Turning your ferret loose in your home can be a fun experience until they get into some place they don’t belong. The little critters love finding tight dark crevices where they can quickly fall asleep or stash some newfound toy they’ve just discovered.
Most of the time, ferrets are a joy to watch as they scurry about from one corner to another when they are freed from their cages. But in the bedroom, while it has all the things that they are naturally attracted to, it also harbors hidden dangers.
You may think that your bed is safe. It has plenty of dark space underneath for them to spend their leisure time, but it is fraught with danger. Ferrets do not think like humans; they don’t understand what can happen to them if someone sits on the bed, or goes to lie down.
They can easily be crushed or they can quickly suffocate in the folds of all the stuffing inside, not to mention the dangers of getting caught in one of the coils.
If you’re going to have a ferret in your bedroom, you need to make sure your bed is a safe place for them to be inside. There are several solutions that other ferret owners have discovered work very well at keeping their pets safe.
One of the first things you want to look at is the base of the bed. Fortunately, most beds are made of wood or metal, so they are not likely to chew through them. However, the darkness of the underside can be very tempting. If you are using the area for storage, you want to make sure that everything is sealed tightly so the ferrets cannot get into them.
Many people use the space under the bed to hide blankets and other bedding material so they can easily switch them when needed. Ferrets can tear through these bedding materials and crawl inside.
Sadly, many of these animals have lost their lives from doing just that. They are attracted to the soft feel of the blankets and will burrow their way in, making a nice soft little bed for themselves. If they are unable to get out, they can suffocate in the creases. Make sure these types of bedding are stored away in a closet or high up and out of their reach.
The Box Spring
The box spring holds many hidden dangers for a ferret and it is probably the easiest area for them to have access to. The thin material used to cover the underside can be ripped through with their claws and they can be inside in a matter of seconds. Once inside, they could be injured by the springs, crushed, or they may end up using all that space as a place to go potty, and that would be more than unpleasant for you.
To prevent ferrets from getting into those inner recesses, cover the bottom of the box spring with a material that they cannot claw through. Some people use linoleum because it is flexible and won’t make the bed feel so rigid, but it is durable enough to prevent them from scratching their way inside.
Others will put a fitted sheet over the bottom with the elastic side pointing up, and then take a second fitted sheet and place it over the top of the box spring. Sheets are a great deterrent if your ferret has never been inside your box spring.
The Base of the Bed
If your goal is to prevent access entirely then you need to prevent them from even reaching the base of the bed. By building an impenetrable cover to go around the entire base, your ferret will not be able to get underneath where he can get into trouble.
These can be built out of simple plywood, or any type of wood that is strong enough to not get through. You can paint it any color you want to match your décor or you can leave it bare.
If you are tempted to leave it bare and cover it with bedding that goes all the way to the floor, you will only give your ferrets something else to climb. Ferrets are great climbers, and a comforter or a bed spread are perfect climbing instruments.
All they need to do is get their claws into them and within a few seconds they have easy access to your mattress, which will create a whole other set of woes for you to deal with.
Protecting Your Mattress
If your ferret is able to climb up on your bed, they can easily claw down into your mattress and get inside. You don’t want to put something hard over your mattress because that would make it uncomfortable to sleep, but you can prevent them from getting to it by keeping it covered with a tightly fitted sheet, secured all around with Velcro.
Some people take a foam cover and put it over the mattress to make sure that if their ferret is able to claw through the sheet, they can still be prevented from tearing into the mattress lining.
When it comes to protecting your bed, the most effective approach is to start from the bottom. The more deterrents you have at the bottom of the bed, the easier it will be to keep them from exploring the top.
But really, the only foolproof method of keeping a ferret from destroying your mattress is to cut off all access to it. This means not having anything they can climb up. Make sure there is no bedding hanging down they can cling to. Box off the base of the bed and keep the bottom of the headboard free of clutter so they can’t use any of it as a platform to climb up from.
Think Like a Ferret
You should apply the same rules for a bed as you would for any other piece of furniture in your home. The best strategy is to totally prevent access by creating barriers to the areas you don’t want them to go, or to keep them in a ferret playpen where they still have some freedom of movement outside their cage. This really depends on the setup of your home and where you spend most of your time while your ferret is out and about.
However, it helps to remember that ferrets are very smart animals and in time, will inevitably figure out exactly what it takes to overcome those barriers. But if you think the same way your little guy thinks, then you will be able to figure out why they are determined to get in there. Ferrets are naturally curious and the first time they go into areas that are off limits, it is just their innate nature moving them to explore.
Once in there, they will quickly find a use for the space and you will have an even harder time getting them out.
If you know exactly what they are using the space for, then you can fulfill that need in another safer area. If they are using it as a storage space, you can create a safer place to keep their treasures in an area you want them to be.
If your ferret is looking for a dark place to snuggle in for a nap, then you can create a snuggle cubby that looks and feels the same as the inside of your bed. However, make sure that you don’t use thick covers like quilts or blankets as they can be hard for the ferrets to get out of.
Instead, consider using old T-shirts or sweatshirts. They are just as soft but are smaller and a ferret has little to no chance of getting trapped inside and suffocating in the process.
When it comes to ferret proofing your bed, there are many options to try. Some will work for you and others will not. Still, even if you do find a solution that stops your ferret dead in their tracks, don’t get too comfortable. If they are determined to get into some space, they will continue to try and may even figure out a way to overcome whatever solution you came up with.
Don’t let that discourage you; it is very hard to outwit a ferret for long. This is a fundamental truth that every ferret owner comes to know and appreciate. Your home will never be 100% ferret proof. The more you do, the more your pet will learn, and eventually, you’ll have to think of something else to keep them at bay.