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Ferret Care Guide

Ferret Care GuideTips for home, health and fun


5 things to know about your ferret

  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Size: Ferrets can grow up to 20 inches (50 cm) long
  • Lifespan: Ferrets can live from 7-9 years
  • Behavior: Ferrets are more active during the day; they sleep soundly, sometimes even while being picked up and carried around
  • Did You Know: They may have a very strong odor, particularly unaltered male ferrets.The English translation for the scientific name for ferret is "stinky thief"

How do I set up my ferret's home?

  • Social and inquisitive, ferrets can live happily in pairs or groups and can be litter-box trained.
  • Your ferret will need a well-ventilated, multilevel cage that's at least 30 x 29 x 18 inches (bigger if it houses multiple ferrets) and large enough to hold a food dish, a water bottle and a hiding house. The habitat should have separate areas for ferrets to exercise, sleep and use the litter box.
  • Place the habitat out of direct sunlight in a temperate, low-humidity room that's 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 Celsius).
  • Place a triangular litter pan in a corner of the cage, far from your ferret's food and water. Fill it with litter made of recycled-paper pellets.
Shop ferret cages Shop ferret bedding & litter

What do ferrets eat?

Your ferret's diet should include commercial pellet food and fruit.

  • Pellet food is ideal for ferrets, who otherwise would pick out the most delicious morsels of a mixed food. Pellets should make up 95% of your ferret's diet. Feed your ferret once a day, keeping the bowl about three-quarters full.
  • Once a week, offer your ferret fruit such as apple, banana and melon, or other appropriate fruits. This should make up no more than 5% of their diet.
  • Be sure your ferret has access to fresh, clean water at all times.

How do I play with and groom my ferret?

Ferrets like a private area of their own. Get each of your ferrets a hammock or tent for sleeping and lounging.

Ferrets like to chew on hard plastic or cloth toys; they also enjoy "ferreting" out the best route through play tunnels.

For exercise, put ferrets in an escape-proof playpen or walk them on a leash.

Shop ferret toys & habitat accessories

How do I keep my ferret healthy?

Try not to handle new ferrets for 3 or 4 days after bringing them home to give them time to adjust.

Don't let ferrets play on mattresses or foam cushions, because they may be tempted to chew and swallow pieces of these soft items. For the same reason, never give ferrets toys made of soft rubber or foam.

Ferrets don't mix well with cats and dogs, so keep these species separate.

When your ferret has settled in, contact a veterinarian with small-animal experience if you notice any of these signs of stress or illness:

  • Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Bare patches in fur
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Sneezing; discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Diarrhea or discolored droppings


  • Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
  • Never grab the fur or tail.
  • Supervise children around pets.
  • ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you're not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.