10 Ways to Make Ferret Toys from Household Items
by Vikki Lager
Ferrets have very short attention spans. It’s important to rotate the things you give them to play with. They may decide on a favorite toy, but more options are always better. Ferret enrichment can be fun for both of you! These are just a few ideas. Be creative and don’t forget that play time is the most fun when you are involved.
1. Ferrets love to dig. Make them a dig box and enjoy what happens. It’s best if you buy a clear plastic Rubbermaid container, so you can watch them play. Using a lid is optioinal, and most people cut a hole in the top. When your ferrets are digging, the stuff stays in the container instead of all over the room. Fill half way with dry pasta, dry beans, or rice. Watch for ferrets that decide it is a litter box. Alternatively, you can make a ball pit using the same type of tub filled with ping pong balls.
2. Ferrets also love to play in boxes. Keep the boxes from beer, soda, yogurt or things that have been shipped to you for a couple of days. They will have a great time playing in the boxes and may even curl up for a nap in a box. Be careful of packing peanuts. If the packing peanuts are made of plastic, don’t let the ferret play with them, as they could cause a dangerous blockage if the ferret tries to nibble. The cornstarch packing peanuts are safe and ferrets love to play in them. How do you tell the difference? Run them under water, the cornstarch packing peanuts will dissolve.
3. A pair of jeans is a fun toy. Put the ferret(s) in at the waistband and let them run down through the legs. Make sure you are involved with the play time – wiggle the pant leg around so the ferret will know you are there and will run down the leg and out the bottom opening.
4. A shoebox will make a great hiding place or nap spot for a ferret. Cut a small hole in the side of a shoebox and put a sleep sack or a something cushy and soft inside. You can keep it closed with a couple of large rubber bands. That way you can open it up to easily wash the bedding material that you’ve put inside.
5. Most ferrets love to play with plastic bags. Of course, since they can be dangerous, you should supervise any playtime with plastic bags. If you use a grocery/department store bag, make sure you cut the looped handles so your ferret doesn’t get its head caught or get the bag wrapped around its neck. Rattle the bag around when your ferret is out and see what happens.
6. You can turn a small blanket or a large towel into a ferret game. Throw the blanket or towel on top of the ferret and play peek-a-boo or hide and seek. You can also put the ferret on top of the blanket or towel and take the ferret for a ride by pulling the blanket or towel along a wood or tile floor.
7. Ferrets love to play in tunnels. Tunnels are sold commercially, but some like to use dryer hose to make a tunnel. I prefer using a clear tunnel so I can see them playing while they’re inside the tunnel. Some people like to put the tunnel on a staircase so the ferrets can go up and down the stairs or up and down through the tunnel.
8. Reusable shopping bags can be fun for ferrets. Put some wadded up paper inside and add the ferret. You can also use ping pong balls in the bag. This is along the lines of the dig box.
9. Paper bags are also fun for ferrets to play in. If you rattle the bag, it will encourage the ferret to check out the bag. The bag can be empty or can have some toys or plastic bags inside. Don’t forget to supervise if you use plastic bags.
10. Ferrets love toilet paper and paper towels. If you don’t mind cleaning up the mess and watching closely to make sure the ferret doesn’t try to eat some of the paper, give the ferret a roll of paper, make sure the end isn’t stuck, and watch the hilarity. The ferret might dig at it or might grab the end and run with it. After playing, the ferret might decide it’s a good place to take a nap. A warning: make sure to supervise play – since ferrets are so inquisitive and love to explore, the cardboard tube can pose a potential hazard because the ferret can get its head caught inside.