by Ashley Hentz
These four little ferrets live in the same household as the two rabbits down below. However, their human makes sure that everyone is safe when the others are out playing.
Ferrets are crafty, intelligent animals with a high prey drive. It is a common misconception that ferrets belong to the rodent family. They are actually part of the weasel family and are obligate carnivores. Ferrets are still used to hunt rabbits and rodents in some parts of the world. When you own ferrets and other small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, small rodents, birds, reptiles, etc.), precautions must be taken to ensure their safety.
Ferrets are notorious for escaping their own cages and have been known to open the cages of other animals, oftentimes resulting in tragedy. It is extremely important to secure all cage doors with appropriate locks. It is also essential to supervise a ferret when he or she is given time out of the cage. Ideally, your rabbit or other small pet will be removed from the room. However, if this is not possible, then the ferret must be watched closely. Ferrets are very persistent and will even nip another animal through the cage. Unlike a cat or dog, ferrets are nearly (if not completely) impossible to train out of their prey drive. They also seem able to access virtually any area, regardless of how well it is barricaded. Most ferrets can climb reasonably well; they often jump from furniture to clear an obstacle; they are persistent diggers; and their small, narrow bodies allow them to slip into unexpected areas. Many ferrets can even work their way under doors with small gaps or into walls through small holes or vents.
"Mom always makes sure we are safe when the ferrets are out."
While ferrets make great, loving pets for the right people, they are never to be fully trusted. They are mischievous animals who always keep their owners on guard. This can be an endearing trait to some, but dangerous if you have prey animals in the house. There is no one specific way to ferret-proof a home because ferrets constantly test their boundaries and incessantly work to find ways into everything they are kept out of. Knowing this, an owner who chooses to keep both prey animals and predators in the same house must constantly work to ensure the animals are kept safe. Due to the ferret’s playful nature, many owners believe he or she is merely playing with their pet rabbit when they are put together. This is actually an extremely stressful and dangerous situation for the rabbit, who naturally fears predatory animals. What looks like play from a ferret can quickly turn dangerous or even deadly. It is crucial that you never allow your ferret and rabbit to interact directly. If you are not able to supervise, the animals should be kept in separate rooms or securely locked in their own separate cages. With a cautious, responsible owner, these pets can be kept in the same home without a problem. The owner must realize the risks and recognize and resolve any potential dangers the ferret may pose to their small pet.
Copyright 2009 Ashely Hentz
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