How Long Should Ferrets Be Out Of A Cage?

You’re looking at purchasing a ferret, and know they need a lot of time out of their cage compared to other animals. But when you look online for how long ferrets should be out of a cage, the results are lacking and confusing.

On the one hand, you have people promoting lots of time out of the cage. On the people are claiminglaiming to never let their ferret out and it is completely fine.

A Brown and white ferret with green blurred grass in the background | How Long Should A Ferret Be Out Of A Cage?

But when research shows that ferrets require considerable periods of cage-free time for health reasons, you’re right to question both perspectives. And you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we will tell you exactly how long ferrets should spend out of their cage; both minimum requirements and optimal amounts. We will also explore exactly why this needs prioritizing, and the potential consequences of not doing so. As an additional extra, we will also discuss free-roam ferrets, helping you decide on the best option for you going forwards.

How Long Should Ferrets Be Out Of A Cage?

Ferrets are intelligent, social animals and should have plenty of opportunities to be out of a cage. Your ferret should ideally spend a minimum of 2-3 hours outside of their cage every day, but four or five hours is more optimal.

Although ferrets can be high-maintenance, don’t panic. Ferrets don’t have to be out of a cage for hours at a timSomeome people think smaller, more regular periods are better. Splitting the time into two or three sessions is perfectly fine if it better suits your life.

Ferrets also don’t need your constant attention. As long as you can supervise them, most are happy to do their own thing for a while.

Ideally, you should aim to be interacting with it on a 1-1 basis for at least an hour a day. This should involve playing and handling itand is extremely beneficial in maintaining its tamed status. It also keeps them bonded to you and provides enrichment through play.

What Happens If You Leave Your Ferret In Their Cage All Day?

As much as you try to be the perfect ferret owner, there might be times when life gets in the way. You might have to skip a day of cage-free time or leave them with a pet sitter who isn’t too comfortable with handling them.

Leaving a ferret in its cage for a day or two isn’t going to cause them any long-term harm.

If it turns into a situation where a ferret spends more time in their cage than out, however, it could harm their health. This is why it’s important to consider the time you have to dedicate to a ferret before purchasing one.

Ferrets May Become Depressed or Bored

Ferrets are extremely intelligent animal who need entertaining and socializing regularly. This prevents boredom and depression, which sets in quickly if they are not let out of their cage regularly.

If your ferret is trapped in their cage, you may notice your ferret begins to sleep more than it usually would, and loses interest in activities. These are often signs of depression in ferrets due to a lack of stimulation.

It’s also a sign of their adaptive sleeping habits, where they will sleep more because there is nothing else going on in their environment.

Boredom can also lead to many other dangerous behaviors, which we will mention later in this lisSomehould aim to avoid.

In fact, some anecdotal evidence suggests that depression in ferrets may lead them to live shorter lives than those who are exposed to the outside world more regularly.

May Revert To Untamed Behaviors

Ferrets need constant positive reinforcement to maintain tamed behaviors. It serves as a reminder of your boundaries and expectations and prevents them from returning to their feral state.

Time spent interacting with your ferret outside of their cage is also incredible for bonding time. This is key if you want to maintain or build tamed behaviors.

These untamed behaviors are often what give ferrets the reputation of being violent. It can include things like biting and scratching to get your attention or express itself.

Although untamed ferrets may not sound like a problem if you never plan on letting them out of their cage, it can cause problems. Think vet visits, or if you decide to start letting them out again.

Lose Litter Training Abilities / Dirty Protests Become Common

If ferrets are experiencing attention deprivation, they will shred their environment. This is another way they’ll express themselves and often includes dirty protests.

You might notice this occurring if your ferret begins urinating and spreading feces outside their cage. It’s easy to think they’re regressing, but this isn’t necessarily the case. They may still remember where they should do this, but have no desire to listen to your boundaries.

Not only are dirty protests extremely frustrating, the smell can make it difficult to live with. If this is an ongoing issue, you will find it harder to clean their environment because of their growing untamed behaviors.

Can Damage Items In Their Cage

If your ferret is bored or wants your attention, it will start destroying its environment. In this instance, it would be their cage.

This attention-seeking behavior may lead to them biting through hammocks, breaking other enrichment toys, and spreading food around their cage.

Some ferrets may also eat their bedding, which can cause blockages and be extremely harmful to their health. It could become fatal if you don’t notice and seek emergency veterinary assistance.

Frustratingly, ferrets will know exactly what they are doing when they do this. But it doesn’t deserve punishment. Instead, try and understand what your ferret is lacking and supplement it more in your day.

Ferret May Break Their Teeth

Ferrets must be let out of their cage regularly to protect their teeth health.

Although there are enrichment toys that can help with this, letting them out of their cage is the best way to prevent them from being damaged long term. And trust me; veterinary care for broken or damaged ferret teeth can be expensive.

But how does keeping in their cage directly correlate with damaged teeth?

If ferrets are stuck in their cage a lot, they may end up biting their litter trays or food bowls, which may wear their teeth down to little nubs and be extremely painful. Ferrets are known for biting cage bars, which can break their teeth and cause extremely serious issues in the future.

Can Ferrets Be Kept Out Of A Cage?

An increasing number of people are choosing to free roam ferrets. This involves letting your ferret explore their environment without being caged at all.

To do this, you must ferret proof your home, as ferrets are mischievous animals and quickly escape. You should also have a way of easily locating your ferret so you can find them at all times.

And, even if you do choose this method, you need a backup cage just in case. This can be useful if your ferret needs to be housed for medical reasons, monitoring, or safety.

If your ferret free roams your entire house, barriers and other fence-like materials can be used to section things off. You can also use these apparatus to block off rooms or other areas without doors.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a middle ground when it comes to how long ferrets should be out of a cage. While you can choose to completely free roam your ferret, it is not the only option; and you don’t have to let them out for long bursts if it doesn’t suit your lifestyle, either.

You should aim for a minimum of at least 3 hours outside the cage, but up to 5 hours is better. Missing one day won’t cause too many problems, but long-term isolation can cause a lot of problems.

These include health conditions such as depression, potentially shorter life outcomes, and even dental issues.

If you are considering purchasing a ferret, you need to consider how much of your life can be dedicated to it. Can you keep it outside of its cage for so long every day? If not, it might be worth considering alternatives. You could also look into a pet sitter if the option is available in your area.

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