Ferrets and Children

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Many people consider one or more ferrets as wonderful pets. If you ever wanted to get a ferret for your family, there are things to consider that you might not have thought about.

They bite. If you introduce one to your family, you will need relentless supervision to keep your child safe. Even when locked up, a carelessly locked cage might mean tragedy for your child.

Ferrets are nippers and it is their nature to bite. The first research I did on ferrets included an account of a ferret biting seven fingers off of an infant’s hands.

They must be trained not to bite and do not know that it hurts you. Ferrets retaliate when you or your child handle them roughly and they will bite repeatedly. Is it worth taking a chance with your child’s well being?

Regulations. Many places have laws and regulations about the keeping of ferrets. You might need a license or permit. Some places only allow neutered male ferrets. In Carson City, Nevada, it is illegal to own a ferret in any home where small children are present. Study the laws carefully before getting one of them.

Cost. The attaining and cost of raising a ferret is high. Besides food, they need shots, including rabies shots. You need to spay or neuter them, pay for ongoing veterinary care, and pay for licenses and fees. Also, consider the cost of supplies. They need a large cage that locks securely.

Easy to accidentally kill. It is easy to accidentally kill a ferret. A careless step, or a child’s bottom setting down at the wrong moment can crush a ferret to death. Think of your child’s feelings if he should be the one responsible for the death of a pet.

Other animals. Ferrets hunt. If you have a bird, rabbit, rodent like a mouse or rat, a lizard, or even a fish, you will have to be constantly vigilant or it may end up as a ferret lunch.

Training. A ferret is not like a cat. It will go anywhere unless you train it to use a litter box. This takes some time and care, starting with a litter box in a cage.

Ferret proof your home. A ferret can get into a lot of mischief in your house. They fit in small places. Block holes and protect electrical plugs, cords, and outlets.  They like to chew on furniture and may set up housekeeping in your couch.

Put locks on cabinets and drawers or make them hard to open. Keep toilet lids down or they might try to swim and drown. Again, constant vigilance is the order of the day.

Be safe. I don’t think all the risks and the constant state of alertness needed when you own a ferret are worth it. It may be better to wait until your children are teens if your heart is set on getting one.

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