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How to care for a found ferret

Q - I work at a animal shelter for cats and dogs but we got a call on a ferret last night. I've taken animals in from the shelter from rabbits to dogs and now a ferret. I don't know much about ferrets not even sure if I will end up keeping it but this poor little ferret ended up on somebody's door step last night and they called the shelter and one of the guys picked it up. I brought it home today and was finally able to get a good look at it. This ferret is very thin and has a old puncture wound on its head like something bit it. Its being feed kitten food right now until I can get to the store for some proper diet. I just need some advice on what to do? What it should eat and if I was to decide that I couldn't keep it. If you had space for it? Thank you for your time.

A - Keeping her on kitten food is the best bet now. If she is eating it she needs to keep eating. As long as she is eating and drinking she will put on weight quickly. If she has been bitten I would be careful, she may have been bitten by a rabid animal. Anything healthy probably would have killed her. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Follow up -Its me again. I wanted to give you a update and I have a couple questions. I am quickly falling in love with this little guy. I have always wanted a ferret but I never knew I would end up with one this way. The ferret seems to be doing alright. It needs a nail clipping. The nails are very long on this guy but it is eating and drinking good. The old wound on its head looks scabbed over but a little swollen. At work a animal that has bitten is placed on a 10 day confinement. This guy hasn't bitten but I will watch it closely for the next couple of weeks. If it isn't showing any signs of rabies by then. I am going to take it to the vet. It seems docile but today when I gave it fresh food and water for the second time. It was biting at the cage to get to the food I was getting together. I bought some ferret treats and a vitamin supplement for the ferret today. It must have wanted it really bad but after I got the food in the cage it stopped and never tried to bit me. It even got those long nails stuck twice and never attempted to bit me. I wonder if its just a older ferret that somebody just tossed out the door. Do you have a way that you age these guys? And how do you tell if its a boy or a girl? Thank you for all your help.

A - This little body is a him or a her not an it. Can we refrain from calling this little one an it? When you look at her belly, if there is a button on her belly she is a he, no button she is a she. For now we will call her to make it easier on both of us.
  You can clip her nails with human nail clippers. Dribble a little ferretone on her belly he or she should lick it off the belly. You can set her/him in your lap and cut the nails that way, stay away from the red part of her nail. If you do not get the nails clipped she is going to get them caught - she could end up with a broken leg. That is good she is eating well.
  Do you have any antibiotic cream in the house? If so put some on the head wound.
  Yes I understand animals that bite are quarantined for 10 days, what I was referring to is she may have been bitten by a rabid animal.
  Have you allowed her out of the cage for any run time? Ferrets are not caged animals, they are companion pets, they need out of the cage time (minimum 4 hrs a day, mine get 6 to 8 hours a day). She should be free fed food and water in the cage at all times, meaning keep food and water in the cage for her at all times. Blankets for her to burrow in, after you cut her nails, and a box of some kind with a blanket in it would be best so she can sleep in the dark.
  I do not expect she is going to bite you unless you do something to frighten her or hurt her. Ferrets only bite when humans make them bite.
  She is probably an adult ferret, but there is no way I can say without actually seeing her. We look at their teeth to age, but unless you know what you are looking for you are not going to be able to determine her age.


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