The Energizer Bunny falls flat when you compare it to your ferret’s energy levels. He will hop around, jump from one place to another, and suddenly speed up when there is a toy in sight. It will make you wonder if something is wrong with him, but these energy bursts are part of their personality.
Therefore, you need to offer him numerous ways to invest in this innate vitality, so he can continue to bring happiness in your life. Let’s talk about what ferrets like to play with and the best toys available for them.
Playfulness Is Part Of Its Nature
Ferrets are adorable and furry little creatures that belong to the Mustelidae family, such as weasels, badgers, and otters, although some people still classify them as rodents. Due to their mischievous and curious nature, they are excellent companions and will offer endless entertainment to you and your family.
No day will ever be dull when you have a ferret in your home. You may be sitting peacefully on your couch or bed when suddenly, a dark speck comes out of nowhere and starts frolicking around with reckless abandon. Or he will do his “war dance” to grab your attention and initiate playtime.
It is important to know that ferrets usually spend most of the day sleeping and are more active at night. Your ferret snoozes approximately 16 to 20 hours a day and can fall in a slumber so deep that it would scare you on certain occasions.
Ferrets are, sometimes, called “death sleepers” and they live up to their reputation. Some people refer to them as nocturnal animals but are crepuscular beings since they are highly keen at dawn and dusk.
Ferrets love to climb, jump, sprint, and play around whenever they have the opportunity. Additionally, they are extremely social and enjoy playing with their owners and other ferrets.
Veterinarians recommend about four hours of playtime outside their cages so they can exercise and explore their surroundings. This will promote your ferret’s physical and mental health and ultimately, reinforce a better quality of life.
How To Play With A Ferret?
It is uncommon for a ferret to play or frolic for four consecutive hours. Generally, they play around for an hour or so, and then take a nap to rest and replenish their energy. Because of this, you can interact with your beloved friend on your schedule.
For example, you can let him out of his cage in the morning when you wake up, place him inside when you go to work, and then take him out once again upon returning to your house. Since he will sleep most of the day anyway and does prefer calm environments, you do not require a caretaker in the meantime.
However, supervision is necessary because they are highly curious, and accidents do tend to happen when they are allowed to roam around in your house. Even more, you should ferret-proof the area where your ferret plays to ensure its safety.
Since friskiness is an innate trait in ferrets and they enjoy rough-playing, there are various games you can apply to spend fun moments and quality time with your energetic ball of fur.
Create A Unique Bond
Ferrets engage in a lot of cuddling and adore all the attention they receive from their owners. You can carry your ferret in your hands or inside the pockets of your hoodie as you do certain tasks in your house. Remember to pick him up from the belly and avoid its tail since you can harm him by accident.
You can also place him in your lap while you are on the floor or your bed. Petting his head, belly rubs, and soft scratches do wonders to your ferret. They love being pampered and sometimes fall asleep from the soothing gestures.
Always try to speak in a gentle voice and engage with him on a daily basis, like saying good morning or telling him that he is the best pet in the world. Reduce aggressive language since he can become frightened and wary of your presence.
A Game Of Tag Or Chasing
As said previously, ferrets love to roam freely, and a game of tag is the ideal game for them. It is best to ferret-proof the area when you are going to play tag. You start by placing your ferret on the floor and running away from him so he will attempt to chase you.
Have rewards available to promote good behavior as you play around. After many attempts of chasing you down, he will easily learn and then run away so you are the one chasing him. Your ferret might even try to touch or jump on you before escaping to play tag since they learn quickly.
Sometimes, your ferret might nibble on your feet as he chases you around. Therefore, you can use a worn-out blanket so he will bite it instead of your feet or try to train him to bite softer and show him that his bites hurt you.
Tug Of War
If you own a ferret, you will understand when I say that ferrets are relentless when they want to play. They will jump around you, follow you everywhere, and even resort to nipping if all else fails to grab your attention. Thus, playing tug of war is another efficient way to play with him.
Use a towel or a toy and allow him to grab it from one end while you pull from the other side. Your ferret will pull back away to “overpower” you. You should pull with enough strength to provide a challenge for your ferret while reducing the risk of harming his teeth.
Take Him For A Walk
Taking your ferret for a walk is another approach to grant him physical activity every once in a while. However, you should practice indoors beforehand by placing a leash on your ferret for a couple of minutes.
Do this for about three days before actually taking your ferret outside for a trial test. 10 to 20 minutes are sufficient enough to provide your ferret adequate exercise.
Remember that ferrets are prone to human diseases, like influenza, so you should limit his exposure to outside stimulus every time you take him out.
Some owners ask themselves what ferrets like to play with, and you can use essentially anything that puts your ferret’s mind to the test. You can design a maze or create tunnels using tubes and objects available in your house.
Placing treats inside or rewarding him after completing a maze will provide countless hours of playing. Some owners even use clickers to grab their attention and time them as they find ways to escape from a maze.
You can also use a cardboard box or hide his toys to entertain him in a different way. A box filled with packing peanuts and a couple of toys hidden inside make a ferret very happy and enthusiastic when he searches for his toys.
Additionally, you can hide behind a door or under a blanket and call his name to engage in some hide-and-seek mechanics. Some ferrets are quick to follow and then hide so you are the one looking for them.
What Kind Of Toys Do Ferrets Like?
When selecting a toy for your ferret, safety must always be the top priority in your mind. Ferrets like to chew objects, which makes choking and swallowing a health hazard. Additionally, if your ferret swallows a piece of plastic, it can cause his digestive tract to twist and produce life-threatening issues.
For this reason, you must avoid small toys or any object that contains loose elements. Even more, toys made of rubber or latex is easily chewed and swallowed. You must also refrain your ferret from coming in contact with these types of toys as well.
The best options for ferret-friendly toys are the ones that are made with hard and sturdy plastic, like some cat and parrots toys. Ferrets love playing in tunnels so you can also purchase ferret tubes or PVC pipes to place them inside their cage or to build a maze. Heavy ropes and stuffed toys with squeakers are other great choices to entertain your ferret.
Some pet companies have created ferret balls that allow your ferret to climb inside of them and roll around with reckless abandon. Who needs to go to a carnival when you have a persistent bumper car roaming around in your house.
Other toy options include paper bags, cardboard boxes, bells, stuffed animals, and teething rings. In other words, you must use your ingenuity to match your ferret’s energy levels, and from this moment forward, it is game night every single day.
Remember that you ferret does not need high commodities to be happy. He just require someone who can give him all the love and affection in order to feel special. Hence, you should always try to spend quality time with your furry friend because unconditional love is hard to find. Sometimes, pets are the only ones that can offer that!