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When Is A Female Ferret Too Small?

Is anything wrong with a ferret that acts normally but is smaller than most other ferrets?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: December 1, 2011, 2:25. p.m. EST

Q: I have a 1-year-old, female ferret. I bought her from a pet store last summer as a baby ferret. I have a big problem about her weight. She is already more than a year old, but she still seems very small and her weight is always around 1.3 pounds. I know female ferrets are smaller, but several times I’ve found baby ferrets at the pet store that are bigger than mine, both female and male. I’ve tried different ferret-specific foods. The food and water are always served enough for her, and she looks healthy and active except small. Do you know why?

A: Male ferrets are almost always larger than female ferrets, even when both are neutered. When people discuss how much a female ferret should weigh, a range of weights is usually given. Neutered female ferrets usually weigh around 700 to 800 grams. Your ferret at 1.3 pounds is equal to about 600 grams.

A better way to determine if your ferret is undersized is to look at a range of weights. About 95 percent of healthy, neutered, female ferrets weigh between about 600 to 950 grams. Your ferret is on the lower edge of normal. If you are still not convinced, then palpate your ferret’s rib cage. Can you feel it easily? Does it stick out? Can you see each individual rib? How about the spine? Can you see the points of each vertebra on the back? If you can see and feel individual ribs very easily and if you can see the pointy top to each vertebra, then your ferret may be too thin and underweight.

Also, it’s good to have your ferret checked to make sure parasites and other diseases have not caused a stunted ferret.

Based on what you said, the odds are that you just have a petite ferret that is healthy in all other aspects. But, for peace of mind, visit your ferret’s veterinarian.

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When Is A Female Ferret Too Small?

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Reader Comments
My female ferret was brought home because the one we already had at home. He was sad because my son took one of the ferrets with him on a road trip. Yeah, the female is smaller. She's adorable. They male is not sad anymore and they play so well together. If you break up a pair, one will get lonely..
Cindy, Colchester, VT
Posted: 8/12/2014 4:30:14 PM
My ferret is also very small as well but she is healthy.
Vilanong, Toronto, ON
Posted: 7/31/2013 9:51:04 PM
My ferret is naturally tiny, she is very healthy but has always been small
Becky, York, PA
Posted: 2/10/2012 10:20:21 PM
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