Ferrets are very curious little creatures. They absolutely love roaming and exploring as much as they can. This makes them impossible to let outside, alone, without a leash. Even if you’re around you should never let a ferret off leash as it can run away in a matter of seconds while chasing something. And unlike cats, they can’t return home so easily.
In this article, we’ll talk about ferrets and free-roaming so you can be fully informed before letting your ferret explore your garden.
Will ferrets run away if left outside? Free roaming and ferrets
Absolutely! You might not even make it back in the house and the ferret is already out of sight. They are very active creatures and they will get distracted by anything. This means that they can easily get lost just by chasing a butterfly too far from home. And since they rarely respond to “come here”, you can lose your ferret very fast if you let it roam outside without supervision and out of leash.
Outdoor enclosures and Hutches for Ferrets
There is a wide range of outdoor enclosures and hutches made specifically for ferrets. Some are designed for summer use, others can keep the ferret warm during winter as well. Before choosing one, take into consideration the year-round weather where you live and how many ferrets you have.
Secure them properly so the ferrets won’t be able to dig tunnels and get out of the enclosure before you even finish setting it up properly.
Free roaming in the house?
Letting a ferret free-roam in your home can be a bit of a controversial topic in the ferret community. Some people are very worried about the endless possibilities the ferret has to escape or get hurt, while others find it completely harmless. At the end of the day, you should do what feels right for you and your pets.
Ferret-proofing your home is a must before letting them out. This includes hiding everything expensive that can be ruined by ferrets, chew-proofing any cable you can find, block any areas they’re not allowed to, getting an anti-mosquito door for each regular door, and extra protection at every window to stop them from escaping, etc.
Do ferrets come back if they run away?
If a ferret can find its way back home, it will definitely come back, especially when it’s hungry. But since they don’t have a homing instinct, most ferrets are lost for good once they run away. The longer the ferret stays away, the lower the chances of coming back are.
Domesticated ferrets can’t survive in the wilderness so it’s important to do all you can to find them as soon as you noticed they run away from home.
How do I find a lost ferret?
First of all, you need to be 100% sure the ferret is lost and is not actually asleep somewhere in the closet. Go through all the drawers and furniture you have in the house to make sure the ferret is actually out of the house. Check under the couch, behind the fridge, behind the TV, and any small space they can fit in. If there are any signs of recent chewing and damage the ferret might just be stubborn and refuses to come out of hiding. This can be solved with a few treats and a bit of patience.
Second of all, don’t wait for the ferret to come home on its own. Once you need to look outside for it, remember that they are burrowing animals. Take a good flashlight with you and search under porches, stairs, tarps, decks, any small openings, etc. Look in the garden as well through the flowers and anywhere the ferret might fall asleep.
Do ferrets like being chased?
Ferrets love playing and anything that has something to do with fun. This includes chasing and being chased. If you run around the house, your ferrets will run with you and try to catch you. It’s even better if you have a toy that’s attached to a string.
They also love having all of your attention and see you run after them and play as much as possible. You can tell when the ferret wants to play when it starts nipping at your feet and making all sorts of dooking sounds. This means they are happy and want to spend some time with you.
Unfortunately, this also means that they can’t resist not chasing a wild animal it sees outside, or even a bigger flying insect. It absolutely loves chasing, which means you should never take the leash off the ferret when it’s outside.