Ferret Lifespan – How Long Do Pet Ferrets Live?

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Q: What is the average ferret lifespan – how long do they live?

A: A ferrets typical lifespan is actually two-fold:

  • In the U.S.: about 6 to 8 years, with 7 to 8 years being the norm.
  • UK, European and also Australian ferrets: normally a 15 year life span, thanks to these ferrets having superior genetics.

Why The Different Lifespans?

While ferrets are considered the third hottest pet in America, with the popularity of bad diet and lack of exercise, they are second class citizens next to cats and dogs. And yet, ferrets, when compared to cats, are true carnivores who suffer serious ill effects from inappropriate diet and care.

Very rarely do you hear of a ferret in the US living over 10-13 years. A lucky owner can get one, with good care, up to the age of 10 years old.  That’s because our pets came originally from fur farms, not from hunting stock.  .

Unfortunately, together with the very early altering practices of the major breeding farms in this country virtually all ferrets bred here suffer from a number of illnesses (like adrenal illness) that shortens their lifespan.. .

I have had 20 ferrets to date. 9 are still along for the ride with me. Of the 11 that have passed about the youngest was 3 years of age, the oldest have recently been 7-8 years old, and also I’ve lost a few at ages in the middle of that (4-6 years of age).

All that had several forms of cancer. Most here die from cancers of some sort. Cancers are completely normal in ferrets in this country, unfortunately. Early modifying and also genetics are the most probable causes. Ferrets in countries that do not have breeding farms and do no practice early modifying tend to live longer, healthier, lives.

How Can My Ferret Live Longer?

I have two that are over nine years old.  My first ferret died at age five, but only a result of a serious infection that wasn’t common.  I live in the US, and yet only one of my ferrets actually have been Marshall’s.

I find the best way for ferrets to live longer is to feed a premium diet (Innova Evo, By Nature for kittens, and usual silver plus “duck soup” weekly), give them loads of exercise (free roam), and get vet care whenever it’s needed.  All of mine are in peak condition and have never ever had problems like insulinoma or even adrenal.

You ought to read the book Ferrets for Dummies.  It does have a ton of insight and will prepare you for ferret ownership. Please dont make the mistake of getting ferrets before researching, just because you’ve had other pets it wont prepare you for ferrets, TRUST me. 15 years of pet keeping certainly didn’t prepare me for my ferrets!

They are typically great pets but take a lot work, much more than a dog or cat. Be certain that you know what you’re getting into. After that factor in the cost of brand new playthings, food, litter, vaccinations, and illness/emergency veterinarian visits for the next 7-9 years.

It is also recommended to have a minimum of two ferrets. They’re societal animals and need companionship. A lot of people say keeping a ferret alone will shorten it’s lifespan. The book “ferret for dummies” happens to be a great place to start reading up on ferret ownership and lifespan.

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