If you’re noticing some changes in the behavior of your ferret, like the fact that it sleeps more, then it could very well be a sign of aging. An older ferret does sleep more, even as much as a young kit would, but it’s just one of several signs that your pet is going through this process.
Of course, you should watch out for other signs of aging as well. You can adapt the amount of exercise you give him, feed it a different diet if it doesn’t consume as many calories, and of course take him to a vet more often, so prevent any age-related diseases from creeping up.
Do Older Ferrets Sleep More?
Yes, older ferrets tend to sleep more. While an adult ferret will sleep between 16 and 18 hours per day, once they become seniors this time will increase, and they could sleep as many as 20 hours per day at this point.
There is nothing wrong with a ferret that sleeps more, as long as there are no other signs of disease associated with this extra amount of sleep. If you’re worried about what you’re seeing, check with a local vet, ideally one that knows how to handle exotic species.
Generally, you’re going to see signs of this once they turn at least 3-4 years old, since they’re starting to be considered seniors at this point. Other signs of aging will also be visible, as mentioned below.
Other Signs That A Ferret Is Getting Old
Besides changes in behavior and in the amount of energy they have, aging in ferrets is also visible in other ways:
- Gradually, there will typically be vision loss. Ferrets don’t have great vision as it is, so this can be an even bigger issue as they get older.
- They will lose some of their mobility or agility. You can’t expect them to jump over obstacles or run as well as younger ferrets.
- They could lose some weight.
- It could be visible in their muscle tone, and skin could start to sag.
- They could turn white, or some other lighter color. For example, a silver ferret would turn white, as it’s aging.
When Is a Ferret Considered a Senior
While a ferret can live up to 10 years, in most cases the lifespan is somewhere between 5 and 8 years. Aging-related diseases are known to appear as soon as 3 years old. At about 3-4 years old a ferret is going to be considered a senior already, and you can expect to see neoplastic and geriatric diseases start to come up at about those times.
If you’re not sure about their age, there are ways to guess how old a ferret is.