Can Ferrets See In The Dark?

Many people think that ferrets are nocturnal but the truth is that they are crepuscular beings. This means they are most active at dawn, dusk, on cloudy days, and on full moons. And since ferrets are always compared to cats, there are a lot of people that think they have the same night seeing capabilities as our little felines.

Ferret indoors
Photo by Yulia Vambold on Unsplash

In this article, we’ll talk about a ferret’s visual capability and what you can do to improve their everyday life.

Can ferrets see in the dark?

Ferrets cannot see well in the dark. Their bodies are made to function in low-light conditions, but not in no-light situations. They sleep at night just how they sleep during the day. But in captivity they tend to regulate their sleeping schedule after your daily routine as they know they get food and treats when you’re awake. But never leave a ferret alone in a dark room as it can easily hurt itself.

In the dark, ferrets barely see some shadows where the furniture might be and they could try to climb something and get in trouble. Ferrets are very active and mischievous and they can turn your whole home upside down in just 5 minutes. Their high level of activity makes leaving them roaming free in the dark very dangerous, especially if you have lots of heavy decorations that could fall or hurt the ferret in any way.

You should also take their sensitive eyes into considerations during the day and try to avoid letting too much light in their room. Their eyes can’t take bright light just how they can’t take darkness. They will become very confused and they will start seeing less and less the brighter the light in the room is. Make sure their cage is always in a dark corner regardless if it’s day or night.

When do ferrets have the best vision? Dusk and Dawn

The body of a ferret is specifically designed to help it thrive a crepuscular life. This means that their eyes work the best when the light is pretty low, but not entirely dark. Dusk and dawn are the two main times ferrets are usually most active, especially the wild ones. Most crepuscular creatures turn nocturnal in captivity as they have to choose between lights on or lights off and they would rather be active at night. But this doesn’t mean that it’s actually the time when they thrive.

You can mess with a ferret’s vision very badly by immediately turning a bright light on in a pitch dark room. We experience this shock as well. Now imagine the ferret experiencing a few times worse. On the other hand, a ferret can see a lot better than us in low-light conditions. Their eyes are specifically made to work the best when there’s only a little bit of light around.

Similar to cats, ferrets have “glowing eyes” in the dark as well. More than that, their eyes can glow in different colors, depending on the species and what color their eyes are. Albino ferrets will have their eyes glowing a mix of green and pink color. Ferrets with maroon and blue eyes will have their eyes glowing red, and the ones with brown eyes will appear to glow a mix of green and yellow.

This is nothing but their eyes trying to take in all the light they can find and reflect it back so they can see better in the dark. You will also notice that they have horizontally slit pupils when they’re in a room with low lights. This makes them detect surfaces and edges a lot better and they will be capable of seeing better on an overall scale.

Does a ferret have good eyesight?

Unless they’re in a room with the lights turned low, ferrets have very poor eyesight. They see a lot worse than humans and it’s your responsibility to adapt their room to their needs. They are known to have “binocular vision” as their eyes are positioned on the side of their heads. This will cause them to always look forward and have to turn around to see an object that’s on their side.

It’s best to avoid dangerous furniture and decorations from the room you’re letting your ferret roam free for exercise. They are naturally very curious and will try to squeeze in any place they could possibly fit in and check everything in the room. They’re also known as thieves and they might hurt themselves trying to drag some dangerous objects to their cage.

What does ferret vision look like?

Ferrets suffer from depth perception and they have issues with nearsightedness as well. This means that they are not capable of telling what’s in the distance very well. More than that, they have a blind spot right under their nose. But the good news is that they heavily rely on their smell to identify what’s underneath there. And their senses of smell and hearing are incredibly advanced.

Their bad eyesight can often cause them to fall down from furniture and other high places they might have made their way onto. And this is why lots of ferrets tend to be scared of heights once their exploration stage ends. They will also start to panic if you’re holding them up high.

Are ferrets color blind?

Another thing you need to keep in mind about your ferret is that it suffers from a level of color blindness. This means that they’re only capable of seeing colors on the red and blue spectrums. If you plan on training your ferret and teaching it lots of tricks, make sure none of them revolve around recognizing different colors. They won’t be able to do it and you’ll just be waiting both of your times.

If you buy your ferret lots of toys in a very wide range of colors, you will quickly realize that most of its favorites are either red or blue. While it might have fun with the green, yellow, and orange ones, it’s best to get various toys that contain lots of red and blue. Your ferret will appreciate it very much.