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- HOW CAN YOU KEEP YOUR
© Erika Matulich
- Ferrets are very susceptible to heat,
and canít tolerate temperatures above 85 degrees F (29įC). Living
with ferrets in Texas and Florida has taught me a lot about beating
- Avoiding Heat
- Never leave your ferret in a parked
car, even for a few minutes. Keep the cage out of direct sunlight
and away from windows. My ferrets enjoy staying in bathrooms where
they can stretch out on cool, tile floors. You can put ceramic tiles
in their cage to lay on. Air conditioning is the best solution. If
you donít have central air, consider purchasing a window unit for
your ferret room.
- Your ferret needs access to cool,
fresh drinking water at all times. Each of my ferret cages has two
water bottles and a water bowl. Ferrets drink more water in the
summer, and this way you wonít run out! I change water daily
during the summer. Crockery bowls keep water cooler, and Flower and
Misty enjoy splashing in them. Stevie likes bobbing for ice cubes in
a shallow pan of water. However, ferrets donít like to drink ice
water, and if water is too cold, your ferret may drink less when
water is most needed, and suffer from dehydration.
- Fans, by themselves, donít cool
ferrets. The job of fans is to move air, so if itís 90 degrees,
the fan moves 90 degree air around. Humans like fans because moving
air helps sweat evaporate, which is cooling. Because ferrets canít
sweat, there is nothing to evaporate, and the ferret gets no cooling
from the moving air. You can help your ferret "sweat" by
misting your ferret with water, and let a fan blow on the ferret to
evaporate the water. You can also wipe your ferret with a damp
cloth. To be effective, you need to re-wet your ferrets as soon as
they dry, so this method requires work! And some ferrets, like my
Bear and Stevie, just hate being spritzed! Be careful, as fans are a
ferret hazard, because they might poke paws or noses into the fan
blade housing. Finally, high humidity doesnít allow for
evaporation of either sweat or water, so fans arenít effective
with humidity levels over 60 percent.
- Evaporating water around the ferret
helps with cooling. One method comes from our Australian ferret
friends: Put a damp towel over your ferretís cage, a bucket of
water on top of the cage, and another damp towel with one end in the
bottom of the bucket and the other end on the cage towel. The bucket
towel acts as a wick to draw water from the bucket and keep the cage
towel wet. The evaporating water keeps the cage cooler, as long as
the humidity is low. A fan can help the evaporation process.
- Ice is a great cooling method, and
works regardless of humidity. The easiest way is to use plastic
drink bottles. Fill clean 1- or 2-liter bottles 3/4 full of water
and freeze (without caps). When frozen, cap tightly. I always have
several frozen bottles available for regular use, emergencies (such
as a power failure), or travel. When it is time for ferret use, I
put the bottle in a tube sock or wrap it in a towel. Tie a knot in
the top of the tube sock. The fabric soaks up condensation and keeps
ferrets from having direct contact with the ice (which can cause
skin injuries). Put frozen bottles on the cage bottom. Cold air
sinks when undisturbed, so donít use a fan because the cold will
blow away from your ferret.
- Out of frozen bottles? Put
cubed/crushed ice into resealable plastic food storage bags with
water. Place the ice-water bags under the ferretís bedding, or
wrap in a towel. These bags need to be changed more often than
frozen bottles. You can also use instant cold packs, which are made
from gel chemicals. Ferrets should never have direct contact with
these packs because the chemicals are toxic and the pack could
freeze to your ferretís skin. These packs are small (youíll need
several per ferret), expensive, last for about an hour, and usually
not reusable. However, these packs are handy for emergencies, and I
keep some in my first aid kit.
- Keep Your Cool!
- Moving from the dry heat of Texas to
the humid heat of Florida has kept me on my toes this summer to keep
my furrballs nice and cool! I hope these tips help you and your
ferrets beat the heat!