Q: What are some fun games to play with my ferret? She could use the exercise, she’s only one year old. She loves to play. Also any tricks I can teach her?
Answer: Most ferrets love playing mock combat, chase, tug-o’-war, and hide-and-seek, and wrestling. They like games that involve exploring new things and places, sniffing new smells, and digging and rolling in the dirt.
Here are 10 fun games to play with your ferrets:
- Bath Towel Game: Get a big bath towel, put the ferret on one end, take the other and walk the towel (drag) down the hall and across any slick floor. You can do the same with a towel in a plastic laundry basket, tie a rope to the basket and have the ferret ride in it while it’s on it’s side, he should be laying on the towel inside it so his feet don’t catch in the side openings.
- Ferret “Bowling”: Put a pile of soft toys a few feet away, and put him on his back and slide him on a hard floor (carpet doesn’t slide) into the toys! Not all ferrets like this, but some will come running back for more!
- Fishing for Ferrets: Tie a plush jingle ball to the end of fishing line and cast it out. You can use one of those fishing toys they make for cats (ferrets play very much like a kitten). Bell jingles, ferret chases…. reeeeeeel them on in!
- Catch the Blanket: Put a blanket on the floor, and when he’s on top of it, wave one end of the blanket up and down so that it ripples to the other end and goes all around him, and he will hop around and try to “catch” what’s under the blanket!
- Grocery Bag Escape: Take a big PAPER grocery bag, stick the ferret in, crimp the top over and time how long before the ferret comes all the way out of it. They take about 15 minutes, all four feet have to be out to count. They love the paper bags, they make noise and they bang around inside them just to hear that.
- Hide-n-squeak: Get a squeaky toy and tie a string to it. Then squeak it all around the house until your little fuzzy comes to play. Then put it on the ground and pull the string, and let him chase it. Then let him catch it, and he will instinctively take it and hide it somewhere. Then get it from where he has hid it and start all over again (the string will help you to fish it out of wherever he has hid it.)
- Totally Tubular Ferrets: Get a dryer hose tube if you don’t already have a ferret tube, and when he crawls in, catch him at the other end. My ferrets will actually play this game with each other- one will go in the tube and the other will be outside, then they try to get to the other end before the other.
- Hide-the-Goodies Game: Get a box with grocery bags, tied in knots, and pieces of bubble wrap (rolled tightly, and taped securely) that we’ll call “items”. Put them in an obvious place, and get the items back, several times a day. Kind of like hide and go seek. This seems to keep ferrets from stealing other things, that are of more ‘value.’ “Stealing” seems to be an all time favorite of ferrets.
- Ping Pong Chase: Let your ferret loose with a ping pong ball. That’s it! Ferrets loves playing with them in the bathtub (no water involved of course), pushing them through tunnels, and rolling them down the stairs. Ferret fun abound.
- Rice Dig Game: Get a large clear storage box, and fill 2/3 full of long grain rice. Then attach a shoebox to with packing tape, on one end for a step. Hide his favorite balls/toys in it. Bring your arm up underneath them – they’ll start bouncing around like crazy! Take a small handful of rice and let it drop slowly down on them, and they’ll start hopping around.
What Toys Should I Buy?
You can get her toys with bells inside, catnip toys, most cat toys, any toy. Just make sure they do not have little plastic pieces she can swallow, and make sure it’s not rubber. Even ferrets can chew through Kongs. One of my ferrets LOVES a little catnip snowman with a bell, all on a string. Her favorite toy ever.
Tubes are also fun for ferrets. I have different types of tubes, such as cloth, dryer vent hose, and a large hard, ribbed plastic tube with little holes all along it.
Tubes made of PVC pipe are great because they offer lots of tunneling options, are easy to clean, and are resistant to chewing. Corrugated plastic drainage tubes work well but make sure to check for bite marks.
TIP: if there is a carpet warehouse or shop nearby go in and ask if they have any old cardboard carpet tubes you can have, they will gladly give them away for free.
How to Get Ferrets to Play with You
Get down on all fours, and bouncing your fists lightly in on the floor in front of them, and kinda ‘pouncing’ at them. This is what ferts do to initiate games.
If they do start getting riled up, then you can plop the ferts on top of each other (usually gets them to wrestle with one another), or move to the tubes and run your hand along the outside of it (ferrets generally can’t resist racing through them, then), or jiggle their rears (to get them to wrestle with you).
If your ferret jumps back and forth in front of you or tugs on your pant leg, it’s a sign he wants to play a game. If your ferret dances around, chuckling and dooking and bouncing off the walls, he’s having fun.