The ferret is a cute small animal, that has become a popular household animal. This article outlines everything you need to know about these adorable animals, including the answer to: how big is a ferret. We discuss at what size they start at and how fast they grow, as well as the key differences between male and female ferrets. In addition, you will also know what to expect when taking care of them, and how to best keep a ferret happy so that it can live a meaningful and happy life.
Ferrets love to play and have fun, and they can be seen as the jokers of domesticated animals. They have a soft and fuzzy fur, and belong to the same family of mammals as weasels and otters. They are actually not rodents, which is a common misconception.
A bit smelly
This brings about a meaningful consideration, which is the smell. Unlike hamsters, ferrets do have a musky aroma no matter how clean they are.
Because of their playful and intelligent nature, a ferret owner has to ‘ferret-proof’ their home such that the ferrets are unable to wreak too much havoc.
Their scientific name Mustela putorius furo actually translates to ‘smelly weasel thief’ so their impish nature must be regarded as a universal strongly ingrained characteristic. However, they usually sleep 20 hours at a time, which gives some rest from their mischief.
In addition, they are very loyal to their owners, which alleviates the mischief and gives it more of a playful than malevolent nature.
Still, some unwanted material damage could happen without adequate protection to ferret-proof the household.
How big is a ferret?
Ferrets have long and slender bodies. Furthermore, they are known for their long tails. Typically, an adult animal has a length of 50 cm (or 19.7 in), including a tail of 13 cm (or 5.1 in). Fully grown male ferrets (hobs) can weigh up to 2000 grams (4.4 pounds). Females are typically smaller, and weigh 500 -750 grams (or 1.1 – 1.7 pounds).
Unneutered males can reach 2.3 – 2.7 kg (or 5 – 6 pounds), which is significantly more than if they are neutered.
Spaying does not seem to affect female size, but they do tend to live longer in some cases (see the next section for more information). All in all, male ferrets can weight twice as much as females.
Males grow faster than females, and continue growing for slightly longer. Even so, both sexes have fully matured when they are four months old.
The tails of ferrets are about half of their body length, so their tails will be about 10 – 15 cm (or 3.9 – 5.9 in) long.
|US customary||Metric system|
|Length||19.7 in||50 cm|
|Length of tail||5.1 in||13 cm|
|Weight||1.5 – 4.4 lb||0.7 – 2.0 kg|
How fast do Ferrets grow?
When they are born, ferrets weigh around 8 – 12 g (or 0.28 – 0.42 oz), are 2.6 cm (or 1 in) in height, and 5 – 6.5 cm (or 2 – 2.5 in) in length (without counting the tail). These same measurements are true for both male and female.
The growth paths of the two sexes diverge around the third week, and that is when male ferrets start to be noticeably larger and heavier than the females. At the age of 4 months, ferrets reach their adult measures.
Domesticated ferrets grow similarly to how they would in the wild, and males end up being much larger than females. Ferrets that are male are called hobs and females jills. Both of them start out the same size, such that they can even fit in your palm.
The fastest growth happens in the first 1-2 months. After this, the growth slows down. Ferrets stop growing when they are approximately 4 months old.
They reach sexual maturity at 4 months old (when they are fully grown). It is important to note that a plan should be in place for when this happens. Both male and female ferrets cause trouble if they are unable to satisfy their sexual urges.
Females may even die if they are in heat for too long. A way to overcome this is to either take the female ferret to the vet to get spayed/fixed, or to breed them. Male ferrets do not have the same direct danger, but they do get violent when they want to breed.
How old do ferrets get
Ferrets usually live at most 7 years, although some have been known to reach even 10 years of age. Spaying or neutering extends their lifespan, particularly if they are held in such a way that they are unable to breed.
Ferrets reach their midlife about 3 years of age, and this is when diseases often start to occur: ferrets are quite prone to getting cancer or diseases of the adrenal glands. If this happens, it is important to go to the vet as soon as possible.
In this way, the vet can address the issue in time before it potentially becomes more complicated. A ferret which is fed the correct diet and that takes part in regular exercise and other meaningful activities is less prone to illness.
How big does a ferret cage need to be?
Ferrets are quite long, so they need a cage large enough that they can move around in easily. The smallest acceptable cage size is approximately 60 x 45 cm (or 24 x 18 in). Any larger cage will be better, of course. A larger cage will often raise the quality of life of the ferret, allowing it to live longer.
The cage should have things for the ferret to explore, such as different levels that it can go up and down between.
The more the ferret can exercise in diverse ways inside the cage, the better. As ferrets are very sociable and playful animals, it is important that they have lots of space.
You may want to assign a full “ferret-proofed” room as an extension to their cage, where they can play and where you can join them.
When choosing a cage, make sure to refer to the section on the size that ferrets grow to. Take into consideration the large size difference between male and female ferrets, as well as whether you will want to have a cage that can fit more than one ferret.
How much is a ferret?
The ferret itself costs $ 50-350, depending on where you get it. However, the cost of the animal is small compared to the cost of maintenance. You need to be prepared for vet visits, proper housing, buying the right food, bedding, toys, etc.
Ferrets from breeders are often healthier than ones from shops, so that may save you some visits to the vet. Even so, you should expect spending around $7,000 on lifetime vet bills.
Proper food costs around $30 – 100 monthly. Ferrets are naturally carnivorous, and need to eat either a high-quality kibble diet of raw meat diet.
In addition to this, the cage & carriers, bedding, litter ($2,000 over 7 years) & litter boxes, toys, and flea/heartworm treatments bring the total expected lifetime cost of owning a ferret (around 7 years) to approximately $15,500.