Ferrets and Sleep – Your Questions Answered

Ferrets spend most of their time sleeping and then get super active the few hours they are awake. This is why they tend to hate being kept in place for too long as they have lots of energy to consume. And if you’re a new owner, the amount of time a ferret sleeps might actually scare you.

It’s normal for ferrets to sleep most of the day, even if they don’t really change the position they’re sleeping in. In this article, we’ll talk about ferret sleeping habits to help you understand them a little better.

When do ferrets sleep, at night or during the day?

Ferret toy
Source: Frankie D

There’s a misconception that ferrets are nocturnal creatures, which is not true. In fact, ferrets are crepuscular, which means they are only active at dawn, dusk, and on a full moon. This is also why they sleep almost 20 hours a day since they have nothing better to do than stay hidden in their burrows during the day and night.

You should also keep in mind that ferrets will change their sleeping schedule for you. This is because they know they get playtime and food when you’re around, which is why they will prefer being awake when you’re up as well.

Ferrets still prefer being active at dawn and dusk because their eyes are made to see clearer when the light is dimmed. If it’s too bright or too dark in the room, they can get into accidents because they can’t see too well.

Where does a ferret like to sleep? In or outside the cage?

Typically, ferrets prefer finding the darkest place in the house and try to burrow when they want to sleep, especially if the environment is new. But a tired ferret that played a bit too much can fall asleep almost anywhere. This includes under the bed, in your closet, in your sock drawer, etc.

Once you prepare a comfy and dark place to sleep inside the cage, any ferret would rather go back to its cage than sleep anywhere else, unless they really are too tired to care. They feel a lot safer inside the cage as well, especially if you have other pets in the house or small children.

There are lots of ferret beds and hammocks available all over the internet that can make your ferret feel comfy in its cage. Making sure it sleeps in the cage will also minimize the risk of injury if he sleeps in unexpected places and you don’t notice.

How much sleep does a ferret need? Hours per day.

Ferrets absolutely love their sleep and they can sleep anywhere between 14 to 18 hours a day. Some ferrets can sleep even more. If that’s the case, check on your ferret when you notice it sleeps a bit more than usual. And if you’re unsure if the ferret has a problem or not, take it to the vet. An unnecessary vet visit is a lot better than ignoring a possible health issue.

Kits tend to sleep a lot until they are about 6-7 months old. Then they can be extremely hyper and only sleep around 14-15 hours a day. But once a ferret reaches adulthood they calm down and begin fixating their sleeping schedule at around 17-19 hours a day.

Why is my ferret not sleeping and raging instead?

The reason why ferrets sleep so much is that they are small creatures with high brain metabolism. And when they are awake, they need to consume as much energy as possible. Keeping a ferret in its cage all the time can cause the ferret to get very angry and destructive.

Since the ferret didn’t get its playtime, it won’t need to sleep as much and will turn the whole cage upside down instead. Ferrets need at least 4 hours of playtime a day which needs to happen outside the cage, in a supervised environment.

Ferrets are creatures that will voice their complaints as loudly as they can. If you don’t let them have their playtime, they will start acting up. This is because they are smart enough to realize that the reason why they’re in the cage is that you put them in there and it’s all your fault. The ferret might simply want to get your attention. But if it persists for a long time, take it to the vet.

How do you make a ferret sleepy?

Keeping a ferret in place is as difficult as dressing up a toddler. They have lots of energy and will get annoyed if you keep them from playing for more than a few minutes. Even after years of owning a ferret, you would still get surprised at how much energy they have. And when it comes to putting them to bed, it’s a whole war.

This is why the only way to make a ferret sleepy is to make it consume all of its energy as fast as possible. This means playing and running around with your ferret. They love chasing you around the house and if you have a toy on a string, it’s even better.

If running with them is too tiring for you, get a box of balls and start throwing them around the room and let the ferrets chaise them. They won’t bring them back so you will need lots of balls ready.

Should I cover the cage of a ferret at night?

Ferrets love sleeping in dark places, which is why it’s recommended to place their cage in the darkest corner of the room and close the drapes. This is usually all they need to feel safe and they will immediately find their way into their hammocks or beds to sleep.

But if there is still too much light in the room, you can easily solve the problem by adding a cover to the cage every night. However, the type of cover is very important. It needs to keep the light out but not suffocate the ferrets inside their cage.

Should ferrets sleep with their owners in bed?

If you want to, you can definitely keep your ferret with you at night and allow it to sleep in the same bed as you. But be sure that you are not a heavy sleeper that can roll over the ferret and hurt it before you wake up. Ferrets sleep very deeply and they will realize what’s going on when it’s too late as well.

Another thing you need to consider is whether the bed is low enough for the ferret to jump out of. Ferrets don’t do their business where they sleep, which means they will run to their litter box if they need to pee in the middle of the night. But if the bed is too high, you might wake up with a surprise between the sheets.

And if you hate being bothered while you sleep, you need to keep in mind that your ferret might wake up in the middle of the day and demand playtime from you. It will nip and scratch at you until you wake up and start playing with it.

Should I pet a ferret that’s sleeping?

You can definitely pet a ferret while it’s sleeping, as long as you’re doing it gently. However, you should keep in mind that they sleep deeply and they won’t realize what you’re doing. This means the pets are getting lost and the ferret would rather get his loving while he’s awake and ready to be pampered.

If the ferret just went to bed and it struggles to fall asleep, petting it might help or disturb it even more. It all depends on your ferret. Some ferrets prefer being more independent and would rather be left alone when trying to sleep. But others would love getting petted while they’re sleepy and they will even fall asleep quicker.

Check with your ferret what it likes before forcefully petting it while it sleeps. It might get quite angry and cranky if you wake it up.

Why does my ferret twitch and shake while sleeping?

Shaking and twitching while sleeping can be very normal but it can also be because of a bigger problem. Talk to your vet as soon as you notice your ferret twitching during sleep. Usually, it’s pretty much how humans twitch in their sleep as the muscles get very relaxed.

Another reason could be that the ferret had an eventful day and it’s still reacting to what happened in its sleep. This can be after an intense playdate with other ferrets or after being frightened by something. In any case, a vet checkup is the best solution.

Why does my ferret scream during sleep?

Ferrets can snore and drool during sleep like many other animals, but they should never scream during sleep. It can happen if they’re having a bad nightmare after going through something very traumatic in the past few days. But other than that, screaming during sleep can be a sign of a serious health issue and you need to take them to the vet.

Your ferret might have a seizure if the screams are long and painful. Nightmare screams are typically very short and sharp. In any case, speak with your vet and take it for a checkup to make sure there’s no need for concern.

Dead sleep and ferrets, what’s that about?

If you’re a new owner, you can get easily scared when your ferret enters its deep sleep state. This is when you can do almost anything to the ferret and it won’t wake up. This is something very natural for them and there’s absolutely no need for concern as long as they’re breathing, they’re warm, and their mouth is wet.

You can pick the ferret up, pet it, slightly poke at it, and even nudge it and it won’t wake up. Many new ferret owners have been scared by their sleepy pets because they simply didn’t know they tend to sleep so deep. It’s very natural and there’s no need for concern.