Ferret proofing- Why and how to do it

Ferret-proofing the home is essential if you have a ferret. Due to their incredible curiosity and fearless nature, they will, if given the opportunity, get into anything. Your ferrets must not be allowed into your cabinets where they can get into your cleaning agent, garbage, poisons, etc. They can open a cabinet by lying on the floor and working the door with their paws and claws. Ferrets are not rodents and therefore do not chew on things like wires or furniture, but they will taste soap, detergents and poisons.

You must make certain your ferret cannot get under your stove, behind the refrigerator, between your washer and dryer or in any large appliance. They can find their way to a motor or fan belt and end up dead. They might end up stuck under your stove and you might not know he’s there. Fortunately, most appliances are low enough that an adult ferret cannot get under it. But care must be taken to insure they cannot get behind an appliance where an opening might lead to the internals. The answer sometimes lies in using duct tape, wood and plastic.

If a ferret observes you entering another room and closing the door, the ferret is sure to try to follow you. If you have wall to wall carpet, he may scratch at it trying to dig into the other room.To remedy this situation, I put scrap pieces of carpeting or a plastic runners by that door. Sometimes I have to hammer down the runners to keep the ferrets from tunneling.

I have a hallway leading to the rest of my home and I chose to keep the ferrets from accessing the whole house. I developed a ferret barrier to keep them out while at the same time allowing me the convenience of stepping over it. I cut a two-foot high board which is exactly as wide as the hallway. It slides up and down for removal. On the walls are attached some clear pieces of plastic to hold the board in place. On the board, I taped a piece of cardboard all along the top which angles down to the floor like a roof. It is only attached at the top. A ferret can jump higher than a two-foot wall and drag himself over it. However, when he tries to get over my barrier, he has to jump over the angled piece of cardboard. It is slippery and when he tries to grasp it, it collapses and he falls to the floor. After about a half hour of effort trying to figure out how to get over the barrier, my ferret gave up and never tried again.

Also a ferret can jump higher than a two-foot wall and drag himself over it.

Holes! – Anything bigger than 4 inches square. Especially holes that can lead into an heater or appliance of any kind – washer, drier, refrigerator, etc. You can block openings with mesh like chicken wire, just make sure it is securely attached. Be sure to check for holes that lead into your walls near the floor boards. Check the interior of closets and cabinets (check under sink near pipes) as well – ferrets are perfectly capable of getting inside these.

Upholstery – Ferrets will rip a hole in the mesh cloth lining the bottom of a box spring and the underside of your couch (also underneath the seat pillows.) In both cases you will want to block access. You can replace the flimsy fabric, take the feet off your couch, or add a layer of well secured wire/wood with holes drilled in it. Just make sure that whatever you add allows the normal flow of air as otherwise your bed and couch will not be able to compress as designed.

Cabinets and drawers with dangerous objects inside – no  open chemicals. You can try child proof locks but many people find these will actually open a little bit before they catch, allowing your ferret to sneak inside.

Plants – Some house plants are poisonous if consumed.

Anything your ferret can try to eat – plastic shopping bags, paper, electrical cords, small objects, anything chewable…many of these kind of items will appeal to your ferret but can result in harm – poisoning, electroshocks, or indigestible blocks in the digestive system.

Water – full bathtubs, buckets of water, open toilets, etc. Ferrets can climb in but most cannot climb back out.

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