People have ferrets and rabbits as pets, and they are both small, furry, and soft. They appear to have similar characteristics, so people often wonder if they can get along.
Unfortunately, ferrets and rabbits do not get along, and they need to be separated at all times. In the wild, rabbits are prey for ferrets, and if you put them together, the rabbit is likely to get hurt.
The Differences Between Rabbits and Ferrets
Although both rabbits and ferrets are popular pets, they are actually quite different. Rabbits are small mammals, and they come from the Leporidae family.
They are herbivores, and they have a diet of grass and leafy plants. Rabbits live in the wild all over the world, and there are some species that are livestock, while others are pets.
Ferrets are also small mammals, but they are from the Mustelidae family. Unlike rabbits, they are carnivores, and they depend on meat to survive.
They are in the same family as otters, weasels, polecats, and stoats. They are used as working animals and as pets, and they have relatives that live in the wild.
History of Rabbits and Ferrets
Rabbits and ferrets are connected by history. Around 2,500 years ago, people began domesticating the ancestors of the modern day ferret.
They wanted to use them to help them hunt rabbits and other small animals. Today, this is still happening in parts of the world.
People actually use ferrets to help them hunt rabbits. Ferrets are carnivores, and they eat rabbits, mice, rats, small birds, and reptiles.
They have an excellent prey drive, which makes them good hunters. In addition, they have a long and flexible body, so they can follow rabbits and other prey into holes and chase them through tunnels easily.
They kill them when they catch them, and rabbits naturally run from them. They are enemies in nature, and they aren’t going to be friends in your home.
Can Rabbits and Ferrets Live Together?
Rabbits and ferrets cannot live together. They are the typical predator and the prey, and eventually, the ferret will attack the rabbit.
Not only that, but it is likely that one day the ferret will eat the rabbit after it kills it. Rabbits are the perfect food for ferrets, and it is what they eat in the wild.
In fact, rabbit meat is often part of the ferret diet for domesticated ferrets. It is an important source of nutrients that ferrets need to survive.
Pet owners don’t feed live rabbits to their ferrets, but some feed them the meat.
Can You Live with Ferrets and Rabbits Separated in the Same House?
You can keep a rabbit and a ferret in the same house and keep the rabbit safe as long as they are in separate areas. Ideally, you won’t introduce them to each other or let them know that the other is there.
Rabbits are aware that they are prey, and they have good instincts when they see one of their predators. If the rabbit knows about the ferret, it is likely to feel stressed.
In addition, ferrets are known for their unique odor, and the rabbit is likely to smell it and become nervous. You should also keep the ferret from knowing about the rabbit so that it doesn’t try to find it.
It is important to do what you can to prevent them from smelling each other, so you will want to keep them in separate parts of the house.
You should consider changing your clothes when you move between the two animals. This will eliminate the scent so that you don’t stress your rabbit or peak your ferret’s curiosity.
Make sure that you don’t let either of them roam freely around the house. They should have separate living quarters, and they need to stay confined there.
Finally, you need to make sure that the rabbit enclosure is secure. You may even need to take steps to make it stronger so that the rabbit isn’t able to escape.
If you have a wired cage, you should know that a ferret can get through any gap that is greater than an inch. You should consider elevating the rabbit cage to make it more difficult for the ferret to reach if it does get into the room.
How to Ferret-Proof Your House
When you have a ferret, you will find that they are very social and love spending time out of their cages. They need exercise, and you must ferret-proof a room for them if you want to let them out.
The reason is that ferrets are naturally curious, and they will chew and swallow things, and they have long, flexible bodies, and they can fit in all kinds of openings.
You won’t be able to ferret-proof a room once; it is an ongoing process. You will want to watch your ferret when it is out so that it doesn’t get into anything.
The best thing to do is choose a room where your ferret can live and play. Make sure that this room is ferret-proofed, and you can close the door and let it run around.
You should block off the kitchen, the bathroom, and the laundry room because these are difficult rooms to ferret-proof. You need to make sure that your ferret can’t get outside.
It is easy for ferrets to get through a window screen, so make sure that your windows are closed when it is loose. You should also make sure that the doors are secure so that the ferret can’t get outside.
If you have any appliances, make sure that your ferret can’t get to them. They can easily get under them and up into them, and they might chew the electrical wires.
Ferrets will find places to take a nap while they are out, such as a basket of laundry. Make sure that you don’t accidentally throw your ferret into the washing machine or the dryer.
You will also need to protect your furniture. Ferrets are known to climb up into the inner workings of the furniture.
You might want to reinforce your furniture by stapling extra heavy fabric under chairs and couches. Be cautious if you have a recliner, and make sure that the ferret can’t get to it.
How to Rabbit-Proof Your Home
You also need to protect your rabbit when you let it loose in your home. First, make sure that your wires are covered because rabbits have sharp little teeth that will cut through them very easily.
You should cover wires with plastic sleeves or flex tubing, which you can buy at any electronics or hardware store.
You will also want to protect the bottom of wooden furniture and baseboards. You can get plastic guards to cover them.
You can also use gates that are made for puppies or babies to block them off from wood and wires. You also need to be careful about houseplants.
Rabbits won’t necessarily know which plants are safe and which are harmful, so make sure that they can’t get to them.
It is important to understand that ferrets and rabbits are not able to live together. They have a predator and prey relationship, and their instincts will cause the ferret to hurt and possibly kill the rabbit at some point.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.