Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Child Proofing Part 1

     Is just the first steps in ferret proofing the home to keep the perpetual 2 year old safe. Many people do not realize just how determined a ferret can be until its too late.

Ferret Fact: If it can get it’s head through a hole its body will follow.

     With that said most ferrets can squeeze through a hole that is an inch wide. Unless of course it’s name is Gweny then any hole is fair game. The boy’s cage wire is approximately ½ inch. The boy’s can’t get more than their noses through. Gweny on the other had has gotten out and meet me on the front porch where I was washing her cage.

     Any hole no matter how small needs to be blocked up. Ferrets are extremely inquisitive and will let their curiosity get the better of them. I have heard from friends of their ferret finding a hole in a wall and climbing into it and eating through the insulation to see what was beyond it. Unfortunately he didn’t live because of eating the insulation.

Fact: Ferrets love to climb.

     Ferrets have very bad depth perception when it comes to judging just how high up they have climbed. Some will try to jump to the ground unaware of the fact they are six feet in the air. Mouse loved to climb the side of the cages and take a nap on the very top. I am lucky in that he never liked jumping and always yelled for me to get him down. I think maybe he was afraid of heights.

     Another issue with climbing is that a ferret will climb over baby/dog gates to get where they want to go. If you have a designated room for your ferrets you need a solid piece of wood or Plexiglas that is as wide as the doorframe and higher than the ferret can reach. I have read that a minimum of 3ft is good but I have found that a determined ferret can get over that. Lance and Gweny are good examples of that.

     In the summer the room I let them out in gets very hot with the door closed so I leave it open and slide in the board that is now 4ft tall.

     Three summers ago I put in a 3ft board and went downstairs to refill their water bottles. I heard the scratching sound and figured it was just one of my ferrets trying to get my attention.

     I came around the corner from the kitchen in time to see Gweny racing down the stairs. Now Gweny is only about 6ins long not counting her tail and very petite. I couldn’t figure out how she had gotten out. I was still hearing the scratching sound as I scooped her up and carried her and the water bottle up the stairs back to the ferret room and was greeted by Lance trying to get over the board.

     I put Gweny back into the room and climbed over the board. Knowing ferrets don’t give up easily I sat down in my computer chair and watched. Within 5 minutes Lance and Gweny were sniffing at the board to see if any holes had developed I guess. Lance laid down like a speed bump across the length of the board and Gweny climbed on top of him. Lance then stood up boosting Gweny high enough to get a hold of the top of the board and used her back feet to propel her over the top. That was the end of the open door until I got a taller board.

Fact: Ferrets love to dig

     Carpets, couches, box springs, houseplants,drapes, cats, and I am sure a host of other items have been introduced to the ferrets claws. Unlike cats ferret claws do not retract and need to be constantly cut back or they turn into very sharp little knives.

     Some ferrets dig at carpet. I am not sure of the reason but no matter how much prevention you take to protect the carpet a determined ferret will dig a big hole in the carpet. Once there is a hole a ferret will climb under the carpet and tunnel around under it. My ferret’s room has tile floors and a few of those door mat type rugs.

     Couches present verity of problems. I know several free roaming ferret owners that own futons to protect their fur kids. Some of the reasons include a ferret getting caught in the mechanisms of sofa bed/ recliner type couches, digging a hole in the underneath of the couch and climbing up under the cushions and taking a nap, and using the couch for a hidey hole.

     The couch in the ferret’s room isn’t used very much and never while the ferrets are out. Except to be bounced on by the ferrets. Once a month it gets tipped forward and the “treasures” removed.

     Not sure where your favorite pen went, that bottle of sexy red nail polish you paid a handsome price for, paint brush, hair brush, the doll you bought for your niece for Christmas, your roommate’s lighter? This is just a sampling of what I have found under the couch. As I have said before James's newest theft item is dog food and at the end of the month I have a dust pan full.

     House plants have soil and ferrets will empty a pot of dirt in a matter of seconds. Some of the commercial soils have pesticides, fertilizer, and other chemicals toxic to a ferret. Also almost all house plants are toxic to ferrets that might like to take a taste.

     Some cats have forged a unique bond with ferrets and use them as an automatic scratching post. I know this for a fact because Majic will rub up against the boy’s cage and wait for James to claw at his back. Both seem to get enjoyment out it.


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