About Ferrets : ferrets & the weather

Because ferrets are not native to Australia they have very little tolerance for our temperature extremes and can die as a result of too much or too little heat. As responsible pet owners therefore, it is our duty to provide protection from the elements for our furry companions.


Any temperature over 32 degrees Centigrade can kill a ferret. They do not sweat and lack the ability to effectively pant, so their living quarters need to be kept cool.

The easiest way is to confine the ferrets to air-conditioned comfort during heat waves. For those who do not have these facilities, other measures can be taken.

Frozen plastic bottles of water, wrapped in cloth and placed in the ferret's sleeping quarters are very effective. "Besser Blocks" wetted down with water are another alternative. (Ensure the ferret quarters are in a shaded area)

Children's wading pools can be used as a ferret "swimming pool" in the warmer months, as some ferrets enjoy snorkelling, standing with their legs in the water, or even swimming.

Draping their living quarters with wet bagging or towelling is effective too, as long as the material can be kept moist during the hottest part of the day. On very humid days, this method can be improved by using an electric fan to facilitate the evaporation which causes the cooling. A drip system to keep the material moist, without wetting the inside of the living quarters, can be set up by a hose or by a pin-prick in a juice or wine cask liner.

Please note that a fan, by itself, does not cool a ferret. The cooling effect that we feel from a fan is caused by the increased evaporation of our sweat. Because ferrets do not sweat, they derive no benefit from the increase in air movement.

Underground tunnels can remain cool during summer and some of our members have been very innovative in providing below-ground apartments for their ferrets. Soakwells and refrigerators have been buried, with piping to allow the ferrets access & doors and plugs to enable owners to perform cleaning duties and change bedding. A thermometer check will enable you to see if your underground facility is cool enough.


An active ferret generates enough heat to sustain it, even in below freezing temperatures. Once a ferret settles and sleeps however, its reduced core temperature and small body mass can make low temperatures lethal.

Insulation of a ferret's sleeping quarters is very important during Winter. Metal and concrete allow for the rapid transition of heat away from the ferret's body and need to be well covered. Wads of newspaper beneath the ferret's mattress is a good insulator and has the advantage of being easily replaced.

Layers of warm bedding for the ferret to snuggle into is a must, but care should be taken in the selection of materials. Open weave fabrics can snag on ferret toenails and looped fringes can entangle its body, so, warm, tightly woven bedding should be used.
Straw and shredded paper are not suitable bedding materials for ferrets.