Can Ferrets Live Outside?
When one examines the domesticated ferrets wild ancestors and current counterparts, it should seem like a no-brainer that ferrets can indeed live outdoors with no problems. However, ferrets are domesticated and have lost some of their wild tendencies, so there are certain precautions that should be taken to keep your ferret healthy and happy should you choose to house them outside for part or all of the year.
Vaccinations Are An Absolute Must
Most places will require your ferret to have a rabies vaccination just like dogs and cats, but this is especially important if your ferret will be living outside with the potential to run into unvaccinated domestic animals or wild animals that could potentially infect them. It is also important to vaccinate your ferret for canine distemper if you plan on having them outside in any way. Both of these diseases are incurable, and rabies is always terminal. Animals with distemper can survive, but almost always have lasting neurological impairments that can drastically alter the quality of life.
Ferrets can also be infected by heartworms, so it is important to work with your veterinarian to provide your ferret with a regular preventative.
Adequate Shelter Is Also A Must
Depending on your living situation, your ferret may be free range throughout your entire dwelling or in certain areas of your home throughout the day, even if you are not there. Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely ferret proof a ferret’s space outdoors, so you will have to be close by your ferret during any out of cage time.
Additionally, you will need to invest in a high quality outdoor ferret enclosure (check out more about our recommendations for good options!) to keep them safe from predators and the elements while you are unable to be with them throughout the day. It is a good idea if the cage is insulated and is protected by an overhang or even located in a garage or shed for extra protection.
Consider Your Climate
Ferrets should not be kept outdoors in times of temperature extremes. Ferrets will start to become uncomfortable in temperatures above 80 degrees fahrenheit (or 26 degrees celsius) and temperatures above 90 degrees fahrenheit (or 32 degrees celsius) can be fatal for your ferret.
Likewise, ferrets have nice coats, but it can become too cold for your ferret. If your temperature dips below 30 degrees fahrenheit (or 0 degrees celsius), it is a good idea to ensure that your ferrets garage or shed is well heated or that you make room in your home during the winter months for your ferret friend.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to house your ferret indoors or outdoors is up to you. Work with your vet to ensure that your ferret is healthy and happy, and wherever your ferret is residing, make sure that they are getting plenty of human interaction daily.