What do ferrets eat?
As a beginner ferret owner, we have struggled with any questions like how ferrets are as pets? What are their sleeping patterns and all that stuff? But I think the most important thing as the pet ferret owner is what do ferrets eat? Why? Because the diet is the primary thing that ultimately defines your whole life.
We have seen several people with two types of preferences either they are vegetarians or non-vegetarians. Now, when they are given to eat something out of their comfort zone, usually they feel nausea. The same goes for the animals. You can’t feed animal proteins to a herbivorous animal and vice versa.
Now, if you ask me? What do ferrets eat? Then the apparent reply by most of the ferret owners is “Meat”. You must memorize this fact as a whole that ferrets are pure carnivores. When they have given carbohydrates or vegetable protein, they can get sick
So whenever someone asks you this question, What do ferrets eat? So the most prominent and appropriate answer is meat.
Ferrets Diet :
I have mentioned that ferrets are carnivores, and hence they require meat only. Like any other carnivorous animal, only meat should be given to them, or else they can get sick because their stomach cannot digest it.
Any raw meat is the most appropriate and best for your ferret. You can also give them the prey as a whole to eat.
In addition to raw meat, they can also be given high meal cat food because that also contains high amounts of protein. Now several companies are making high-quality ferret’s food.
Now the question What do ferrets eat? Does it not only include what they can eat? It is also associated with treats. For treats on some occasions, you can give them eggs.
Quantitatively a ferret’s diet should consist of 32-38% protein and 15 – 20 % low fat. That means a diet that is high in protein and low in fat is perfect for your cuddly family member.
Raw meat which Ferrets can eat :
Meat answers the central part of the main question What do ferrets eat? So we just have to know which meat can be given and which one is the most nutritious for the ferrets.
The following is the list of those meats which can be given to the ferret:
- Turkey necks
- Chicken wings
- Stripped carcasses of chicken
- Minced beef
- Heart of the lamb
The complete prey which can be given instead of the meat are :
- Rats or mice
Although it cringes and grosses for many owners to give the whole prey to their ferrets. It stimulates their instinct of hunting, and they are more likely to bite you as well.
However, you must maintain a high protein diet for your ferrets. Either you give them meat or whole prey. So the question What do ferrets eat? It is honestly answered till now. You can also check out my previous article on the sleeping behaviors of the ferrets How long do ferrets sleep?
Facts to know about ferrets digestive system:
Ferrets don’t have a very complex digestive system like we humans do. They don’t have a whole process of digestion through two intense. In contrast, they have a short path for the digestive system.
Moreover, they don’t have enzymes or any mechanism that can digest carbohydrates and vegetable proteins. It is the main reason when you ask What do ferrets eat? The professionals will reply with animal protein only.
You have to avoid giving ferrets vegetables and fruits as they contain very complex carbohydrates and fibers.
Ferret’s digestive system cannot handle these and cannot digest it. That explains they have a short range of digestive enzymes.
Also, If you don’t avoid giving them fruits and vegetables, they can develop diseases. Due to their short intestines, the ferret’s metabolic rate is very high. Therefore their eating pattern should be: “Eat less but eat often.”
What do they eat in their natural habitat:
To know about What do ferrets eat? In the wild? It is also essential because you have to replicate the same diet which they used to eat in their natural habitat.
It is essential to maintain their nutritional values. In their natural habitat, as they are carnivores, their diet mainly consists of animals. Besides, they can eat every part of their prey, including their bones.
You shouldn’t worry about eating the bones. It is necessary to maintain calcium levels, and it also helps in exercising their jaws.
Dried food which is best for your ferret:
You can buy any cat food or ferret food, which ensures the requirements of ferret’s diet, which is low fats and high proteins. Make sure that canned food should be high in protein because that is the main component of the ferret’s diet.
What food can Ferrets not eat?
Now, the question What do ferrets eat? Also, make us think about what they cannot eat, and it is essential as well. Any food or meat which is given unintentionally to the ferret and the ferret was not meant to have it.
It can prove fatal, as well. UN screened food can also lead to several kinds of diseases.
As they are carnivores, they should not be fed vegetables and fruits as they contain complex carbohydrates and fibers, which ferrets cannot digest. Therefore you should avoid giving them this kind of diet.
The main reason behind not digesting carbohydrates is that they don’t have any caecum. Many mammals have the capability of digesting complex carbohydrates due to enzymes that are produced by the caecum.
As they do not have it, they cannot digest it. The diet that is rich in carbohydrates can also lead to high glucose levels in the blood of the ferrets. High glucose levels lead to a disease which is called insulinoma.
Insulinoma means cancer of beta cells in the pancreas. In addition to this, vegetables also contain vegetable proteins that the ferret cannot digest.
It can also lead to several kinds of diseases like Bladder stones, Gastroenteritis, ulceration in the skin.
In contrast to this kind of diet does not only affect the gut, but also the reproduction proves, and ultimately, the kittens would suffer.
Following are the foods that should be avoided; otherwise, they can be fatal for the ferrets:
- Pinto beans
- Lima beans
- Pigeon beans
- White beans
- Green beans
- Plums (dried or fresh)
- Sweet potatoes
- Peanut butter
Clearly, from the discussion, it is evident how important is the topic What do ferrets eat?
Best food for your ferrets
It is the thing that you should store in some notepad or a diary that ferrets are strongly carnivorous animals. Hence the only diet that can be given to them is meat and meta only.
When you ask what do ferrets eat? The answer should cover all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, protein, and fats that the ferrets need. The best thing to feed them is commercial cat food or ferret feed. You also cam deaf them raw meat.
Try to give dry feed more because it prevents the formation of tartar. In contrast to this, the liquid or most diet favors the production of tartar in the gut.
A well balanced and well-maintained ferret’s feed consists of :
- Animal meat (30-35%)
- Fat (20 – 15%)
- 4% of fiber (not complex ones)
Also, keep in mind that water is also an essential thing in the ferret’s diet. Keep it available all the time while changing the food.
What does a ferret diet consist of?
A ferret diet is solely depending upon animal proteins majorly. However, they require other nutrients to maintain a healthy body.
In addition to the regular daily routine food, you should also give them treats, which can be in the form of pellets and raw meat or eggs or scrambled eggs.
“Chicken (cooked or raw), canned cat food or premium ferret food which is high in protein and low in fat along with some treats of eggs, plentiful amounts of water available all the time makes up a whole ferret diet.”
Questions and Answers
What do ferrets eat in the wild?
Ferrets are carnivores, and therefore, the central portion of their diet consists of animal proteins, which is meant. Also in the wild, they usually munch upon the whole prey they usually love to eat small rats, birds, etc.
What do ferrets eat as pets?
Usually the central portion of the diet of the ferret is meat. But if it seems expensive to you then as pets high-quality cat food and some companies are producing high-quality ferret food. But when you feed them canned food, make sure that it should be high in protein content and low in fiber as they cannot digest complex fibers.
What can ferrets eat for snacks?
For a treat or snack, you should give something to the ferret that is high in fat and protein like eggs or sometimes the whole prey. They can also be given meat cooked or grilled form as a snack. You can also give them eggs as the scrambled ones as treats.