Behavior and Training

Image of a ferret chewing on a toy.

Ferrets have powerful, distinct and engaging personalities, and a playful and fastidious nature. Ferrets are diurnal creatures with their periods of greatest activity just before sunrise and shortly after sunset. They sleep about eighteen to twenty hours of the day, waking up twice a day for very active periods of about two hours. Due to their very high metabolism, ferrets also awaken roughly every four hours for a few minutes to eat, relieve themselves, and play briefly. When they wake, ferrets shiver very noticeably for periods up to twenty minutes. This is normal as the ferret is increasing his body temperature after sleep due to his higher metabolism and inherently higher body temperature. As burrow-living animals, ferrets require a dark, quiet place to sleep. The most suitable bedding are old towels, sweaters, pants and the like in which they can roll up or bury themselves.

Ferrets are extremely curious and will investigate anything and everything. This curiosity is the leading cause of premature death among ferrets. It is important to supervise your ferret at all times when he is at play. If you allow your ferrets to roam about your home, never close refrigerators, washers, driers, etc. without first ensuring no ferrets are exploring the interior or roosting within.

Litter Training

Ferrets are latrine animals and prefer to use a specific area for this purpose. Generally, a ferret will relieve himself within a few minutes of waking up. Being small predators, ferrets would be in the middle of the food chain in the wild, so their instinct is to find a sheltered corner as a latrine. All these things make it possible to litter train a ferret with considerable success.
The ferret should have a litter box or paper placed in a corner near his nest or in his cage and be confined to the nest/litter area until after he has relieved himself. Afterwards, he can be released to play in the rest of the home as he will not relieve himself again until after his next sleep. The size of the nest/litter area can slowly be expanded as the ferret learns to use a specific area for a latrine, much like paper training a puppy. As a precaution, a litter box can be placed in a secluded, out-of-sight corner of each room for the ferret's use as these are his natural preferences. The use of a fine, dust-free, clumping litter in a litter box or newspapers is suggested. Remember to clean up daily.

Play (Nipping)

Ferrets are very playful animals, much like kittens or puppies who never grow up. They have many behaviors related to play and play "hunting" which confuse or even frighten people unfamiliar with ferret body language. The most common action is a "war dance" where the ferret arches his back, throws his head back with fangs bared, often bushing up his tail, and maniacally bounces forward, backwards, sideways, while chittering away. As seemingly mad as this dance may seem, it is only a challenge to come down to his level and play. If you imitate his actions, he will become more frenzied (hard to imagine though this may seem) and start chasing you, stop suddenly, turn, and run: Now its your turn to chase him. Another common message is pawing the ground while semiprone: This is a challenge to a fight or hunt. Paw the ground yourself, and he will jump at you, then retreat. A few more bouts of pawing and jumping, and he will attack your hand or wrist, wrestling it down and attempting to kill it.

All ferrets have an affinity for people and want to include their parents in their play which is a major bounding component in a ferret's life. Due to his extremely strong jaws and small, sharp teeth, a young ferret can break a person's skin during these games. Ferrets have thick fur and skin which protects them when they play together and it takes a while for them to realize that we have no fur and only thin skin which is no protection. Once they realize that they are hurting us, ferrets modify their play so as not to do any damage. This rough play is part of a ferret's life, especially when young. Nipping, pinching the skin hard without breaking it, is another invitation to play. Some kits never nip at all, but most that do will eventually outgrow this tendency as ferrets do mellow with age.

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8:30 am-8:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

8:45 am-2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "Words can not begin to express our gratitude for the care you had given Hunter over the years. When his time came, he watched for you to come through the door and his tail showed his affection towards you. That was most comforting having you there. Thank you.""
    ~R.H
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Maggie over the years. Y'all are the best and Dr. Johnson, you are the best vet in the world! God bless you all.""
    ~ J.D.
  • ""Your care for my beloved Mattie these last 10n years made her life, and mine much better….God bless each of you for all you did for us and I'm sure for all your other two and four legged patients.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""Thank you for saving my life." ~T.C."
    ~T.C.
  • ""I can not express how grateful I am for you and your staff… I appreciate everything you did in Beckham's treatment. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on his side. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of all our beloved pets.""
    ~L.B.
  • ""Dr. Johnson - There are no words that can truly capture your kindness.""
    ~G.B.
  • ""Thank you for the great care you took of Taco and the rest of our family. He is doing great now! He is enjoying running and playing with all four legs again.""
    ~W.C
  • ""People who avail themselves of your services at the clinic certainly are blessed to have such a caring staff....bless you and your devoted staff.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""A sincere thank you for taking such good care of Dulce. We are so thrilled that she is back to her normal self. You gave her the support and care she needed in her darkest hours and kept us confident in her recovery.""
  • ""Just to say how much we appreciate all of you. You all are wonderful people. We feel blessed to have our beloved furry children in your care when they need it. Your professional knowledge and your acts of kindness have a beautiful act all it's own. You are a great vet, compassionate and everything good all in one. You are in our daily prayers.""
    ~T.F.
  • ""Thank you and all of your staff for the excellent care you gave to my wonderful Abbey, who was so much a part of the family. Thank you for all the advice and support you gave to me these last few months. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without your constant support. I will, and I have highly recommended you to family and friends, as I feel you are the best!""
    ~P.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking care of my kitty, Slingshot. He is feeling better and better. My Paw-Paw said that you took extra special care of him and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for taking care of my cat.""
    ~T.B. (age 6)
  • ""Dr. Johnson, I don't know why you decided to move here from your home in New Jersey, but I absolutely believe it was so you could help me and Mickey. I know coming to someone's home is not what a typical veterinarian would do, but you are obviously an extraordinary man in a world filled with ordinary men….On top of that, your sensitive and wonderful handwritten note arrived and touched my heart…You are one of those quiet, unheralded champions who make life easier for everyone you touch.""
    ~C.W.
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Lola when she had her reaction, and your office was already closed. I know you took time away from yourself and your family and I really appreciate it.""
    ~R.M.
  • ""Thank you for giving me more time with my best friend. We are all so grateful.""
    ~A.M.
  • ""Thank you for all of your support for Maxine during her illness. All was very much appreciated and will always be remembered. I have related to all my friends of what a great doctor and staff at Birdneck Animal Hospital.""
    ~O.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking such good care of me over the last 4 years. I am doing well and both legs and feet feel great. You sis an awesome job on me Dr. Johnson, and I'm gonna have a great year this year and I hope to see you only for my check up. You guys are the best!""
    ~Budkus
  • "We can't thank you enough for the wonderful and loving care you gave to"Budkus" while he was in your care. He was so little and so sick and we were so scared for him. Each and every one of the staff members made us feel like we had the only dog in the world. Like nothing else mattered except getting "Budkus" well again. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for the excellent care and attention we received, for your encouragement, comfort, and understanding, and most importantly for saving his life! Thank you so much.""
    ~ J.,B.,C.