How much exercise does a ferret need?

The first posts of this website are all dedicated to learning about ferrets and things to be aware of before you bring your new pet home for the first time. In the last article we covered some basic things about ferret safety when they are outside their cages.

In this article we are going to talk about the fun times your ferret spends outside of its cage. The main consideration is understanding some of the body language and signals ferrets use to communicate.

Ferrets really enjoy playtime in fact it is important for their health.According to

Ferrets should have at least four hours out of their cage each day, and you should spend at least two hours of that interacting with them. Ferrets that spend too much time in their cage and not enough time playing tend to be obese, lazy, and have poor muscle tone.

In addition to their playtime requirements, ferrets have a few unusual behaviors that may look a little weird to people used to interacting with cats or dogs.

We go over some of the similarities and differences between ferrets and a more traditional pet like a cat or dog. While it is possible that you do not own other pets besides ferrets we feel that comparing them to more common animals is a good way to add context.

Ferret Playtime Behaviors

One way that ferrets are similar to puppies and kittens is their propensity for biting and nipping. It is important to reinforce good behavior and discourage biting early on in your ferret’s life. Once they’re older they can still be trained but it is more difficult to break them of the habit. because ferrets can be a little rough when they play it is important to supervise them when they are interacting with children or other pets in the first months that they are in your home.

When ferrets play they like to bounce around. This is an invitation for you to come play with them. Ferrets will sometimes bare their teeth in a way that looks like a snarl. When dogs exhibit this behavior it is generally a show of aggression. however this is a playful and fun behavior when a ferret does it.

Another behavior that may give you some pause is a ferret puffing up its tail. In cats this behavior is very aggressive and it is a way they communicate that they want you to back off. In this case also, puffing up their tail should be understood as the ferret having a fun time. Some dogs also puff up the hair along their spine and above the shoulder blades up their front set of legs. This is generally a show of excitement but it can mean that they are feeling aggressive as well.

Exercise Activities

Ferrets are quite interesting when it comes to playtime. They are a mix of cat and dog really. On the whole, they enjoy the following activities:

  • playing tag
  • chasing a small toy on a string
  • wrestling with your hand or arm, be careful of biting
  • running outside in the grass, be sure to use a harness

Ferrets and Speed Bumping

Some ferrets like to do an interesting thing that is commonly known as “speed bumping.” This is when a ferret could be in the middle of a fun play session jumping around and running and they simply stop and lie down on the floor holding completely still. Since they are long and narrow animals, they look somewhat like a speed bump on the road when they do this.

When the ferret does this they believe that they are camouflage and not visible to whoever else is in the room. It is up to you how you would like to react to this. It is fun to play along and pretend that you cannot see the ferret. each parent is different though so you will have to feel out the situation and see if your ferret responds better to being “found” or remaining invisible.

That’s it for this article! We hope you enjoyed it. Our next article will discuss ferret feeding plans.

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