Message Number: YG2400 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Edward Lipinski
Date: 2001-04-10 00:23:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] keeping ferrets in the dark

Yo! Regina, Pat, and others,

Why not let the ferrets get all the darkness they need or
want? Seems to me a simple solution is what we do here at
Ferrets North West Foundation:

Every ferret has access to a completely enclosed nest/sleeping
box with a small-towel sized medium heavy cloth to curl up
underneath when inside the nest box. There is a circular hole
cut in the side of the box for access and egress and the hole
side is turned to the window-less wall when possible.

What we've done here is to try as best we can to duplicate the
natural underground burrow, hammocks notwithstanding. It
seems to me that the idea of hammocks for ferrets is to
pleasure the human viewers first (they can see the ferrets at
all times) and to provide for the ferrets natural environment
last. We are by nature, really hedonistic beasts - we first!

The ferret can have all the light or darkness that his little
genes demand - no problem and no concern. No heat is provided
the ferrets so that they control their own comfort by
burrowing deeper into the nest cloth and they can cerainly
control the amount of light they see all the time.

Most of the ferrets are at least paired or are caged with
higher numbers of their ilk, so they also share body heat.

The interior of the ferretarium (the area where the ferrets
are housed) is constantly illuminated 24/7 by two 60 watt
overhead fluorescent lights that express little light during
the day and provide a sort of 'moonscape' during the night.

As often as not, their heads are partially out of the nest box
hole and they are sound asleep. It's a sight to make even a
grinch grin.

Edward Lipinski @ Ferrets North West Foundation

On Mon, 9 Apr 2001 18:51:06 -0400 "Pat Andrews"
<> writes:
Regina wrote about being curious about how darkness is not
constant in nature. That's very true (one of my pet hobbies
is astronomy!), but keep in mind, in nature, ferrets sleep
in underground dens. Light doesn't get down through soil
very well unless a ferret drags a flashlight down and
figures out how to turn it on...which I wouldn't put past a
ferret for a second!

I would imagine people have done the cyclical light
variance, but I'm not one of them. I suffer from seasonal
depression in the winter. Between that and wanting to see my
ferrets other than Saturday and Sunday when I'm off during
the day I just have give up their "natural inclinations" to
allow them to be my pets. If this injures their health I
have to be philosophical about it because I'm sure that not
interacting w/ me 5 days out of the week for a number of
months would have just as negative influence on the little

I don't know about anyone else, but my ferrets do come out
and play in the middle of the night. I either hear the cage
rattling or, if I can't find someone to put them in their
cage at night, they find my toes (yeowch!)

Pat and the Furry Inspirations, missing Sonny & worrying
about Tess

I've noticed that when the people who keep their ferrets
dark at night talk
about their setups, it seems that the night environment is
kept as dark as
possible, with private rooms, heavy cloths, etc. One
thing that strikes me
is that in nature, darkness is not a constant-- it varies
with the moon, and
some nights can be very bright, relatively speaking. Does
anyone try to
cyclicly vary the degree of darkness their ferrets are
exposed to, to try to
emulate a more "natural" experience? Or would this not
matter, for reasons
of which I'm not aware?