Ferrets are incredibly playful creatures, but they’re also very intelligent (and mischievous)! It’s important to find ways to stimulate your ferret both mentally and physically, while making sure that they’re safe from harm.
Your ferret may sleep for up to 18 hours each day, but once they’re awake they’ll be ready to bounce off the walls, steal your things, escape through a small space, and swallow something they shouldn’t!
How to Keep Your Ferret Busy
Did you know that your ferret can be trained to walk on a harness and leash just like a dog? Many pet stores will sell harness and leash sets for ferrets in their small animal section. If your ferret has never walked on a leash before, start off slow to get them used to the feeling. You can let them wear the harness around the house while you play their favourite games or feed them their favourite food. Once they have gotten used to this, do the same again, but with the leash attached.
The next step is to try going for a little walk in your own backyard. Once you are confident that your ferret is comfortable with going for a walk, it’s time to go to the park! Just make sure your ferret is fully vaccinated, and avoid off-leash areas for your ferrets safety.
Ferrets love to dig, it’s a very natural behaviour for them! You can set up a small sand pit in your own yard, using a half shell childrens pool and play sand (available from Bunnings).
Running through tunnels is another natural behaviour that ferrets love to express. From short crinkly tunnels designed for cats, through to clear plastic tubes designed for ferrets, your ferret will have a fantastic time running through these at lightning speed. You may even see them wag their tail! Just be sure the tunnel isn’t so narrow that your ferret could get stuck.
Ball pits designed for ferrets are available online, however you can also purchase a childrens ball pit from Kmart. Ferrets love to bounce and wriggle through the colourful balls!
All you need for this is a safe area of your home, and your feet! Chase your ferret, and let them chase you. To up the stakes, squeeze a squeaky toy while you run. We bet you’ll get some dooks and a weasel wardance out of it!
All you need for this is a small blanket or towel. Cover your ferret, then suddenly rip the blanket away. Watch them jump for joy!
Magic Carpet Ride
Another easy game to play that just involves your feet and a towel. Choose a long area of your home, like a hallway. Place the towel on the floor, and your ferret on the towel. Now pick up two corners of the towel and run! Ferrets love a magic carpet ride as much as anyone.
This one is just for water babies (those ferrets who just love to get wet!). Water can be added to a half shell pool, along with floating toys, so that your ferret can splash around! The water should be shallow, as we don’t want to risk your ferret inhaling any. Never leave your ferret in the pool unattended. Alternatively, some ferrets will have just as much fun dancing in the shower!
Most cat toys can also be ferret toys! Crinkle sacks are popular due to the fun noise they make, and so are tunnels. Small balls or toy mice that contain a bell will catch your ferrets interest, as will a wand with a toy attached.
Many ferrets also like to climb scratching towers, but should always be supervised, as often they will try to jump once they get to the top. Never leave any toys with your ferret if there are small parts that they can chew off and swallow.
Many dog toys can be ferret toys too! A small Kong can be filled with meat or an egg yolk to give them a challenge, or if you feed kibble, a treat dispensing toy such a Bob-A-Lot can be used. Squeaky toys are also a huge hit, but anything made from rubber should not be used without supervision (ferrets love to chew and swallow rubber things!).
While there are not many commercially available ferret toys available in Australian pet shops, there are many options available to buy online. One brand with many options is Marshall Pet Products.
*** Always supervise your ferret when they are playing with a new toy, and don’t leave toys with your ferret unsupervised unless you’re sure that they are safe ***