this also means that they require lots of enrichment to remain healthy and happy.
Fortunately, with the right toys, that should not be a problem. But you must prioritize safety. Therefore, make sure that you familiarize yourself with all the things that can be hazardous to ferrets.
Related Read: Do Ferrets Need a Friend? (Is a Human Companion Enough?)
Featured Image Credit: Couperfield, Shutterstock