Shelter, Compassion, Outreach, Education
Q. Where can I get a ferret?
A. Ferrets only breed in the summer months so for most of the year young ferrets are not available. From June onwards young are born and should not be removed from their mother until at least 7 weeks old. Young ferrets are often advertised in local papers and shop windows.
Older ferrets make great pets too. Ferrets are notorious for running away and do not know how to find their way home. Small animal shelters and the SSPCA are usually the best source for older ferrets. A small donation to the charity is usually required.
Q. How long do ferrets live?
A. Ferrets usually live between 6 and 8 years although there are many reports of ferrets living to 10 or 12 years.
Q. Do ferrets smell?
A. Yes, intact ferrets smell. However, if a ferret is spayed or neutered the smell is no worse than any other household pets.
Q. Do ferrets bite?
A. Yes, like any animal ferrets can bite. However, like all animals with consistent good handling a ferret is no more likely to bite than a cat or dog. Ferrets play bite with each other, as kittens they learn the limits of how hard they can bite and still play. All ferrets have to learn the limits and once this has been achieved they will no longer bite. Like all animals if a ferret is hurt or frightened they may bite an unsuspecting human. Respect them and the will not bite you.
Q. Is it true that female ferrets (jills) will die if not mated?
A. Yes, once a jill comes into season, if steps are not taken to bring her out of season there is every chance that the animal will die.
Q. How do I get my female ferret out of season?
A. There are 4 ways to bring a jill out of season.
Mate her with a male ferret. This will produce up to 14 baby ferrets that will need to be found new homes. Mating, pregnancy and nursing are all stressful for a jill and there are many things that
can go wrong. Unless good homes can be found for the kits and you have a lot of experience raising young animals this option is best avoided.
Mate her with a vasectomised hob (male ferret). These hobs have had the "snip" and act like a normal male but can not get the female pregnant. It is the mating act that brings the female out of season, not being impregnated.
The "jill jab" is a hormone injection available from the vet that stops the jill coming into season or if used after the season starts brings the jill out of season. There can be side effects with the jill jab. Some females do not come out of season, others have bad reactions, it can even be fatal. That said it is generally a safe method and ideal for those who either can not afford for the jill to be spayed or for those who plan on breeding the jill at a later date.
Spaying - the best option for any jill who is not to be used for breeding is to be spayed. Most small animal vets will carry out this surgery for the same price as a cat or rabbit. Modern anaesthetics are very safe and once carried out there should be no further breeding complications. As an added bonus the jill will lose most of her ferret odor.
Source: Scottish Ferret Club