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Ferrets or rats as pets - can you recommend them?

(29 Posts)
rowingboat Thu 28-Aug-08 22:27:12

Hi there,
we are considering a indoor kind of pet, mainly looked after by me, assisted by an, almost, four year old.
I'm not keen on hamsters, like gerbils, but would like a pet that actually engages with us slightly more. Apparently, ferrets and rats are lovely pets, I'm a bit worried about the smell though.
Also DP has a bit of asthma in that he does use an inhaler, but never has attacks.
Please tell me about these pets so that I can rule them in or out. Thank you!

ThatBigGermanPrison Thu 28-Aug-08 22:29:44

Ferrets reek. Rats, if kept clean, don't smell bad at all, and also are much cheaper to feed.

You can take a ferret out on a lead, but they are very 'high needs', much like having a dog.

ThatBigGermanPrison Thu 28-Aug-08 22:30:07

YOu can't keep a ferret in the house, they just smell too bad.

hatwoman Thu 28-Aug-08 22:35:08

agree - friend of mine had ferrets and they stank to high heaven. and they made you stink if you handled them for just 2 minutes. also had a tendeny to nip. cute looking, yes, probably quite intelligent, but not a good pet. what about a rabbit?or a cat? if you want an engaging cat you could get a siamese. ours plays fetch with us, talks to us, and comes and listens to bed-time stories. which makes me sound like a mad old dear and I'm not. honest.

bethoo Thu 28-Aug-08 22:38:59

rats are great if handled daily.
dont use sawdust as can irritate their respiratory system and may bother your ds. use paper or wood based cat litter as also not so smelly.
males are friendlier as females can be shy/skittish.

rowingboat Thu 28-Aug-08 22:42:04

Thanks, that has really put me off! grin
Rats are still in the running.
I don't want a cat, used to have cats, but too expensive to keep and there really isn't anywhere for a cat to roam around here and I just don't want one. My DS would looove a cat, but I would only tolerate one.
I did have rabbits in the past and am not interested in having them again.
I read somewhere that female ferrets don't smell, does anyone know if this is true?
I would love a dog, but again, too expensive to keep.

BlueberryBeret Thu 28-Aug-08 22:44:04

Never had ferrets, I loved my rats to bits though.

We handled them a lot and they were looooooooovely, the smallest used to spend most of his time in my hood or on my shoulder

rowingboat Thu 28-Aug-08 22:47:14

Oh that sounds so gorgeous Blueberry! Didn't they pee on you though? Can they be litter trained or something?
Did yours leave territorial scent in your house.
I am paranoid about the smell! shock
I know it's kind of part and parcel with pets, but there are different levels of smell.

BlueberryBeret Thu 28-Aug-08 22:50:33

They only ever really peed in their cage unless they were scared (bathing a rat is interesting.... you should see how high they leap!)

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Thu 28-Aug-08 22:50:58

i have had both! a ferret nearly killed me when i was a young child <about 6> your face smells different from your body to a ferret <this is according to my father so not sure how true?> so even a friendly ferret could bite as it wouldnt think it was biting you it would think there was something else on you.

anyway what i know definately happened is that my beloved ferret had babies one of which we took my uncles to hunt mice that he thought he had. i was sitting on his living room when the ferret started to curl up my arm as it mother did all the time. my dad shouted at me to get it away from my face but it was too late. it got its teeth nto the side of my jaw and would not let go. my dad had to rip it off my face. we went to a and e to see if i needed stitches were the doctor told my dad had the bite been a few centimeters in the other direction it would have pierced my jugular and i could have bled to death before they got me to help.

i can still remeber the mother ferret and how loving she was. she was one of my favourite pets and i have no fear of ferrets i think they are charming intelligent animals but i would never keep one with young children.

rats are very intelligent animals and can be very loving if given daiily attention. they are playfull and entertaining and clean. i want one for my dd's but dh will not let me.

rowingboat Thu 28-Aug-08 22:52:27

That's a lot better than a guinea pig then, they pee all over the shop.
OK rats are definitely in the lead here.

Beauregard Thu 28-Aug-08 22:52:33

If your looking for an indoor pet why not a guinea pig?
We have 2 who live in the lounge(in cage of course)

Beauregard Thu 28-Aug-08 22:53:06

lol x post

3andnomore Thu 28-Aug-08 22:53:54

Rats make fabulous pets They get so tame and are loving and all that...

IllegallyBrunette Thu 28-Aug-08 22:54:03

Next door have recently got 2 ferrets, and they are outside, right next to my fence and they stink.

Oh and next door now have rats too, and I don't mean pet ones.

rowingboat Thu 28-Aug-08 22:56:29

I think I may have had a neurotic guinea pig, he lived indoors and would pee every ten minutes. Perhaps he was a little on edge.

Jux Thu 28-Aug-08 23:11:23

Ferrets are fantastic creatures but very very smelly and they also need a lot of space - I really don't think they're indoor pets at all, especially if you want them to be affectionate - not with small kids. Forget them.

You can have dd's guinea pigs if you like. I can't stand them, they're the most boring things in the world. Go for a rat or a lizard. Actually, dd has just come down and read this; I'm afraid you can't have them as she loves them (apparently) even though I would love to have someone else clean and feed them etc.

rowingboat Fri 29-Aug-08 19:57:41

Jux - oh no you were busted by your DD. grin
Thank you for the input Seashells, I was concerned by the rep ferrets have for biting and being impossible to detach. I wondered whether it was an exaggeration, it probably is a lot to do with the handling in early life.
You say they are clean, but everyone else thinks they are stinky. I'm so confused.
I think I will go and find a ferret society or something and ask them.
Thank you for all the input! smile

NutterlyUts Fri 29-Aug-08 20:04:33

Ferrets have a musty smell. Its not a smell I personally like.
I would say look at the pet rat route or maybe a house bunny. Ime house bunnys are much more fun and interactive then garden bunnies - they become a lot more like low maintenance cats

rowingboat Fri 29-Aug-08 21:45:37

Nutterly - I like your take on house bunnies. Now thinking this could be a goer. I do have horrible recollections of our bunnies chewing electric cables, but I could probably wrap the cables in something hard. Hmm!
Thinking cap on now and a bit of research.
Bunnies or rats, rats or bunnies? grin

solidgoldbrass Fri 29-Aug-08 21:48:33

Rats are smarter than most other small furry things - even I, an inveterate pet-hater, had an adored white rat for a while. Unfortunately I am allergic to everything with fur: is your DH's asthma triggered by cats, dogs, horses? If so you might have to stick to lizards or snakes as pets.

rowingboat Fri 29-Aug-08 22:15:51

I'm not sure solid, we haven't ever had a pet together. I will check that out. I love lizards, but I remember being told they carry salmonella on their skin and you must wash your hands every time you handle them.
Another rat question, do they mark their territory and stink the house out? Is a female better than a male from that point of view?

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Fri 29-Aug-08 22:18:38

no they dont mark your house they are very clean and males are more friendly than females ime.

rats are a bit like cats in that they will have a toilet corner in their cage and will only do their business in that area of the cage/tank.

NutterlyUts Fri 29-Aug-08 22:36:36

Rabbits can be litter trained. And neutered to avoid humping. If you keep em fully vax'd, they seem to be pretty healthy. You just need to keep an eye on the state of their bums to avoid icky bits, and their teeth to make sure they are being worn down, and to ideally feed them a pelleted diet, (Excel is the best, Russell Rabbit is ideally one to avoid as they can eat the bits they like and leave the bits they don't) hay and greens bits (but not too much of lettuce etc as it causes runny bums) and make sure they have access to chewy things We regularly see house bunnies living to 5. They come in different sizes, so you can pick one that fits in your house best. The only thing I'd say is bunnies are best suited to being mainly cared for by adults, but loved by children, purely as they need to have their teeth/bums kept an eye on, and to make sure they eat daily.(I don't mean kids can't do anything, but I think they are an animal an adult needs to have a good check of every day on top of that)

I know less about day to day care of rats, but I know rats are very prone to dying of lumps,or pneumonia. They never seem to bite but they never seem to live to be that old. The ones we see at work seem to be all fed on Reggie Rat (I have no idea if this is the best food for them)

NutterlyUts Fri 29-Aug-08 22:36:39

Rabbits can be litter trained. And neutered to avoid humping. If you keep em fully vax'd, they seem to be pretty healthy. You just need to keep an eye on the state of their bums to avoid icky bits, and their teeth to make sure they are being worn down, and to ideally feed them a pelleted diet, (Excel is the best, Russell Rabbit is ideally one to avoid as they can eat the bits they like and leave the bits they don't) hay and greens bits (but not too much of lettuce etc as it causes runny bums) and make sure they have access to chewy things We regularly see house bunnies living to 5. They come in different sizes, so you can pick one that fits in your house best. The only thing I'd say is bunnies are best suited to being mainly cared for by adults, but loved by children, purely as they need to have their teeth/bums kept an eye on, and to make sure they eat daily.(I don't mean kids can't do anything, but I think they are an animal an adult needs to have a good check of every day on top of that)

I know less about day to day care of rats, but I know rats are very prone to dying of lumps,or pneumonia. They never seem to bite but they never seem to live to be that old. The ones we see at work seem to be all fed on Reggie Rat (I have no idea if this is the best food for them)

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