I didn't know when my wife asked me to take her to the mall, we'd come home with a baby ferret (called a kit). For me, I thought we'd zip in and out (a husband's dream), maybe catch dinner and see a movie at the local multiplex, my wife had other ideas. A close friend of hers had shown her a picture of a ferret, cute, cuddly, inquisitive, and my wife decided. "I have to have one".
What's a husband to do except follow along and break out the credit card when asked. I did learn a bit on the fateful afternoon, and while I'm not a ferret expert, I'm hopeful my experience can help you make your own baby ferret choice an enjoyable day out with the wife (good luck guys). FERRET FACT: The scientific name for the domesticated ferret is "Mustela furo"; they are a member of the weasel family (polecat, mink, ermine, and otter). Historical records state the first ferrets came to the USA well over 300 years ago and were used primarily for rodent control. Step one in our journey to furry ferret land, where can you find a ferret? Pet stores, local breeders, classified ads, humane shelters are some among the places to check, with my first choice being the humane shelters. We all need a helping hand sometimes, no different for a displaced ferret.
However my wife insisted on a baby ferret, her biological clock is ticking so the pet store was our (actually her) first choice. I grimaced quietly knowing if we walked out with a little bundle of ferret joy, I'd have spent around $200 (prices vary depending on your location) on a furry ferret and his necessities. Be certain to ask about the personality of your (or her) choice, since ferrets, just like "man's best friend" can vary significantly with one enjoying a good snuggle and another wriggling their way to freedom whenever held. That's not to say there are evil ferrets, just a variety of personalities. You'll need to consider a "litter box", yep, comes with the territory, guys and the fact your furry ferret bundle will need to be "nip trained".
These nips aren't meant to hurt you, but biting is part of their nature, having tough skin and used to rough play. You (and your lovely assistant with the smooth skin) might not take these nips in the spirit intended. Plan your ferret "nip training" early and often, refrain from smacking them on the nose (anger management class might help), rather answering their nip with a LOUD NOISE.
There are other methods and my wife insisted I try bitter apple spray, tiring quickly from my LOUD. yells. I'm a firm believer in positive reinforcement, and the pet store owner (I'm taking him OFF my Christmas card list) told me to never let go, even if the little bugger gives me a good nip, rather to reward him/her with praise and a treat when performances equal expectations. I'm not a vet, and neither was the pet store owner (he was a good salesman) but I knew enough to look for apparent signs of good health; clear eyes, smooth coat and most important, that alert and inquisitive personality that has caused ferrets to be our friends since the time of the Pharaohs.
We walked out of the store with a new pet who'd (in short order) become part of our family living his life (9 to 10 years on average) in the comfort of suburbia. Now then dear, how about that movie?.
Lee Dobbins writes for Epet Pet Center where you can learn more about all types of pets, including the Ferret.