Can a ferret live outside?

  • By: belly
  • Date: September 15, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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If you have ferrets or are thinking about getting one then the inevitable question of housing will be one that you’ll ask and no doubt you’ll need to know if ferrets can live outside or do they need indoor luxury?

Most ferret owners keep their ferrets outdoors in sheltered hutches or cages, not dissimilar to the sort used to house rabbits. You should get the largest accommodation that you can afford for ferrets, making sure that it is well built, located away from direct wind and rain and provide lots of warm bedding.

Features of Outdoor Ferret Accommodation

1. Flooring: The floor should ideally be solid and level (not wire mesh). Bedding can be straw or woodchips and it should be changed daily to prevent odour and the hutch becoming damp. Do not use sawdust as this can cause respiratory problems in ferrets.

2. Roof: The roof should ideally have a pitch to allow water drainage and it should completely cover the hutch, especially if there are ferrets in the hutch at night time.

3. Airflow: The ventilation on the hutches is important as Ferrets cannot cope well with damp conditions and will become ill very quickly.

4. Floor Space: The bigger the better is always a good rule and if you intend to house more than one ferret in the hutch then make sure there are sufficient dividers to ensure your pets aren’t fighting.

5. Security: Make sure that nothing can get into or out of the hutch and that the hutch materials are tough enough to resist chewing from both inside and out.

can ferrets live outside
Ferrets enjoy the outdoor life

Can ferrets live outdoors all year round?

Ferrets can be kept outside all year round, but if you have young ferrets or elderly ferrets who are less able to cope with the elements then they should be brought indoors from time to time.

They will enjoy playtime and interaction with your family in a safe environment inside.

Although it is natural for them to hibernate in winter, some owners prefer not to leave their pets outdoors over the colder months.

If the weather turns to extremes such as very low or high temperatures then you should consider moving your ferrets indoors.

This does not have to be your house, your ferrets could live in their house in a garage or shed – somewhere that is out of the elements until conditions return to normal.

Do I need an outdoor run?

Many people keep their ferrets in the garden in a safe secure enclosure known as a “run” that the ferrets can access from the ferret ‘house’.

These runs are the same as those used for rabbits, guinea pigs and poultry so, you may not find ferret specific runs for sale but anything used for these animals would be a good choice.

There is a wide variety of good quality runs available and we like these that are on offer at Omlet.

How do I introduce my ferret to his outdoor accommodation?

Your ferret will quickly adjust to his new home and, to help him along you should make it as comfortable as possible for him.

Make sure that his house is in a quiet area with no disturbance from people or other animals.

Place some tasty meat based treats in his dish when you introduce him as this will help him to settle in.

Secure the house and leave him quietly.

He’ll settle in very quickly, within a couple of hours, but you may want to check on him regularly during this early stage.

Can I let my ferrets outside during the day?

Providing that your ferret run is escape proof and that there is no danger of your ferrets chewing or digging their way out, then yes, you can leave them outside.

You should always be aware of the risk of escape, or of a predator getting into the run, so you will need to make sure that the run is tough and resilient enough to withstand the most determined efforts.

Sadly, this can also include humans, some of whom steal pets – so be careful.

Your ferrets will enjoy time outdoors and the exercise that they get will be beneficial to them.

Make sure that they have access to shelter in case the weather changes.

The best choice, in my view, would be to only let your ferrets out into the run when you, or someone that you can trust, is at home, that way you can take care of any problems if they occur.

Can ferrets live in a rabbit hutch?

Ferrets can live in a rabbit hutch, but only if it has some modifications to make it ferret proof.

Many rabbit hutches are too small for ferrets so you’ll need to choose or make a hutch that has lots of room.

Each ferret needs at least 2.5 to 3 square feet of floor space – any less and you’ll have unhappy and unhealthy ferrets.

Ferrets chew so you’ll need to make sure that any hutch is a chew proof as possible.

Doors, lids and the areas where the wire mesh joins the wood are all typical spots that get chewed, as well as areas that stand proud such as corners and edges.

You may have to make some modifications like tacking aluminum strips over areas that are potentially ‘chewable’ to minimise damage and reduce the risks of escape.

Final Words

Ferrets can live outside. They are natural hunters who love to explore and play in the dirt.

However, they require a lot of care which means you need to make sure that your outdoor space is secure from predators such as coyotes or other animals.

You also need to be able to provide shelter for them when it gets cold out so they don’t get sick from exposure during extreme weather conditions like rainstorms or snow storms.