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Articles | Comments Off on FRIENDS OF FERRETS

We would like to highlight the increasing problem involved in the housing and care of abandoned ferrets as well as the associated costs

If you are surprised to learn that ferrets need rescuing, consider this: ferrets are the third most popular pet in theUSAwhere there are 90 million pet cats; 75 million pet dogs and almost 2 million darling fuzzies. We do not have figures forAustraliabut because of similar circumstances we could assume that we have a like ratio percentage in our own pet distribution Ferrets face many of the challenges of their more popular brethren without the high profile

More ferrets are abandoned, neglected or given up every year. Our rescuers and carers report an upward trend in surrendered ferrets each year. They consider that if pet shops and backyard breeders continue to sell ferrets it will not be long before they are euthanased just like many cats and dogs.

Rescuers consider that uninformed, impulsive purchases are key problems. Too many people want the cute playful little kit, however if they are difficult to handle or have a health problem, or as they grow older some owners don’t want to keep them

In Australia we have the added problem in that some states have legislated against ferrets, any ferrets found by authorities in these states are confiscated and euthanased. As a result of these laws, ferret owners moving to these regions must part with their pets and unless new homes are found these ferrets can then become a further burden on the rescue service.

Cute but challenging;

Part of the problem is that ferrets are high maintenance; they can bite if improperly trained, or if they become distressed or frightened. They are curious and get up to all sorts of mischief, they can get crushed in sofa beds and rocker/recliner chairs and disappear into every nook and cranny not boarded up. Ferrets are without a doubt very serious little thieves; nothing is safe from their machinations and clever tactics.

They take to litter box training reasonably well but there are always the exception and sometimes accidents will occur.

Although they sleep 16 – 18 hours per day they require lots of attention and interaction with their humans and other ferrets when they are awake.

All that considered, it’s a wonder that they became so popular in the first place!

Some historians say that the ancient Egyptians used them as pets and ratters. It is known that ferrets were used to hunt rabbits in AncientRomeThey were taken to theBritish Islesby the Roman Soldiers and became both pets and hunters for the British Aristocracy.

Ferrets have been domesticated for more than 2000 years and are related to otters, badgers, skunks, minks ermines weasels and pine martens, all are members of the mustelid family. They are cute, quirky, clumsy and affectionate. When they get excited they dance on their back legs, roll tumble jump and wrestle; their wonderful war dance is a joy to behold… The perpetual 2 year old.

It is generally considered that a ferret’s life span ranges between 6 and 8 years. However, many of our members report having owned fuzzies who lived between 10 and 14 years – the latter is rare but does happen!

Ferrets are middle aged by the time they are 4yrs old and are prone to a number of illnesses including influenza caught from humans. Insuloma, Adrenal problems, Pancreatic tumors, and Cancer are among the serious health conditions in ferrets. Some researchers believe that some of these conditions are as a result of premature spaying or neutering and artificial lighting –the research continues.

Treatment is expensive and time consuming; for this reason re-homing ferrets of a certain age is very difficult Health challenges, more than anything are what make ferret rescue an emotionally wrenching, taxing avocation.

How can the average person help? How can you help?


You can help by-


  • Becoming a member of the V.F.S.-Your yearly contributions keep the society going.
  • Continuing your yearly membership fees and paying them in April each year.
  • You can join in any of our fund-raising activities
  • Support our small business ventures
  • Donate spare coins when things are going well for you.
  • Buy an extra bag of food for the rescues occasionally.
  • Adopt a rescue ferret if you are able.
  • Make sure that your knowledge is accurate and up to date.
  • Talk about and show your ferrets to others.
  • Educate family and friends; encourage and foster interest in these beautiful creatures.

Anyone with fund-raising ideas please let us know.