Ferrets are amazing to keep as pets. However, as with every pet, they need to be taken care of to be comfortable. And for you to live comfortably with your pet ferret, you need to understand how they function. Today, we are going to explore their sleeping patterns and behaviour. How long do ferrets sleep?
The thing is, ferrets are adapted to sleeping a lot. Ferrets originated from the Northern Hemisphere. It means that they are already used to cold and will hibernate when it is snowing. This does not go away even when we domesticate then.
Ferrets sleep for most of the day and will wake up to eat or play. Well, some ferrets will be awake and very active during mornings and evenings. However, the good things are that you can adjust there sleeping schedule.
So, how long do ferrets sleep in normal circumstances?
Now, every ferret will exhibit different sleeping patterns. However, most of them will sleep from 18-22 hours a day. This can seem like quite a long time but it is quite normal. Some ferret owners will try to keep their ferrets awake by playing with them.
The sleep schedule could vary from one ferret to another. There could be several factors influencing the duration of your ferret’s sleep. For instance, age is a factor that will influence how long a ferret sleeps. Baby ferrets, also called kits, will sleep for longer than a few months old ferrets.
Young ferrets, those that are just a few months old will not sleep as much. These are at an age where they are curious. A young ferret will explore every part of his cage and anywhere that he can reach. However, they also do sleep for longer hours than most pets.
Older and baby ferrets will sleep for longer hours, on the other hand. You might need to wake up your baby ferret during feeding time. Cold weather could also trigger your ferret to sleep for longer. Well, as I mentioned earlier, they originate from the Northern Hemisphere.
They hibernate when winter comes. You might find your ferret sleeping all day long during winter.
Also, if you have just come from the vet and your ferret is on medication, he could sleep for longer than usual. Therefore, you should not be worried about it.
Is there anything like too much sleep for ferrets?
Ferrets will spend most of their time lives asleep. However, does your ferret sleep much more than expected? It could also mean that your ferret is sick. I do not mean to alarm you but maybe you need to observe and monitor your ferret’s sleeping habits.
Sleeping too much can be a sign that your ferret has an insulinoma. This is a pancreatic condition that leads to a decrease in his blood sugar. As a result, your ferret may lose his appetite and fall ill. Insulinoma is characterized by general body weakness, your ferret will refuse to eat and he could sleep for way too long.
I suggest you seek help if there is a sudden concerning the change in his sleeping pattern. Call your vet or better yet take your furry friend with you for a check-up and consultation.
Where should my ferret sleep?
As I have indicated above, ferrets will sleep for more hours than they are active. They will spend at least 20%-30% of each day activities and sleep for the rest of the hours. For this reason, it is important to make sure that your ferret’s bedding and sleeping places are comfortable.
Note that I said ‘places’. While you can do just fine with just a single bed for your ferret, I prefer having two or three of them. I mean, this way, he can get to pick his favorite. Besides, it is quite easy to clean after him when he has extra bedding.
I suggest you find a place dark and private for your ferret. While he might sleep just about anywhere in the house, I advise you to put his bet in his cage. You should ensure that your ferret’s cage is located in a dark, ferret proofed area of the house.
Whether we are talking about daytime or night time, he should stay in places with limited light. This is why:
Not every owner is looking to breed their ferrets. Light, natural and artificial increases will stimulate your ferret’s adrenal glands. This is especially the female ferrets that will go on heat during spring. If your ferret is exposed to a lot of light, her body might think it is time to mate. Regardless of whether your ferret is sterilized or not, the light will stimulate the adrenal glands to overproduce the sex hormones. As a result, your ferret could suffer from adrenal disease.
Darker places are also excellent for sleeping as it suits their natural habitat. Remember that these are burrowing animals. In the wild, they would burrow in search of places to sleep.
Also, I advise against going to bed with your ferret. While they sleep a lot, ferrets will wake up in between. He might leave you in bed and start exploring the house. He could escape or steal and destroy your stuff.
Change and wash their bedding every day if you can.
Dead sleep in ferrets
Almost every ferret owner has experienced the dead sleep scare. This is when your pet ferret sleeps for so long and so deep that he won’t wake up no matter what. You can poke him, pick him up, touch him but have no response.
While this can be quite scary, it is nothing you need to worry about. Some ferrets will fall ‘dead asleep’ literally while others won’t. However, as I mentioned earlier, do not ignore when your ferret sleeps for way too long. For instance, if he sleeps for 18 hours straight, something could be wrong with him.
Occasional dead sleep will last just as normal sleep session would. Only that your ferret is sleeping way too calmly that he doesn’t care what is going on.
Managing your ferret’s sleep
Ferrets are not entirely nocturnal. Your fuzzy pet will also sleep as you sleep at night. However, based on a daily routine, your ferret will probably be very active in the morning and in the evenings. I suggest that you take charge and manage his sleep.
Below, I am going to outline some of the tips that should help you manage your ferret’s sleep. However, I must mention that you have to let him sleep for as long as he needs to. That is if your ferret is not ill or under any medication.
These may include the following:
- Do not offer him sugary treats to keep him up. For instance, some ferret owners use chocolate treats in order to keep their pets awake and active. However, I advise against this as it could be harmful to your ferret. It is such a serious risk that your ferret could die.
- Instead, stimulate your ferret with exciting play or train him. The key is to provide as much physical and mental stimulation as you can. You will be surprised at how active ferrets can be when stimulated. I suggest you get various toys for your ferret to play with.
- Your ferret will wake up about 8-10 times between his deep sleep episodes. This is because they have a high metabolism. They need to feed small amounts of food throughout the day and night.
- You need to keep his litter box clean. As you wouldn’t want to sleep near a stinking toilet, so would your ferret. Furthermore, cleaning his litter box will prevent your house from smelling of ferret poop. Clean up any accidents he might have especially when undergoing the litter training process.
- Slow down on physical exercises if your pet ferret has been diagnosed with heart disease.
If you have just brought your pet ferret home, do not be scared when he sleeps off. During the first few days, he is also dealing with a lot of stress from moving and new owners. Well, unless you observe other signs and symptoms of an illness, your ferret is only peacefully sleeping.
However, do not ignore symptoms such as lethargy, complete lack of appetite that leads to weight loss, and sleeping for too long without eating. It could be that your ferret is too weak to move. Your vet should perform a diagnosis and determine whether your ferret is ill.
It is normal for your ferret to sleep for six hours straight, without even shifting position. However, 15 hours can be quite worrying for any ferret owner. How long ferrets sleep will depend on various factors such as age, temperature, and gender.
Do not forget to make your ferret’s living conditions as conducive as possible. Change and clean his bedding as well as his litter boxes. Ensure that you give him some food before going to be and in between his sleeping sessions. It is perfectly normal for your ferret to get over 20 hours of sleep per day and in intervals.
Our Ferret Care Guide
My son Bobby and I have been lifelong ferret keepers and breeders. Over this time we have experienced all ferret problems and have learned how to have a happy and healthy ferret.
A while ago we became aware the there was not a complete guide on ferret keeping.
Therefore we set out to write one. We are very proud of our guide and can say there is nothing like it anywhere.