Like most animals ferrets will spend a large amount of time asleep when there is nothing to do.
Healthy ferrets often sleep for as much as 18 hours each day which means that you’ll often find your pet asleep, which may make you wonder if ferrets are nocturnal.
Most ferrets are not nocturnal, they are often most active at dawn and dusk but they will alter and adapt their sleeping habits to suit their environment. A ferret will be happy to play with you whenever you are available, which could be daytime or night and he’ll just sleep the rest of the time.
What does nocturnal mean?
A nocturnal animal is one that sleeps during the day and is most active at night – eating, hunting, playing and exercising.
Animals that are nocturnal often have developed features or senses to support their night time activities, such as being able to see in the dark, enhanced hearing etc.
Are ferrets nocturnal?
No. Typical ferrets are not nocturnal. They are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk, sleeping for the remainder of the day and night.
Ferrets will, however, change their habits to suit need and environment which may find them active outside of their ‘normal hours’.
Ferrets’ Sleeping Habits
Ferrets sleep for an average of 18 hours each day, with some sleeping more than others and some being awake most of the time.
Ferrets are crepuscular which means they’re most active at dawn and dusk, some domesticated ferrets will adapt to being awake with you more often than others.
If your pet is sleeping for the majority of its life then it may not be getting the exercise it needs. A form of exercise such as playtime or interactive toys will help keep your pet happy.
If you have a ferret that is constantly active then it may be happier when left to sleep for short periods of time through the day and night.
You’ll need to know your particular pet’s sleeping habits before making any changes or taking him to the vet just in case there is something wrong.
How can I help my sleeping ferret?
If your pet is sleeping excessively and you want to reduce the amount of time they spend asleep then there are a few simple things that you can do.
Firstly, make sure your ferret has an active lifestyle during twilight hours – get them playing with toys which will stimulate their minds as well as their bodies.
Make sure your pet is getting the right diet, a healthy and balanced diet will help them maintain their energy levels throughout the day.
Ensure that your ferrets cage is secure but not too dark, they will need to be able to see to some extent in order to feel safe and have somewhere comfortable to sleep.
Check with your vet to make sure your ferret is not ill, if he or she has unusual sleeping habits and is lethargic then a trip to the vets is in order.
When your pet is sleeping you don’t have to worry about making noise, try playing some music or watching television so that they get used to some background noise during their normal sleeping hours.
If you want to be able to interact with your pet during the night or early morning then you can try adjusting their sleep patterns, there are ways of doing this which will help them adjust gradually and avoid stress.
When ferrets are not sleeping they like to play so make sure that you introduce some form of playtime into your pet’s life.
Ferret beds and sleeping areas
Commercial ferret beds are available at pet shops, but you may easily construct your own.
Ferrets love to snooze in hammocks. The most essential aspect is that it make your tiny companion feel comfortable and secure.
Many pet stores sell ferret beds and also hammocks and you can also find them online at places such as Amazon, these ones are among our favorites.
As far as nocturnal animals go, ferrets aren’t the most active but they aren’t entirely asleep either – many of them are crepuscular and will have a sleep and wake cycle that is closely related to yours.
If you want your pet to be awake more often then you can adjust their sleeping habits with a little work on your part.
A happy ferret will be more active during the twilight hours but just like us they need plenty of sleep too.
As long as your ferret has a healthy diet and plenty of playtime you can expect that most of their naps will be short but regular enough for them to feel energetic during the hours when you need them awake.