Posted: March 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST
Q: Our 7-year-old, female ferret just had her very large spleen removed along with another mass (awaiting test results to determine whether part of adrenal or ovary). She has lost most of her fur. Can you tell me how to keep a furless ferret warm? I've tried a cut up sock, but I am afraid she'll get her claws caught in it. Any ideas?
A: Even a furless ferret produces body heat, so you should be able to cover her with bedding or place a lot of bedding in her cage. I like to use old sheets for this, because they don’t fray and are easy to clean.
If supervised, you can try putting a heating pad on a low setting or a hot water bottle with your ferret. Beware, though, as the hot water bottle can quickly become a cold water bottle, and you don’t want to leave the heating pad with her for too long in case something happens. They make heating pads for reptiles that are meant to go on the outside of the cage, so you could try one of those and place the heat source on the outside of her cage.
Another option is to make a nice little nest for her in a Rubbermaid (or similar) type of storage tub. Fill the tub with washable bedding, and place a heat pad on the outside. If you do this, pay close attention to her because she could overheat — even without fur, ferrets can still keep quite warm.