Message Number: FHL8794 | New FHL Archives Search
From: "Tressie"
Date: 2009-04-29 16:37:19 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Darkness requirements? Re: What should I do?

Hi Ann,

I think you will get a variety of suggestions/answers from different people. Some think any sort of light, natural or otherwise is not particularly good for them. I fall into that camp. They are after all, innately a subterranean burrowing creature irrespective of domestication.

See my further comments below:

--- In, "Ann Withun" <Ann@...> wrote:
> How many hours of darkess would be a good goal to shoot for, and how
> dark does it have to be (is moonlight from a window a problem?)

I aim for as much total darkness as practically possible.
> Is it enough to provide the *opportunity* for darkness (I have several
> thick sleep sacks), or should I be *ensuring* they get darkness, such as
> ensuring the entire room is completely darkened?

I keep my ferrets in a separate room. When I am home they can leave the room and roam freely. Granted they are exposed to daylight then and at night while I keep minimal lights on, they still do get some artificial light exposure. However, when I am away during the day for work or at night they are confined to the ferret room.

The room is completely darkened. The window pane is covered over and then I have heavy drapes as well - so no light comes in whatsoever from outside. There are no lamps or any sort of artificial lights in that room.

In addition the tops of their cages, where their sleeping quarters are , are covered over. They have their own dresser and some do sleep in the drawers, which are like dark little nest boxes.

I also keep the temperature in the ferret room at between 60-65F year round, and try to maintain 65F throughout the entire apartment. I started the AC in their room at the beginning of April because temps were creeping up to 67F without any heat on in their room.

Should I be trying to find a nesting
> box or some other option that would encourage Dan to seek out darkness,
> or do they have their own kind of sense about this?

They do not have their own kind of sense about this anymore than they do about getting into a space too small to get out of or walking off the end of a bookcase or approaching a dog who might be aggressive.

Having said that all you can do is provide an additional nesting box and hope he uses it.

> Their cage is in my home office, and they are in there at night and when
> we're not home. There are no lights on in there unless I'm in there
> spending time with them at nighttime. There is one window, so it
> currently is only getting as dark as it is outside. My PC is also in
> there - I generally just let the monitor "time out" rather than shutting
> it off - would there be a benefit to actually shutting it off? I see a
> reference to "equipment lights" and not sure what that means exactly.

Blue or green lights are particularly bad - hence there would be lights coming off your computer. Before I had a separate room for mine I would simply throw something over the computer when they were out to block out the lights.

Not everyone goes to the extremes I do, but I personally know at least two veterinarians who do.

All my personal ferrets - nine currently, came to me as rescues or from a ferret shelter, which means I have no knowledge of their previous history in terms of light exposure. I do have one who developed adrenal disease at a young age - was only 2 at the time. I adopted him at one year of age. He had his right adrenal removed and I am keeping him on oral Melatonin and he seems to be doing fine so far. And I have one foster who came with adrenal disease who will be getting the Deslorelin implant.



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