The Sleeping Habits of Ferrets: Are Ferrets Nocturnal?

Ferrets are active creatures that love to run and play. They might be the perfect pet for you! When you’re choosing a pet you’ve got to consider if it’s suitable for your lifestyle. A lot of pocket pets are nocturnal or crepuscular. This means that they’re active at night or at twilight. It’s important to know if ferrets are nocturnal before choosing one.

If you have a busy schedule during the day you won’t mind having a nocturnal or crepuscular pet. But if you need a good night’s sleep or don’t have time in the evening to play and take care of your pet, a pet that’s diurnal, which means active during the day, is more suitable.

Are ferrets nocturnal? Ferrets are crepuscular, which means that they are more active during twilight periods. A ferret will usually sleep between 18 and 20 hours a day. Most ferrets are more active during dusk and dawn. However, these furry pets are also known to easily adapt their sleeping habits.

Ferrets are crepuscular pets and need a lot of sleep just like cats and dogs. This doesn’t mean that they sleep in one long haul. They will have awake and sleep periods that are adjusted to your own sleeping schedule. Because they sleep for such a large part of the day you should invest in some good bedding and hammocks for your ferret.

In this article you’ll be learning everything there is to know about the sleeping habits of your ferrets. You’ll learn how long and where they usually sleep.  I’ll also give you some tips and tricks to not disturb your ferret while it’s sleeping.

Ferret Sleeping Habits

How long do ferrets sleep?

Ferrets sleep between 18 and 20 hours a day. Ferret babies and older ferrets usually sleep more than young and adult ferrets. They can even sleep 20 to 22 hours a day. A young ferret will spend more time awake because it’s interested in exploring its environment and will want to play more. Male ferrets are also usually a bit lazier and tend to sleep more than females.

No one ferret is the same and some might sleep a little bit more or a little bit less. You will notice that a ferret spends more time asleep than awake. The reason for this is that ferrets tend to be very intense when they’re awake. They will get tired from playing and exploring their environment while they’re awake.

There doesn’t seem to be a preference for sleeping during the day or during the night. Ferrets won’t sleep 18 hours in a row but mix awake and sleeping periods. For about every one hour of playtime, they will sleep five hours. 

How do ferrets sleep?

Ferrets have a lot of different sleeping positions and don’t really mind how they sleep as long as they’re comfortable. They can sleep on their back or curl up. Ferrets have long bodies and can be really flexible when taking up a sleeping position. They will close their eyes while sleeping and can spend several hours in a position.

Where do your ferrets sleep?

Ferrets like to burrow and will sleep in dark and hidden places. Since ferrets should spend at least several hours outside their cage and they’ll play most of the time you can expect a sleeping ferret in unusual places.

When a ferret is really tired it can fall asleep almost anywhere. Most often they tend to seek hidden places like under the blankets of a bed, under the bed, sock drawers, piles of laundry, and under carpets. It’s important to ferret-proof your room to prevent accidents with your ferrets while it’s finding a place to sleep.

When a ferret is in its cage you should obviously also have a sleeping place for them. It’s recommended to get two to three hammocks or beds for your ferrets to sleep in. There are several kinds of hammocks, some are open and some are closed. Get at one of each so your ferret can choose where to sleep depending on the light in the room.

Adaptive sleeping habits

Ferrets are crepuscular pets that show activity during the day but are more active during dawn and dusk. They are capable of changing their sleeping habits and become more diurnal or nocturnal. The sleeping rhythm of ferrets can be changed depending on your own lifestyle.

Changing the sleeping schedule isn’t that difficult. Your ferret will want to play with you and will notice when you’re awake and change its habits quite rapidly. When you work during the day you should play with your ferret in the morning and evening. It will then stay awake during these periods and sleep for most of the day and night. When you’ve got a more nocturnal schedule, your ferret will notice that your awake at night and will want to play with you then. It will sleep most of the day in such a case.

Tips and Tricks

A healthy ferret needs its sleep and it’s important that you don’t bother them too much their sleep. To help you give your furry pet the best sleep, here are some tips and tricks.

  • create a dark sleeping place during daytime: when ferrets are exposed to light a lot their body will think it’s spring, which is the mating season of ferrets. This will stimulate the body to make hormones and can lead to adrenal disease. Make sure that they have a hammock or bed in the cage where they can hide from any light and don’t expose them to prolonged daylight, for example by artificial lighting the room. 
  • cover the cage at night or keep lights at a minimum: ferrets don’t need light at night so make sure that they have a hammock or bed in the cage where they can hide from any light. You can also just put a cover over the cage at night so there’s no light disturbing your ferret.
  • let your ferret outside its cage at least four hours a day: ferrets aren’t animals that should be kept the entire day in their cage. You should let your ferret outside its cage at least four hours a day. Play with your ferret and let your ferret get tired from the playtime. You don’t need to spend these four hours in one consecutive period but can divide them as you choose.

Related Questions

Can ferrets sleep in bed with you?

When you’re playing with your ferret it can happen that it fall asleep in your bed. However, it’s recommended not to sleep with your ferret for safety reasons and to avoid getting scratched or bitten when your ferret wants to play. Ferrets might also poop in your bed which you want to avoid.

Are ferrets active at night?

When you play enough with your ferrets during the day, they will not be active at night. It’s possible that they will wake up and play with a toy or eat something. Most ferrets will be more active at dawn and dusk. Unless you’re active at night, your ferrets will sleep at night.

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