Posted: February 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST
Q: Is using PVC to make play tunnels for ferrets a good idea? I was planning to drill holes along the sides of all the tubes and connect them without chemicals, but I am unsure if this is safe for ferrets.
A: The main concern with PVC seems to be with soft PVC (used in clothing, toys, and other items) and the burning of PVC, which might possibly release a harmful gas. PVC for the use of plumbing has been approved by the ANSI/NFS. Generally, PVC has also been approved for use by the FDA, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, The National Fire Protection Association, and other organizations.
The concerns of some groups about PVC seem to center around disposal of it and the possible hazard to children or parrots that may chew and ingest the plastic.
For your use with ferrets, my main concern would be size of pipe you choose. You need a diameter that is large enough for a ferret to go through and turn around, or for two ferrets to pass each other so that neither gets stuck.
I personally have a couple of large pieces of PVC for my ferrets. I also use it for my rats, as well as for creating dog agility equipment. I don’t use it for chinchillas or degus, because those pets are excessive chewers. I don’t make toys using PVC for my parrot, but I did make a vet-approved playstand for him out of PVC.