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With their fast moving, flexible bodies, no one is surprised at the ferret’s innate ability to get into the oddest of places. Owners realize that allowing them to run free is often a recipe for disaster. At the same time, if they are kept penned up too long, they quickly become bored or so agitated that they will do anything to escape.
In such situations, ferrets can become so depressed that they either sleep too much or they could harm themselves trying to break free from their confinement. In either case, it becomes a hazard to their health. This is why in addition to their home cage, you might want a playpen to add a little variety and adventure to their lives, but in a safe environment.
Ferret playpens are designed specifically to fill the needs of these fun-loving creatures and still keep them safe. They provide them with a complete change of environment and are sturdy enough to confine them in an area where they can be free from harm.
But, it is not always easy to find a playpen that is capable of containing such a hyperactive creature. When choosing the best ferret playpen, there are several key elements that are important to look for.
Safety Is Crucial
There are many types of small animal playpens on the market today, but not all of them have what it takes to keep a ferret safe. They are either made of the wrong kind of material or are not capable enough to contain such a determined creature.
Even if you just want to use the playpen to give you time to clean your ferret’s cage, you want an area where they can play free of concerns. Your primary focus above all else should be safety. Because they have a natural tendency to chew and gnaw at all sorts of things, the playpen must be made of durable material that can withstand such treatment.
There are many cloth, mesh, and plastic playpens available that promise to contain a small pet, but a determined ferret will quickly turn those materials into shreds. Ideally, you want a cage that is made of a strong metal (preferably galvanized steel) that cannot be easily chewed through.
Look for one that can be quickly assembled and disassembled. This will make it easy for you to clean when they are finished, and portable so you can set up both inside and outside without hassle, giving them a wide variety of new environments that can explore.
Avoid Playpens with Wired Floors
Wire playpens, while strong, can pose a unique danger for ferrets if they are not constructed in the right way. Try to avoid any that have wire floors and opt for those that have a solid or no base instead. If it does have a wire floor, the spaces between the wires should be no more than ¼ inch apart. Your ferrets can easily get their claws stuck between the wires as they scurry about, causing injury.
If you can’t find one without a wired floor, cover it with some easy to remove linoleum so it poses no real threat to your ferret’s health.
Be Careful With Playpens that Come Without Bottoms
Some playpens come without bottoms, which can be fine if you’re keeping them indoors. However, if you have any plans to setup the playpen outdoors, you need to be extra careful. Because they are inclined to burrow, dig, and tunnel through anything they can get their claws into, you want to make sure that the outdoor playpen has a durable bottom that they cannot dig through or under.
If you’re planning to use one outside, look for one that has a secure top. The outdoors poses additional threats to their safety. Predators are often looking for vulnerable prey, and your ferret, confined in a closed playpen with no means of escape can be very appealing.
Some ferret playpens come with a removable top that can not only protect them from these types of threats but also keep them hidden from view.
Ferret Playpens Must Be Escape Proof
The ferret’s natural instincts are to chew through, burrow under, and climb over things. Because of this, they are real artists when it comes to escape, so ensure that there is no way for them to jump or climb up the sides of the playpen or dig its way out. If the spaces between the bars are too large, or if there are any cracks or crevices they can get their little claws into, then you can be sure they will attempt an escape.
Be careful of playpens that have horizontal bars as this allows a ferret to get more leverage to jump and climb over. Even one horizontal bar in the middle can pose a big problem. In fact, if the playpen is not high enough and has a horizontal bar on the top or near the top, this can also provide enough leverage for a ferret to jump over.
Check the security of the playpen’s latches. They should be made in a way that the animal won’t be able to accidentally manipulate them or pop them open. The latch should be strong and sturdy but easy enough to open for you but complex enough to discourage the ferret from attempting it.
The playpen needs to be large enough to give them the freedom of movement they need. Look for one that has different sections so that they can feel like they are exploring a new environment each time they use it. The more panels it has, the better.
You can fill each section of the playpen with interesting objects that will keep them actively engaged for hours on end. Your ferret can roam from one area of the playpen to the next, each section offering something different to keep entertained.
Playpens should also be high enough so that the ferret can’t climb or jump over. And you will be surprised at how high a ferret can climb when given the right opportunities. So, if you are not able to find playpens with barriers that are nigh enough for your ferret, then invest in one that has a cover.
The Best Rated Playpens for Ferrets
1. MidWest Homes for Pets Small Animal Exercise Pen
This playpen provides a play area of more than 12 square feet, giving little ferrets plenty of room to scurry around. Users highly rate this playpen for its safety and its ease of setup. With eight separate panels, you can make this pen as large or as small as you need it. Each panel is coated with an epoxy so that it can withstand the rough treatment these little critters will have on it and look good for a long time. Each panel is 18”w x 29”h, making it high enough to keep many ferrets from climbing over the top (We really feel that playpens should be higher as some ferrets are able to jump over with the right type of leverage, but this type of playpen is almost impossible to find unless you get one custom made. If you choose to use this playpen outdoors, make sure you use it on a patio or other solid surface. Without a bottom, a ferret could easily dig its way out and run off to other more dangerous adventures. You can find more information on this product here.
2. Marshall Pet Products Pet Deluxe Play Pen
This playpen was rated high for both indoor and outdoor use. It also comes with 8 18”w x 29”h panels that are easily connected with snap together parts (no tools needed). It’s portable and can be broken down and packed away in a matter of minutes. You can also purchase your own floor mat and a cover for the top so you can be sure that your ferrets have no means of escaping. The bar spacing is approximately 1” wide so it is not ideal for smaller ferrets, but larger ones could be quite happy. You may need a sturdier mat for underneath if you plan to use it outdoors on a lawn or other diggable surface. This playpen is quite versatile, expandable and adaptable, so it can be used in a variety of different ways. It’s perfect for those who have multiple pets they want to keep tabs on. You can find more information on the product here.
As you shop around, you’ll find many small animal playpens that seem promising, but on closer inspection, are not able to meet the standards needed to keep your ferret safe.
Remember, the right playpen for your ferret should do more than enclose them in a confined space. So, it needs to be very comfortable and safe for him to move around without constant attention from you.
Ideally, choose one that can be broken down and reassembled in a variety of ways. This will keep your little fuzzy friend interested for longer periods of time so that they are less likely to want to wander into more dangerous territories.
Take extra care in choosing a playpen that will be used outdoors. Pay special attention to the construction of the floor so that they are not able to dig their way out. A top is also very beneficial to protect them from predators that may be lurking nearby, and also to prevent them from jumping or climbing over.
When getting a ferret playpen, it is important for you to find one that meets all your pet’s needs and gives you peace of mind at the same time. Just remember that while a playpen is great for entertaining your fuzzy friend, it can never take the place of you and the quality time you will be spending with him.