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Ferret-proof Your House


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Monday, 27 de April 2009

Ferret-proof Your House
It is important to ferret-proof your house to protect your ferret as well as your things.

Ferrets are curious animals that love to explore and they use all they have in their favor to do it: paws, size, teeth, etc. Digging, hiding and biting are the most problematic issues with ferrets, not only because they may damage precious items, but especially because they can die doing it.

Major concerns:

Furniture – When you don’t know where your ferret is, make sure he’s not under the sofa before you sit down. If you sofa can convert into bed, cover the bottom, so that the ferret can’t hide in it or dig his way through it. Also avoid bookcases and high furniture, since ferrets like to climb them but usually they don’t find a way down and simply jump to descend.

Windows – Never let an open window when the ferret is unleashed. Like cats, ferrets may fall over and die.

Carpets – Ferrets love to dig and if you have a carpet it is likely that they hide beneath it. Be careful, because you might step on it and hurt the animal.

Appliances – Ferrets can fit anywhere as long as it has the size of their heads. They can hide inside the dishwasher, washer or dryer and you can accidentally turn it on, killing the animal. Besides this, they can also chew electrical wires. Ferrets are also suckers for refrigerators and stoves so it’s best to close these rooms and not let the ferret go inside. If you prefer, you can instead block the bottom and back of every appliance you have with wood.

Air ducts are often escape routes to the outdoors. Unlike cats and dogs, ferrets can’t survive in the city on their own: they are fearless and may try to attack a dog that eventually hunts them; due to their small size, they may be easily run over by a car; in the city the food sources for ferrets are sparse. Besides that, ferrets aren’t able to find their way home.

Chewing - foam rubber, soft rubber, couch stuffing, sponge, Styrofoam, paper, plastic bags, cardboard and fabric are dangerous for ferrets, since they can cause intestinal blockage and death if ingested. This includes shoes with rubber soles, regular rubbers, remote controls with rubber buttons, sofas’ stuffing and virtually everything they can get their mouth or paws in.

Cleaning up products and medications – These must be stored in the top cabinets with childproof latches to prevent the access. However, not all childproof latches work with ferrets since they are a lot smaller and get into tiny spaces. If those latches don’t work, use magnets or Velcro. The key is to keep the door immovable.

Bathroom – Keep the lid down and the soap out of reach.

Plants – For the health of the plants and the ferret, these should be kept out of reach. Most house plants are poisonous to ferrets; however, even if they’re not, the animal will dig in the vase and not only make a mess but also kill the plant. Some poisonous plants:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Amaryllis
  • Apple (seeds)
  • Apricot (pit)
  • Avocado
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Carnation
  • Hemlock
  • Marijuana
  • Mushrooms
  • Narcissus
  • Oleander
  • Onion
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb
  • Tulip
  • Wisteria

Little things:

  • Cut the cardboard of the toilet paper in half. Ferrets get their heads stuck in the cardboard and they can suffocate. 
  • Remove the knick-knacks from the room where the ferret can be at ease.
  • Close the trash can very well 
  • When you leave the house or go to bed, cage your ferrets for their own protection.

A good way to verify all this is to put your ferret on a leash and walk him around the house. If you see him react suddenly, then put yourself in his shoes and try to discover what hole or object is intriguing him. Ferrets are persistent so the only way to stop any curious behavior is to remove the source of curiosity. 

You don’t need to make all parts of the house ferret-proof. You can block the access to some divisions like kitchen or bathroom by closing the door and blocking the way in with ferret-proof barriers. You only need to do this when you release the ferret from the cage. In parallel, prepare a safe room for ferrets where they can play without constant supervision.
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