Ferrets belonging to the weasel family, are small furry carnivorous animals that usually make up as excellent pets for people who have a way with animals and bonds well with them. Ferrets are known to be quiet mammals that are inquisitive by nature. Another reason that makes them a wonderful pet is their friendly and companionable nature. These are intelligent mammals and are super easy to train, which makes it easier for the people interested in having them as a pet.
Life in the wild for Ferrets:
Contrary to the popular belief of ferrets being wild animals, they are friendly mammals that were domesticated by humans even thousands of years ago as well. A wild colony of ferrets is found in the forests of New Zealand, which is the only wild colony of this mammal to exist on earth. These carnivorous by their eating habits but can be easily adopted as a pet by those who have a way with animals and bond well with them. Let’s have a look at their diet in the wild forests.
Ferrets are obligate carnivorous which means that the diet they follow is completely dominated by meat. Out in the forests, they mostly survive by feeding on mice, rats, snakes, voles, amphibians and other invertebrates. Ferrets also reportedly feed on fishes but it is not their favourite choice of feed as they do not like the taste of it. They are not very sharp predators but since they feed on small vertebrates and invertebrates it is easier for them to get their hands on their prey. They hunt at night near the rabbit hole and ground-nesting of the native birds of the land. They’re good climbers and usually climb up the tree to steal eggs and chicks from the nest of the birds.
Ferrets as a domesticated mammal and as a pet:
Ferrets are a very preferable choice as a pet for all those who have time to invest in playing along and training them. One of the major concerns, when ferrets are considered for domestication, is their food. Since they are obligate carnivorous it gets difficult to decide what to feed them when kept as a pet. The best food for ferret is something that can provide them with higher energy and support their active lifestyle.
Ferrets have a very small digestive tract and a very high metabolism rate, due to this, they can not consume a large amount of food at once. Due to the high requirement of energy to sustain their health, ferrets eat in small quantities but very frequently that is at least 8 to 10 times in a single day. You can easily feed your ferret pet with raw lamb, pork or chicken at short intervals of time. Their body requires meat that has high protein content as it meets their body demand for energy as well as it is easier to digest as compared to vegetables.
Another thing to keep in mind apart from the feeding habit of a ferret is their requirement for clean and freshwater. Along with food, they require water at all hours of the day. Keeping them hydrated is extremely vital to maintain good health in ferrets as they tend getting thirsty during the months of hot summer and also after they consume dry meat food items. There is no such thing as overfeeding your ferret pet as they eat a very little amount of food. Therefore, the best option for Ferrets is to leave them with dry food along with plenty of water to quench their thirst.
Packed food items for Ferrets:
With the growing love for a ferret as a pet, multiple companies offer packed food items for Ferrets which makes the task of feeding them an easier one. The best part of the packed goods is that they can be bought in the form of wet and dry food, which makes it more convenient for the buyers.
A healthy diet of ferret should be composed of 15 to 20 percentage of fat as well as 30- 40 percentage of protein. These packed items aim to provide your pet with all the required nutrients, thus considered to be the best food for ferret. The diet should be low in fibre and carbohydrate as it gets difficult for the ferret to digest due to its small length of the digestive tract. It is always advised to check the nutritional value of the food item you are buying for your furry little friend so that you can ensure good quality along with the intake of essential minerals and nutrients.
The market is filled with options of food items for Ferrets that contain all the necessary vitamins in the right amount, especially vitamins A, C and E that are mostly required by the ferrets to maintain a healthy body and proper functioning.
Food items to avoid and other necessary precautionary measures:
While there are a lot of dos and don’ts instructions available on the internet these days, consulting a nutritional expert for diet-related suggestions for your ferret pet is the best option. There are certain things that one should keep in mind while looking for the best food for ferret and feeding them, lets have a look at a few of those points.
- The idea of feeding your furry little mammal friend with fruit and vegetables is a big no. Ferrets do not have the necessary enzymes as well as the required length of the digestive tract that can help it digest fruits easily. It can even cause harm and make your pet sick.
- Feeding raw food can also invite various parasites and pathogens into the body of a ferret. To avoid any health complications or sickness, it is advised to slightly boil the meat before serving it to your pet.
- Sometimes cat food can also be used as an alternative source for ferret food, as it can fulfill the body requirements of a ferret. But it is necessary to check the nutritional value and ingredients of cat food before feeding it to Ferrets.