How-to: Ferret Acclimation

Ferret acclimation could be difficult and a bit tricky especially if you are going to introduce a new ferret to another ferret or ferrets that are established mainstays of your home. However, if it’s your first time to own a ferret and all you have to think of for now is to help them adjust to their new environment, the task could be less stressful and manageable as ferrets are known to be very adaptive to new surroundings.

Even though ferrets could acclimate easily, you still have to be responsible enough and know certain factors to make the process of ferret acclimation more convenient for them. If your new ferret is a rescue ferret, this means the animal has been to another household before and had already experienced human interaction. Acclimating a rescued ferret could be quite tricky as you are not quite sure about its history, it could either go along just fine or could be quite in control. Ask the shelter staff about the ferret’s background to get an idea on how to make them well adjusted to their new environment.

ferret lying on a swing ferret acclimation

Photo: Micah Sittig | Flickr

If your ferret is a young one acquired from the pet store, things could be pretty smoother in helping them get accustomed to your home, but still make the necessary adjustments because some ferrets are unpredictable.

Here are some tips for ferret acclimation

  • It is normal for any animal to experience stress when they are transported to a new place. Not all animals react the same when they are in a moving object, some get really dizzy while some are just fine. If you’re ferret is not feeling well, let them rest immediately when they arrived at your place. Give them time to relax and calm down.
  • Almost all kinds of animals experience anxiousness whenever they are brought to unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces. This anxiousness leads to stress and it is important to give them time to slowly adjust to their new surroundings. Ferrets are known to adjust easily to a new household but it would still take an effort from your to help them completely adjust.
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First, you have to make them adjust and become familiar with the area of your home where you want them to stay often, otherwise, they will find their own area and you will have a hard time training them to stay in a particular place.

  • Remember that ferrets will tend to bite when they are in a very stressful situation. It is important that prior to acquiring your new pet, you already have prepared for the supplies they will need. These important ferret supplies include a large cage, feeding supplies, ferret food, ferret recreational stuff, and other important things they need. Ask the pet store or the shelter to give you some ferret food they are accustomed to eat so that when they get home, they will not have a hard time adjusting to feeding.
  • Do not rush things, getting adjusted to a new place and new people are quite a big change for your new animal. Petting them and playing vigorously may not seem to be a good idea for a new ferret who may still feel uncertain about the new environment. Forcing so may bring a bad ferret behavior that you might not want. If you have kids at home who are eager to play with the new ferret, ask them to hold it off for now as the new ferret needs time to adjust and to get to know them. If you have other pets at home, don’t let them come near the ferret for the mean time.
  • Interacting with the new ferret must be done in a gentle manner. Never pick up a ferret when it is under stress as it will be displeased and defend itself through biting and scratching. They will just wiggle and might fall off the floor causing them injury. When you visit them in their cage, sit on the floor and observe them. Call them with the name you provide them in a soothing and calm voice. Offer them a treat by putting some near the bars of the cage. Wait until they come for the treat and then start giving them more from your hands.
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Every animal needs to feel that they are safe in their new environment. You will recognize that they are well adjusted and that your method for ferret acclimation worked when they start to respond to your call or they become excited when you visit them. They will start playing in the cage and will show eagerness to get out of the cage. Once they get accustomed, you can start introducing them to the members of your family as well as introducing them with your other pets at home if you have any.

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