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Thread: Comparing rats and ferrets

  1. #1

    Comparing rats and ferrets

    I see no one has been on this thread for awhile, but am still hoping someone may be able to help.

    We have female rats and are familiar with them but have never had ferrets.

    (We also have extensive experience with rabbits - in case that applies.)

    I was wondering if anyone out there has experience both with rats and with ferrets. If so, I'd like your opinion on ferrets, perhaps using rats as a means of comparison.

    Ferrets are on my 'consideration list' for a future pet.


  2. #2

    Re: Comparing rats and ferrets

    I also considered getting a ferret, and from what I've seen from my cousin's ferret, they're more like cats than anything. Pretty hyper, require a good amount of space and playtime (I've been told they're like dogs in terms of how energetic they tend to be), etc. They're also pretty musky, which is fine if you're okay with that kind of smell.

    My cousin's ferret was pretty nippy, too. She had to buy him plenty of toys to keep him occupied.

    They're absolutely nothing like rats.

  3. #3

    Re: Comparing rats and ferrets

    Ferrets sleep most of the time, and when they aren't sleeping they want to go, go, go! They're not really lap pets, but more into exploring. They use a litter box but don't really bury their poop, so cleaning the litter box lots is a must. Because of their love for exploring and playing, it's not really fair to keep them caged all day. You need to devote time to letting them out to have fun. Ferrets have short lives. I think most every ferret eventually develops adrenal problems or cancer. Our ferrets lived to be around 6 or 7, if I'm remembering correctly.

    Rats are another active animal. They are fine with being held and generally like and are interested in people, but they want to explore as well! Still, because they are small, you can really trick out their habitat with lots of toys and interesting things, which is harder to do with ferrets because of their size. Rats, too, have short lives. Many rats eventually develop tumors and/or a respiratory ailment called "myco". Our rats lived to be around 3 to 4.

  4. #4

    Re: Comparing rats and ferrets

    Thank you both for answering.
    It sounds like ferrets aren't as handle-able as rats? That they are more interested in exploring? Is this correct?

    Do they seek human attention? My son's rats adore him & are always eager to be with him. On the other hand, my rabbits are free range inside but aren't usually eager for affection, as is typical of most rabbits.

    I'm wondering if rats bond more with their human than do ferrets.

  5. #5

    Re: Comparing rats and ferrets

    Ferrets bond to their humans. Just not in the same way as a dog. They are happy to see you and spend time with you, but on their terms.

  6. #6
    Cavy Slave
    Jun 18, 2014
    Massachusetts, USA

    Re: Comparing rats and ferrets

    It really depends on the ferret. (I'd like to put a disclaimer that I've never owned ferrets, but my cousin had them for years and I work with ferrets, rats, pigs, and other small animals regularly at a shelter.)

    Some of them beg to be held and snuggled every time you come near the cage, others would rather run around and play, others would rather sleep. All ferrets will do some of each, but it definitely depends on the personality. They're huuuuge individuals, but most of them are quite sweet and loving if you take the time to get to know them.

    One thing you should keep in mind is that you should keep your potential ferrets and your rats in different rooms if possible, or at least as far from each other as possible. Ferrets are natural predators of rats and will scare the crap out of your girls if they go near each other. And your rats will likely be able to smell the ferret. It's a messy situation, having them in the same room, trust me I live it constantly and if a ferret runs around the floor a rat's cage is on, the rat is either cowering in fear or trying to bite the ferret's nose through the bars.

  7. #7

    Re: Comparing rats and ferrets

    I have never owned ferrets, but rats are a favourite. Unlike the guinea pigs we own they tend to like their owners even if no food is involved. If anyone has any questions about rats I'll be glad to help .



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