Knowing your ferret’s age is very important and you can easily find this out with a vet visit. However, you can also find how old your ferret is on your own, without spending a dime. This will let you know if you need to start taking your pet to the vet a lot more frequently or not.
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can figure out how old your ferret is.
How old is my ferret? Ways to find out
If the ferret is extremely young, you should keep in mind that their mother weans them when they are three to six weeks old. You can tell when they are six weeks old as this is when they sexually mature and are ready to be neutered or bred. And when they become fully independent, it means they are three months old.
Other ways to find out how old they are include inspecting their teeth and checking what physical changes they have gone through lately. Until your ferret is 1 year old it’s considered a kit, when it gets to 4-6 years old, it becomes elderly. And if it lives more than that, it’s a very old ferret that needs special care.
Looking at their teeth
Vets inspect a ferret’s teeth when they try to estimate their age. This is a very accurate method because ferrets have a very similar diet no matter where they are raised. You will need to hold them by the scruff of their neck and have someone helping you if you cannot do it on your own. The ferret might squirm a lot if it doesn’t know you or if it doesn’t trust you yet.
Take a good look at the two, long incisors in the front of their mouth. Ferrets that are up to 1 year in age will almost always have unstained, white, and smooth teeth. Between one and two years old, the tips of their teeth will start to get more and more yellow. They might even look slightly translucent.
For a ferret that is close to three and four years of age, the translucency and yellowing will become a lot more visible as it extends past the tip of the tooth. And by the age of 6, it’s a big chance the entire tooth will be yellow, which will be very noticeable. By this time you should have also noticed that a few of the smaller teeth on the bottom have fallen out.
Ways in which their bodies change as they age
Kits can sleep up to 20 hours a day, but as they grow a bit older, they start sleeping a bit less. Throughout their adulthood, they sleep between 16 to 18 hours a day. And once they get older, they begin sleeping more and more and they can get to sleep up to 20 hours a day again.
Elderly ferrets will have less muscle tone and will feel lighter when you pick them up. Their energy levels also decrease and they start running, jumping, and climbing less and less. They still require the same amount of playtime outside their cage, but they will spend that time exploring and doing activities that are more relaxed.
Very old ferrets can also go bald and experience thinning. Their fur will become more and more brittle on the tail and lower half of their body. And once the hair falls out, the skin becomes more dry and sensitive. When they reach 5-6 years of age, you will have to get them on arthritis medication.
Ways to keep them healthy for longer
A healthy diet is very important when it comes to keeping a ferret healthy and happy for a long time. Their bodies are created to require meat that is high in protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates and fiber. Chicken and other similar whole prey are excellent for ferrets. And since they are obligate carnivores, they thrive the best on raw meat.
This doesn’t mean that you can feed your ferret chunks of chicken breast every single day. Their bodies can digest prey wholly. This includes its bones, meat, skin, fur, feathers, and even the contents of its stomach. And you will need to offer a varied diet to your ferret so it can benefit from all the nutrients it needs.
Whole prey can include small birds and mice that you can get from a trusted ferret food supplier. If you don’t have one around you, look for someone that supplies food for snakes. When you feed your pet chicken meat, make sure it’s fresh and that you wash it properly to prevent salmonella and bacterial infestations.
Another important thing for ferrets is their exercise. They need between 2 to 4 hours a day of intense exercise outside their cage. You should also supervise them as they tend to create a lot of trouble if left on their own. Get them numerous toys, tunnels, and burrowing boxes that they can enjoy when playing.
Most ferrets like water so let them have their fun in a bathtub for a few minutes once a month or so. The water needs to be completely clean and without any ferret shampoo as they drink from it if they get thirsty while playing.
Ferrets can have trouble with their teeth, especially if they eat raw meat but no bones. Let them chew on a raw bone from time to time and add some ferret kibble to their diet. The kibble and the bone does wonders when it comes to cleaning their teeth and keeping them healthy. You might have to clean their teeth with a ferret toothbrush and toothpaste as well.
Calculating a ferret’s age in human years
There’s a popular myth that one dog year equals 7 humans years, and you can find your dog’s age in human years by multiplying your dog’s age with 7. However, that is false. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when trying to find an animal’s age in human years, which is why each animal has a different age chart. This includes ferrets.
If you know how old your ferret is, then it’s quite easy to find out how old it is in human years. If it’s 6 months old, then it’s 18 in human years. Ferrets that are 1-year old are 22 in human years, 2-year olds are 32 in human years, 3-year old are 42 in human years, 4-year olds are 52 in human years, 5-year olds are 62 in human years, 6-year olds are 72 in human years, 7-year olds are 82 in human years, 8-year olds are 88 in human years, 9-year olds are 98 in human years, and 10-year olds are 110 in human years.