Message Number: YG6766 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Troy Lynn Eckart
Date: 2001-08-29 15:09:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Fleas and temperature control

First I'm sending my condolences to the family of the little one that died
from flea anemia.

From my own experience, ferrets do not scratch nearly as much as dogs and cats
when they are infested with fleas. I have seen a case of flea allergy on only
one ferret and he was allergic to other things as well.

When we picked up Golden she was so flea infested you could see
the fleas moving through her fur and they would jump off onto me. Because most
ferrets don't scratch like a dog or cat will when fleas bite them it is very
important to check through your ferrets fur for fleas or/and flea dirt. Sand
fleas are certainly a nuisance and years ago before Advantage came on the
market, I fought a never ending battle with them. Our routine was a nightly
flea combing, dipping the comb or dropping the fleas off into a container of
soapy water. The ferrets enjoyed the grooming but it was a constant
concern to me because it doesn't take very many fleas to drain a ferret of
it's life sustaining blood.

Another concern is temperature control for ferrets. Ferrets are unable to
tolerate extremes of cold and heat. They are such tiny creatures and have
such a fast metabolism little fat is stored, well on most anyway. Ferrets
are unable to cool themselves like a dog or cat so warmer temps can be as
detrimental as colder temps. I know that in some other countries ferrets
are kept outside and treated as working animals (similar to a hunting dog
kept outside perhaps). Rarely do I hear of ferrets here in the US being
kept outside and it does raise valid concerns. And certainly there may be
valid reasons for temporarily housing ferrets outside from time to time.
A few years ago we rescued ferrets from auctions and at one particular
auction a lady that had a pet ferret (her term not mine), bought three.
This was in October right before a very cold winter. We found out a few
months later that two of the three she bought, died from exposure. The
third died shortly after. She housed them outside in a bunny hutch....
Her personal ferret was housed indoors with her.....

When people keep ferrets outside, they are not able to regulate the
temperature of the environment and they also are unable to monitor the
ferrets closely for signs of illness or depression. Another concern is
exposure to outside dangers such as other animals, both wild and domestic,
pests, children, etc..

Ferrets are very social creatures and they crave human companionship.
They also require adequate exercise to keep them mentally and physically
healthy. An unhappy ferret may sleep more and become resigned to it's
fate. A happy ferret will excitedly interact with it's caretaker and look
forward to the adventures each day brings.

Ferrets are a high energy companion animal and deserve to be an active
member of their family.

I've live with free roaming ferrets that have access to an all season
outside enclosure, 24/7, and I find a few of them romping outside in the
early morning or mid- to late-evening hours. A few sleep outside on the
nights the temps are comfortable for them but the majority prefer the
warm, fluffy quilt to cuddle together in and jumping my legs when they
are in a playful mood. The ferrets I share my home with are my

Hugs to all. tle
Troy Lynn Eckart
Ferret Family Services