How Many Ferrets To Pet?
One ferret can be happy and content in a cage as long as he also gets a lot of playtime out of the cage every day. If you have a busy schedule and our ferret isn’t going to get out as often as he should, you may want to consider having two or three ferrets. In fact, I advise that all ferret homes have at least two fuzzies. (If you’re already caring for one fert, two ferts aren’t that much different. And neither three. In fact, three is probably a perfect ferret number.)
Almost all altered ferrets get along with another altered ferrets with little or no problem (see Figure 4-2). Although ferrets have a deep rooted solitary instinct, most ferrets view other ferrets as littermates and play bop around accordingly. As usual, there are exceptions.
I’ve heard of many stories where a fert became severely depressed when his long-term cage mate died. The best thing to do for the grieving fert, in my opinion, is to get another ferret as soon as possible. Here’s where always having three ferts comes in handy. Having three means the loss of the one fert will never leave another fert completely alone, and you’ll have more time to bring another fert into your life and the life of the surviving ferts. But that’s just my opinion, and some people think I’m nuts.
Ferrets aren’t territorial to the extent dogs are, but they are territorial critters by nature. In the wild, polecats mark out territories and chase off other polecats of the same gender. In a cage, ferrets have little, itty-bitty microterritories and squabble over seemingly insignificant things. While they usually share just about everything from the water bottle to the litter box to the sock stolen right off your foot, they do make claims to certain things and even stuff like a section on their bed. So if you already have one ferret and are considering adding another, do so with some caution:
*Introduce new furballs in neutral territories with neutral toys, just to be sure there’s no bad chemistry.
*Keep in mind that an older ferret may not find the antics and energy of a kit or an adolescent as amusing as you do. On the other hand, a younger ferret may be just what the doctor ordered for the sometimes lazy and depressed carpet shark, assuming no serious illness is going on.
*It’s not unusual for the more dominant ferret to act a little bullyish and make the first tackle. They may screech at each other with humped backs and roll each other for a moment or two. Tails may get puffed like pipe cleaners or bottle brushes. One may take all the toys and stockpile them in a guarded corner or hidey-hole. These aren’t unusual acts associated with introductions.
*Watch for the warning signs of true aggression, like ongoing screeching and puffed tails. There should be little to no screeching, and tails should return to normal size within 10 minutes of the initial meeting. If one or both ferts is doing more biting and screaming than playing after 5 or 10 minutes, then call it a day and try later.