Pooping is a natural by-product of a pet and one you must get used to as a ferret owner. While it is never nice to think about, its good to have an understanding of what you can expect in advance. It also makes sense to equip yourself with some knowledge and other considerations about their pooping habits and behaviors.
So, how often do ferrets poop? The average ferret will poop every 3-4 hours each day. Ascertaining the frequency of their bowel movements does vary depending on how much they eat. As ferrets are free feeders, pooping can reach up to 4-5x per day, or be as little as 1-2x per day.
Either way, you must make sure that food is available to them at all times and monitor their feeding/poop ratio.
To ensure that your pet ferret thrives and can meet their life expectancy of ten years, you must become acquainted with all aspects of their health. Poop is one such area.
Although pooping is not ideal nor great to think about, there are practical ways you can manage it and even train your ferret with.
To help you and your ferret with everything poop-related, let us delve deeper into the topic
Ferret Pooping Habits
To gain better insight into your ferret’s well-being, you must be aware of their pooping habits and behaviors; healthy ferret typically abide to the same kind of schedule.
Picking up after an untrained ferret is no laughing matter; the more they poop in multiple places the more that will be required from your perspective to clean it up and keep their/and your environment hygienic and odor-free.
Training your ferret to use a litter tray is time-consuming and does require perseverance and patience, but of course it will be worth it in the end.
You should however, always consider that ferrets have their own unique natural pooping habits. It is best to apply these to their litter training.
Ferrets do have a preference for defecating in corners (where possible), and they will actively try to avoid pooping anywhere near where they sleep or play.
Ferrets also like to designate specific pooping areas where they will look to return to.
Once you own a ferret for some time, you’ll soon start to observe that they have a regular spot that they will return to time and time again. So much so, that some owners can tell when their ferret is about to defecate.
Moreover, ferrets are known to give specific cues or facial expressions to signify that they are about to poop. Some owners will tell you that their ferret has a “pooping face,” others may hiss or make another sound when they are about to go.
If you have had your ferret for a while, you will grow accustomed to specific cues they give when they want to poo. You can use these cues and habits to your advantage as you train them to use a litter tray.
What Does Healthy Ferret Poop Look Like?
The color, shape, and texture of your pet ferret’s poop will indicate the condition of their health.
Healthy ferret poop should resemble a tootsie roll; in other words, it should be tubular and have a smooth, squishy consistency. The color should range from tan to brown.
A healthy ferret will have the same type of feces all the time. However, if there are any changes to the color, shape, or texture, it may not be health-related. A common cause for a change is due to alterations in their diet. Raw foods can occasionally produce very colorful poop.
Ferrets are carnivores, and if there’s a lot of blood in their meat, it may produce darker, nearly black colored poop.
If food goes through a ferret’s system too quickly, it may produce reddish or greenish colored feces. Seedy poop can mean that food is going through very fast.
If strange colored poop is occurring only now and again, it’s should not be a significant concern.
You should only worry when stools are entirely black, if there is visible blood present, if the poop is green and slimy, or if it’s pencil-thin.
Pitch black stools (seen regularly) are a potential sign of a possible bleeding in the upper digestive tract.
Blood in the stool is an undeniable sign that your ferret is in poor health, and green, slimy feces are a sign of a common ferret disease. Pencil thin feces might well be the sign of a blockage.
If discolored stools are due to diet changes, it may take two to three weeks for your ferret’s stomach to settle and for normal colored and consistency poop to return.
Discolored stools are often accompanied by an upset stomach, vomiting, and even refusal to eat; loose stools and seedy feces are to be expected in this regard.
You should be vigilant and closely monitor the poop of your ferret at all times. If you have any concerns over the color or consistency of their poop, if diet changes have not occurred or anything is particularly worrying – then it is always best to consult a vet.
Do Ferrets Poop In Litter Boxes?
The short answer is yes, ferrets poop in litter boxes. This is actually far more natural to them then you might have initially thought.
With ferret pooping habits in mind, we now now that ferrets like to poop in corners; keeping their poo away from sleeping and play areas.
We can use this to our advantage. Getting a litter box/tray is one of the best things you can do – for both you and your ferret alike.
Using a litter tray is great, it makes cleaning up quicker, easier and more effective. It ensures that your ferrets environment is more hygienic at all times and it can make them understand their habitat in better ways.
Plus, it can prevent the need for baths by preventing poop from getting stuck in their hair.
Getting a litter box may seem like an obvious purchase, however with a lot of options on the market it can soon become confusing as to what is the best one to get.
The Marshall Ferret Litter Pan on Amazon is a best seller and for good reason. It has been designed with ferrets in mind (not just small animals) and many ferret owners are very satisfied with the dimensions.
How Do I Get My Ferret To Use The Litter Box?
With this in mind and with a tray ready to use, you would be wise to leave the litter tray in corners and areas that they go for their business.
At first, you may not want to leave the litter tray where they normally defecate (and disrupt the process), but the presence of the litter tray should not put them off and they will need to get familiar with it.
Once your ferret uses the litter tray to eliminate, you then have the added potential burden of training them to use it in a new location of your choosing.
There are some necessary steps to take when training your ferret to use the litter tray:
Set Up The Litter Tray
It’s important to note that not all litters are safe for ferrets as they have fragile respiratory systems.
Opt for dust-free and unscented litter. Avoid litters that are toxic to your ferret’s health like pine and cedar.
Kaytee Small Animal Potty Training Litter is an excellent affordable option for Ferrets that is available on Amazon.
Make sure that you purchase a large litter tray (as mentioned above) as ferrets grow to be around 16 inches long once they reach maturity. The tray needs a low opening for your ferret to get in and out of easily. You will find as you go further down the litter training road that you may require more than one tray.
Place The Litter Tray In Your Ferret’s Cage
Your ferret will undoubtedly have a favorite spot to do their business. Therefore, you should place the tray in that very spot. Just make sure it is kept well away from their bedding, toys, and feeding dishes.
Leave unsupervised ferrets inside their cage until they are fully litter trained; otherwise you risk them going inside your home.
However, you shouldn’t keep your ferret locked up all the time as they do require time outside the cage throughout the day. Just make sure that you keep a close eye on them at all times. If they look like they are about to defecate quickly pick them up, take them to the cage and put them inside the liter tray.
Sometimes, holding the edge of the tray will help ensure your ferret excretes only into it. It also can help teach your ferret that it is a safe place for them to go.
Place Urine and Feces In The Litter Tray
Whenever your ferret does their business, collect the feces and wet bedding, and put it directly in the litter tray. The smell will let your ferret know the purpose of the tray. They will also learn that this is where their waste needs to go.
Just make sure that you wear disposable gloves whilst doing this for hygiene purposes. It is also a good idea to wear these when cleaning out the cage. Disposing of them ensures any germs and bacteria is not retained or transferred.
You will discover that even after being trained, your ferret will still have the odd accident – always put them back into the tray. Eventually, they should always use the tray for their business. Ferrets are intelligent and they will soon learn.
Accidents must be cleaned immediately, use a strong-smelling and animal safe disinfectant to eliminate foul odors. Cleaning the spot should discourage your ferret from reusing that location.
Clean The Litter Tray Daily
You must not allow feces to pile up in the litter tray, or cage, as this will create a stench.
You should clean the tray at least twice a day, and this should stop your ferret from digging and making a terrible mess.
You can use a little scooper to remove clumps of urine and waste. Make sure to dump the entire contents of the box once a week and wash the box thoroughly.
Reward Your Ferret For Using The Litter Tray
If you see your ferret using the box, give them lots of praise and offer them a little treat.
Positive reinforcement works wonders with ferrets when it comes to litter training.
If your pet does an accident and pees or poos outside the tray, you might be tempted to shout at them, do not do this!
Ferrets have short attention spans and scare easily, they will not understand why you’re chastising them.
Being harsh with your ferret will also stress them out, it may cause more accidents and it could even take more time before he learns to use the tray.
Ferret poop is a common and often discussed subject in online ferret forums. It’s hardly surprising why owners want to discuss their pet’s pooping habits; it plays a signficant part in their care and has a large impact on your responsibilities and duties as an owner.
If you were wondering how often ferrets poop, now you know it should be every three to four hours each and every day. This is crucial information so that you can understand what to expect.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have a better understanding of what a healthy ferret poo looks like, and what unhealthy poo looks like.
f you have concerns, make sure to have your ferret examined by a reputable veterinarian. It could indicate a health issue. Getting this resolved promptly may be all the difference between how they respond and recover.
Ultimately, ferrets are excellent pets and they can be very loving and affectionate towards their owners. They are friendly and live to a good age of 10 years on average.
If you feel that pooping 3-4 times per day is too often and it is discouraging you from getting a ferret, this needn’t be the case.
Ferrets are intelligent and they can be trained to defecate inside a litter tray. This makes cleaning up, and preventing odor and mess much more manageable!
Want to learn more about ferrets and their interesting traits and behaviors? Then be sure to read my guides below:
- Can Ferrets See In The Dark? [Considerations For Owners]
- How Big Do Ferrets Get? [Average Growth Rate & Expectations]
- Do Ferrets Get Along With Cats? [Can They Be Kept Together]
- Do Ferrets Play Dead? [The Answer Will Surprise You]
- Are Ferrets Noisy At Night? [They Can Be & How To Prepare]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.