Ferrets vs Rats – Which Are Better As Pets & Pest Control

Ferrets and rats are popular pets and both of them are great. Ferrets are more expensive while the rats are a little more forgiving on your wallet. But both are highly intelligent creatures that require attention.

Can ferrets eat fish
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If you’re trying to choose a new pet and you’re not sure which to pick between a ferret and a rat, you can confidently go with the ferret. They’re very intelligent and extremely entertaining.

However, that doesn’t mean that rats are too far behind. They’re just as rewarding and are easier to take care of. In this article, we’ll talk about both creatures as pets to help you make your final decision.

Ferrets vs Rats, Which Are Better As Pets?

Fancy pet rat
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Ferrets and rats are very different from one another and they both make great pets. Which one is the best depends on your preference, time, dedication, and willingness to learn about the species.

Ferrets are very intelligent creatures and love exploring every single inch of your home. This is why you’ll often find them in the most ridiculous situations if you turn your back for one minute. A lot of people compare them to cats as they’re just as curious, playful, and loving.

Since ferrets are still far from being fully domesticated, they tend to have an aggressive side. You will end up being bitten a lot while they grow up. All you can do is be stern when they go too far so they can learn how to play properly. They’re quick learners and they will amaze you.

You should also keep in mind that ferrets are experts at escaping and can be pretty destructive around the house. They’re also known to bound with a single master. Yet, despite their bubbly personality, many people will avoid getting them because they hate the idea of feeding another living creature to their pet.

Rats are also very intelligent, love exploring, and are very friendly. In the wild, they carry all kinds of diseases because they’re forced to hide in the worst places to survive. Once you get a pet rat you will be shocked how much they groom themselves and how much grooming you’ll have to do.

Rats are incredibly easy to feed and they love hoarding all sorts of things they find around the home. But someone that won’t see them more than parasites will never get to see how amazing they are.

Do ferrets smell worse than rats?

Ferret indoors
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When it comes to grooming, rats are a lot cleaner than ferrets. Your ferret can cause your whole home to reek if you’re not cleaning his poop regularly. There’s nothing much you can do about it except watch what they eat.

Feeding your ferret fish or seafood is like feeding them a bad-smelling bomb. Besides their stool reeking they will start to smell very bad themselves. And unfortunately, you can wash them with shampoo more than a few times a year.

You can keep the ferret’s bad smell under control by giving him warm baths with nothing but water and be very careful about what they eat. These creatures are carnivores and the state of their food also plays an important role in how they smell.

Rats are extremely clean animals and it’s sad how many people don’t believe it. They will spend many hours a day grooming themselves and one another. For them, grooming is a social behavior. This is why your rat will often start grooming you as it accepts you’re the Alpha.

This makes rats much better pets for people that don’t have the time to continuously clean their cage and watch every single thing they eat with extreme importance. Plus, rats generally eat grains so their stool has very small chances of stinking anywhere as bad as the ferret’s excrement.

Rats are also known for stress-pooping which smells very bad and you need to take them to the vet. They may be sick or their diet has too many vegetables and fruits. This is a very easy fix. You should also keep in mind that you can litter-train them to maintain their cage clean.

Keeping Both As Pets – Will ferrets eat rats? How about mice?

If you love both ferrets and rats and you don’t want to choose it’s important to keep in mind that rats are ferrets’ natural prey. Your ferret might be the sweetest creature in the world, the moment they smell a rat their hunting instinct kicks in, and might attack the rat in an instant. Sometimes they’re even faster than a snake.

Ferrets will eat, or at least kill the rat if you’re introducing them. They’re much faster than you and they love hunting. You should never keep both creatures in the same room even if they’re both caged. You’ll just keep the rat frightened and the ferret ready to get out.

As mentioned before, ferrets are experts at escaping. And even if they have everything they need in their cage, including entertainment, they will go crazy trying to get out and reach the rats. If you really want them both, keep them on separate floors of the house so they can’t smell each other.

Mice should never be the whole diet of your ferret but they love them. They also need live pray so make sure you get them knocked out instead of dead for your pet.

It’s also important to get the mice from a snake expert as they have all kinds of sizes and all of them are parasite-free. Pet shops sell them as pets and would almost never sell them to you if they find out you want to feed them to your ferret.

Are ferrets smarter than rats?

There’s no point in making endless lists of pros and cons trying to figure out which is smarter, a ferret or a rat. They’re both quite equally smart, is just that their personalities differ extremely much.

Ferrets are very smart, can learn all kinds of tricks, are escape masters, and can be litter trained. But their bubbly personality often makes them more lovable. They love getting into messy situations and going overboard just to get your attention.

Rats are also very smart, great with tricks, can be litter trained, and have the brains to escape if they don’t have everything they need inside the cage. But they’re a little more restrained and will try not to get themselves dirty or in trouble. They also always need at least another companion so they don’t exactly crave your attention.

Rodent Control – Can Ferrets Be Used To Get Rid of Vermin?

For centuries ferrets were the go-to animals when it comes to hunting rabbits, rats, mice, and other vermin. But all these wild creatures can carry all sorts of diseases and will most likely give back a few bites and scratches before going down.

This means that it’s a bad idea to use your pet ferret to get rid of vermin. If you only get ferrets for rodent control then it makes sense. But don’t ever use your ferret pet that lives with you and roams your home to get rid of pests.

You can end up with a very sick ferret and various diseases around your home because it came in direct contact with the rodent’s saliva, blood, bites scratches, etc. A better option would be to call wildlife removal companies for help.