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Fennecs vs Ferrets

For species less common than reds and arctics.

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Neofelis
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Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Neofelis » Sun May 26, 2013 3:19 pm

So I've been reading about both, and they seem strangely similar in temperament and behavior....could just be the sources I've looked at recently. From people who've had/worked with both, what are the main differences in living with either?

Is either more affectionate? Hyper? Obviously fennecs are noisier.... Anything you can think of really!
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Alynn » Sun May 26, 2013 3:28 pm

I wouldn't know for certain, since I've only worked with ferrets, not owned them, and I haven't worked with fennecs, so don't take any of my word for it. xD

Ferrets are probably going to be smellier, but they're cleaner, in the sense that they will use a corner pan/litter pan. Fennecs go where ever, including where they sleep, so they're harder to keep up after.

Ferrets are going to be easier to feed than a fennec. Fennecs are omnivores and insectivores, so they need a well balanced diet that includes bugs. There's a lot of staple ferret food (how healthy it is is up for debate), but with fennecs, you have to tailor their diets.

Fennecs also outlive ferrets by a fair margin. Fennecs can live 10-15 years, ferrets 7-10.

Ferrets are going to tolerate you petting and holding them, and are happy to sit in a pouch or in your lap for hours. Fennecs? Not so much. They have their periods of when they seek out affection, but they aren't going to laze around like a ferret will, or be so ok with being picked up.

I think ferrets are a bit more flexible than a fox. With ferrets, you have to be careful of small openings they can squeeze through. The same with a fox, but like I said, foxes aren't as flexible as ferrets when it comes to squeezing into small spaces.

That's all I can think of.
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby dragonking » Sun May 26, 2013 3:54 pm

This might not be fully accurate, but fennecs will require a bit more room. While a large ferret cage will work for housing them, they'll need to be let out to play. I know there is one guy who devoted a room for his 2 fennecs. I know a couple people who have ferrets and they either stay in their cage when not being handled, while occasionally they let them run around an enclosed room.
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Elina » Sun May 26, 2013 6:26 pm

I have experience with both as my sister brings her ferret when she visits so I can help to some extent.

So ferrets and fennecs can both sleep in a ferret nation however it is ill advised to keep either fennecs or ferrets in this full time. Both fennecs and ferrets are very hyper, lively animals and need to be able to release this energy.

Both fennecs and ferrets should be obtained at an early age so that you may bond with them. Though ferrets are a domesticated animal they are not tame unless handled from an early age.

Ferrets are sort of naturally litter trained in that they will 'go' in a corner where as a fennec will go anywhere. A ferret's 'mess' however smells to high heavens and there is allot more of it then a fennecs.

Ferrets play bite more then fennecs and the play bites are harder and can be quite painful.

Ferrets are very quiet unlike fennecs which are quite loud.

Fennecs may sleep in their excrement HOWEVER they still smell less then a ferret as a ferret has various glands that release a sort of oil on them all the time which smells horrid (in my opinion).

Ferrets seem to be less destructive, or more the ones I have met have been.

Ferrets are easier to feed as there are commercial diets out there but like a fennec they do better on a raw diet.

Ferrets suffer much more from genetic issues (in the UK at least) from what I have heard due to a high % of inbreeding. Fennecs (again in the UK, I don't know about the US) have not been kept in captivity so long and thus are less inbred and have less health issues associated with this.

They both enjoy cat and puppy toys. Cat teasers are a favorite of both.

As ferrets are domesticated if you get them from young enough they will seek you out for affection where as fennecs seldom do this.

Fennecs may choose 1 person to be their best friend in the whole world where as ferrets seem okay with all people once they have established a bond with one.

I can't put my feet on the floor with either fennecs or ferrets around as both nibble my naked toes lol.
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Ana
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Ana » Sun May 26, 2013 7:13 pm

I don't know from fennecs, but I lived with two free range ferrets for 8 years. They did not
litter train, even in their cage. They were very smelly when caged, but less so when they
had more room to spread out. They never bit or were aggressive in any way, but they
did spend a fair amount of time hiding and sleeping (under the couch and under the bed) -
one of the boys would sleep in the bed around our feet when he was younger, and that
became permanent when he turned about 4. They were silent other than when playing or
being tickled, when they made little 'chuffing' sounds that were adorable.

They were *deeply* destructive. They dug holes into the carpets, damaged wood flooring,
damaged furniture, and did some drywall damage. Because of the refusal of the litter pans,
there was a constant clean-up of every corner. We fought hard on this subject, and put
triangular litter pans in every corner of the house at one point, attaching them with screws
eventually because the boys would SHOVE the litter pan out of the corner to go there -
once they were screwed in place they would simply go next to the litter pan. We wound
up purchasing an expensive steam cleaning system and using it weekly.

Having said that, they were loving, attentive, intelligent little boys. Their joy was
infectious, and they could wring a smile out of the saddest person. They picked up
walking on the leash very well, and loved to go to the park. They also loved to dig
in sand and dirt, and had both a sand and a dirt box in the yard. They became very
cuddly as they got older, and would fall asleep in my arms. They were delightful, and
worth every ounce of inconvenience. :)
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Elina » Sun May 26, 2013 8:11 pm

I wonder if your experience with ferrets is so different then mine as my sisters ones are girls? hummm.
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Ash » Sun May 26, 2013 9:37 pm

Mandy (dinnka on here) describes fennecs "like ferrets on crack." lol
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Ana » Sun May 26, 2013 10:23 pm

Elina wrote:I wonder if your experience with ferrets is so different then mine as my sisters ones are girls? hummm.



It's anecdotal, of course, but I've never met a female ferret that wasn't 'nippy'..I'm
sure it's just a coincidence, but yeah, I've met dozens of ferrets and the girls have
been far less patient!
:lol:
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Lasergrl » Mon May 27, 2013 10:22 am

My fennec is very affectionate but only to me.
Fennec diet is not that complex. Most people feed dog and cat food and the foxes still live long lives. Is that the best diet? No not really. But commercial ferret food is not nescassarily ideal either. Its like any species in that everyone has an opinion. I find that too much commercial food caused obesity and alot of poop!
I found ferrets alot harder to keep in that the poop is constant. Raw feeding lessens this somewhat.
I didn't care for ferret personality. But the ferret won't attack strangers like some fennec!
the ferret won't climb things like fennec either.
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby FrothingMagpies » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:10 pm

My ferrets aren't destructive, but they did/do steal a lot of things & stash them, but never damage anything. Princess Bubblegum & Wyvern didn't really need litter training, they'd never seen a litter tray before but once I put one in their cage they used it almost perfectly (they went through a strange phase of pushing it away & then going in the spot where it had been like your boys... but they outgrew that one day for no reason. Ferrets. I just don't know).

Wyvern was never nippy, except for when she was a kit & she was just very playful, but then I think they're all like that. She grew up to be a little lazy (for a ferret anyway) & preferred riding in my hood or bag around with me than running around the floor. She *loved* going on the bus with me, & helping me do any shopping by perching on my shoulder & looking like a mink stole. Well, she thought it helped anyway :P
She was a little pig & used to play this game whenever I'd eat on the floor (sometimes I'd have lunch in my room with them for company) where she'd try to reach up up & grab your food before you ate it, or if you were out of reach, she'd climb up onto your shoulder & do the cat thing by rubbing her face off your cheek like I'm-such-a-kind-and-loving-ferret & then lunge at your food just before you put it in my mouth, spring off my shoulder & go bounding behind my bed with the food in her mouth, dooking all the way. I really miss her :/

Princess Bubblegum, her sister, we got when she was older & she was quite fear aggressive so she did bite a lot, & hard. She did tame down after a few months, & is actually more affectionate than Wyv was, in that she insists on licking me all over my face every time I take her out of her cage & loves curling p in my hands if it's cold, but isn't much into cuddles or being rubbed. She's more affectionate on her own terms, you can't force her. Not that I want to, but it just means I don't really let guests meet her. she gets nervous & people tend to assume animals are either totally wild & dangerous, or "just like a dog".
The thing about PB is 99% of the time that she goes to my face it's to lick my cheeks, & the other one it's to bite me for no apparent reason. I don't even think it's really an aggressive thing, Idk what it is though.

I'm getting PB spayed soon (ferrets in Ireland don't come pre-spayed at a young age like they seem to in America) & hopefully that will reduce the smell because I want to keep her in my room full time, but right now she just smells to much, according to everyone I live with. I don't really notice it. I prefer ferret smell to cat smell so it comes down to personal taste I think.

The main problem I have is how they get into EVERYTHING. There is actually no deterring a ferret. If they want it, they will have it. I don't mind socks & things but it was everything on my desk that I wanted to protect. Ferrets seem to love my ink bottles because they have rubber caps so you can syringe up the ink, & PB loves chewing on rubber (it's not safe for them I don't actually allow her to, but she always seems to find some). This means my carpet has a rainbow of ferret prints on it, & I couldn't leave any work on the desk if I didn't want it destroyed.

All in all, I think ferrets are great pets, especially if you don't have the space for a fennec's high energy levels or the money for one, They're the most affectionate small pet I've ever had, second only to me dogs, very intelligent & trainable & actively seek you out to play & snuggle with
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby dmarksvr » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:04 am

These 2 replies touch on most things so I'm just going to make my comments in Blue :) I have a 5 year old Fennec Named "Echo" with her own room in my 3 bedroom mobile home. I had 2 ferrets that passed away this year that were around the ages of 7 and 8. (I also keep dart frogs and other reptile/amphibians in the past)

Alynn wrote:I wouldn't know for certain, since I've only worked with ferrets, not owned them, and I haven't worked with fennecs, so don't take any of my word for it. xD

Ferrets are probably going to be smellier, but they're cleaner, in the sense that they will use a corner pan/litter pan. Fennecs go where ever, including where they sleep, so they're harder to keep up after.

Agree

Ferrets are going to be easier to feed than a fennec. Fennecs are omnivores and insectivores, so they need a well balanced diet that includes bugs. There's a lot of staple ferret food (how healthy it is is up for debate), but with fennecs, you have to tailor their diets.

Fennecs also outlive ferrets by a fair margin. Fennecs can live 10-15 years, ferrets 7-10.

Mostly agree. I actually switched my Fennec to ferret food (zupreem usually) and cut back on insects (because the ferret food is so high in protein/fat like insects are). I did this because a lot of the common foods for dogs/cats are truly horrible and after reading some wild canine nutrition research it seemed like I needed to be leaning towards a higher protein diet, and that 10-20% fat would be ok if I didn't chronically over feed. In fact some of the ferret foods that aren't high enough in fat seem like they may actually be better for fennecs then the ferrets they are designed for and are better then a lot of name brand cat foods, but I prefer to spend money on the really good stuff when I can. She also gets a tablespoon or so of veggies with most meals. At first I was feeding her various average quality wet cat foods/dry dog foods, insects, and veggies... She was starting to get fat but actually lost weight when I switched to ferret food. Now she maintains a good weight, looking neither fat or thin usually. If she starts putting on a little weight I just cut back on food some (She always has access to water). Her coat and energy level is great, and other then being labeled "ferret" the food has similar ingredients that cat/dog foods do, just mostly higher protein and fat (and they have the needed taurine). I haven't really been able to find anything special insects contain that the fox must have, but just in case she does get some occasionally. Basically It seems to be working really well. It simplified feeding and Echo hasn't had any health issues. Also a lot of the stuff like vegetable matter that isn't good for ferrets but is in ferret food none the less is stuff a fennec actually should be getting in its diet.

Ferrets are going to tolerate you petting and holding them, and are happy to sit in a pouch or in your lap for hours. Fennecs? Not so much. They have their periods of when they seek out affection, but they aren't going to laze around like a ferret will, or be so ok with being picked up.

My ferrets didn't mind attention but they didn't seek it out much and if anything might have been annoyed by petting/cuddling. They were more like roommates, but they did like to play. They just cared less if you petted them or not. Echo the fox on the other hand does like to cuddle and be petted, will lay on my chest, or in bed next to me but unless she is tired if I don't actively pet her she will often run off and then just check in occasionally for some attention, then run off again.

I think ferrets are a bit more flexible than a fox. With ferrets, you have to be careful of small openings they can squeeze through. The same with a fox, but like I said, foxes aren't as flexible as ferrets when it comes to squeezing into small spaces.
Agree, pulled one ferret out of my VCR... Echo never would have fit.
That's all I can think of.




Elina wrote:I have experience with both as my sister brings her ferret when she visits so I can help to some extent.

So ferrets and fennecs can both sleep in a ferret nation however it is ill advised to keep either fennecs or ferrets in this full time. Both fennecs and ferrets are very hyper, lively animals and need to be able to release this energy.

Ya, my fox gets her own room (linoleum floor, usually with some cheap carpeting I can replace/clean easily) , and I really can't see anything smaller then a walk in closet or spare bathroom as being ok for a fennec unless they get a crap load of free time. If you can guarantee that fox will be free 90% of the time it is awake then maybe ok (and be realistic with yourself), but if not even the 3 tier large ferret cages are no where near enough IMO. I don't even think a big ferret cage is enough for a couple of ferrets unless they get regular free time. Try not to do just the bare minimum for your pet and be realistic about how much time you or the rest of the family is going to spend with it especially once the novelty wears off.

Both fennecs and ferrets should be obtained at an early age so that you may bond with them. Though ferrets are a domesticated animal they are not tame unless handled from an early age.

Yes/agree... Echo is pretty mild mannered but with teeth that sharp even a play bite can break the skin if you can't train yourself not to jerk away. For this reason I believe even the best behaved Fennecs should not be around young children, and frequent socialization is key. If I don't get Echo out of her room much in a week she will play bite harder and be a lot more moody and It can take a couple of days of increased attention to mellow her out again. Both my ferrets were super gentle except 1 was the kind that went psycho like some ferrets do when they hear a squeaky toy, so no squeaking and all was good. Also while Echo is friendly towards other people and even often tries to make friends with other animals her size or smaller even after 5 years she is very wary/jumpy even when we are alone. Loud sound she darts away/jumps, sudden movement she darts away/tenses up and prefers people get on her level rather then be standing/walking around. My ferrets exhibited none of this other then maybe sticking close to me if we went outside.

Ferrets are sort of naturally litter trained in that they will 'go' in a corner where as a fennec will go anywhere. A ferret's 'mess' however smells to high heavens and there is allot more of it then a fennecs.

Agreed. Its more/stinkier poop but usually in the same places verse less but could be anywhere (unless you're one of those lucky few that have managed to potty/litter box train a fennec). For Echo I just try to make sure she goes before she is let out of her room and then the room is cleaned as needed

Ferrets play bite more then fennecs and the play bites are harder and can be quite painful.

My experiences was actually the opposite, though you do gotta watch the fleshy parts like between your thumb and forefinger with some ferrets, and some are toe bitters, but wearing socks solved that issue for me. My ferrets were much better at controlling their bite force then Echo, and the 2-3 times they really tried to bite (food aggression, and trauma after they bit echo and she took after them and I reached down to break it up) they had no problem breaking the skin, so I know the potential was always there.

Echo is good as long as she gets attention regularly but the ferrets where just much better at not hurting you unless they wanted to. Oh and Echo and the ferrets never really made friends. She kept trying but they kept biting her and that often started a fight so they had to be supervised if together. Frankly they were both stupid. She wouldn't go after them till they bit her but she'd keep trying to snuggle up to them and they'd bite her and then they'd have to run or fight if I didn't get there in time. So they both kept asking for it. You'd think 2 animals as smart as them would have figured it out eventually... but no.

For the most part I just kept them seperate though once it was clear the ferrets were never going to accept her friendship. I think we only had blood once or twice and it was very little, Ferrets are tough, In fact it may have been Echo that actually got bloodied most of those times even though I know she could ripped apart the ferrets if she really wanted to.


Ferrets are very quiet unlike fennecs which are quite loud.

Agree on ferrets, as for foxes I guess this is true for others, but Echo isn't really that loud. The only time she is annoying due to noise is if she hasn't been let out much that day, or for a couple days then she gets moody and will do this trilling sound or something, but any other sound is mostly when we are actively playing and I'm tickling her or something or she's very excited for some reason. So in my experience they are vocal but usually for a reason and if you don't give them that reason then they're quiet. Maybe I'm doing something right, or just lucky... I don't know.

Fennecs may sleep in their excrement HOWEVER they still smell less then a ferret as a ferret has various glands that release a sort of oil on them all the time which smells horrid (in my opinion).

Agree, though Female ferrets smell less usually then males and bathing a ferret tends to make them smell more as the glands try to compensate and re-oil the fur I guess. Fennecs have a sent gland they can activate if frightened and most aren't de-scented like ferrets, but its only happened rarely with echo (3 times in 5 years?) and it isn't that bad, so not worth a surgery to remove IMO.

Ferrets seem to be less destructive, or more the ones I have met have been.
In my experience... To the carpeting and as far as just knocking stuff over they were about equally destructive, but Echo mostly leaves other stuff alone except she dug into the sheet rock in her room a couple times during periods she wasn't out much and got bored. My ferrets would chew things more then Echo, especially anything rubber or leather, but Echo can jump to the counter tops so that opens up more possibilities for here to get into something or break something. The child proofing of drawers, electrical sockets and putting barriers up so the ferrets couldn't get in/under/behind something I did came in handy for Echo too. Basically they are both curious animals very likely to get into things or possibly be destructive compared to the average dog/cat. Fennec's wariness seems to hold them back a little in some situations though, but if they get into something and they want it they are more likely to fight for it then a ferret is in my experience

Ferrets are easier to feed as there are commercial diets out there but like a fennec they do better on a raw diet.

Like I said, I'm actually feeding Echo Ferret food, or a high protein cat food sometimes, and then a few fruits or veggies with most meals so feeding for me is pretty simple and based on weight/coat/health/activity level seems to be working really well. I think ferret/fennec owners need to commit to paying for the premium foods that are $20+ for a 3-6LB bag, but Fennecs being more naturally omnivorous then ferrets I think likely tolerate dry commercial feeds better then ferrets except possibly in the cases of the very very best ferret foods out there. As far as I can tell/remember from the research I did there is nothing magical in bugs or other stuff that requires a really complicated diet for fennecs but to error on the side of caution a few bugs here and there is probably a good idea, and check out the foods you shouldn't feed foxes and/or ferrets and stay away from them

Ferrets suffer much more from genetic issues (in the UK at least) from what I have heard due to a high % of inbreeding. Fennecs (again in the UK, I don't know about the US) have not been kept in captivity so long and thus are less inbred and have less health issues associated with this.

Agree sadly. A lot of ferrets don't make it past 6 and from my research seem to be more prone to various health issues as they age, and they have an overall shorter lifespan even when things go well, so that is something you need to consider... but both are a long term commitment.

They both enjoy cat and puppy toys. Cat teasers are a favorite of both.

Agree. I find ferrets are more into exploring if not actively being played with while a fennec will find ways to amuse itself like throwing small things into the air

As ferrets are domesticated if you get them from young enough they will seek you out for affection where as fennecs seldom do this.
My experience is a bit different as noted earlier. Echo does like a lot of attention but will run off and come back a lot also. Kinda like a cat.

Fennecs may choose 1 person to be their best friend in the whole world where as ferrets seem okay with all people once they have established a bond with one.

Agree... though if people will sit down, or get on the floor and not loom over her or walk around or make a lot of sudden movements, Echo will want to meet them usually

I can't put my feet on the floor with either fennecs or ferrets around as both nibble my naked toes lol.

One of my ferrets did this, but I almost always wear socks so it wasn't much of an issue. Echo doesn't seem to care about feet much


Here is a pic of Echo and one of my vivariums. (Echo is also my Avatar)
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby Ash » Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:13 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum. :)

Thank-you for all of your input and advice on the matter. It's great to get differing opinions and hear other peoples' experiences and what worked best for them. Interesting about the ferret food working so well for you. I know ferrets are pretty strict carnivores, are fennecs the same?

Your little Echo is too dang adorable for her own good! She is just so cute.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
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Re: Fennecs vs Ferrets

Postby dmarksvr » Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:21 am

Ash wrote:Hi, and welcome to the forum. :)

Thank-you for all of your input and advice on the matter. It's great to get differing opinions and hear other peoples' experiences and what worked best for them. Interesting about the ferret food working so well for you. I know ferrets are pretty strict carnivores, are fennecs the same?

Your little Echo is too dang adorable for her own good! She is just so cute.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


Thanks. Ya ferrets are pretty strict carnivores but a lot of ferret foods even higher quality ones include some kind of grain, fruit/veggie and/or starch matter (like potato). Seems to me almost that Fennecs being more omnivorous then ferrets are likely better equipped to handle and may even benefit from some of these ingredients, and that was part of my reasoning/justification for the switch over.

Plus Echo still gets a small serving of veggies with most meals to make sure she's getting more of an omnivorous diet rather then a strict carnivore one so we aren't completely reliant on the dry food, it just constitutes the foundation of the diet. Then we add the veggies regularly and then I use meal worms, super worms etc.. as treats just to be safe in case insects do have something that the dry food/veggie combo is missing. Oh and every once in awhile she gets a pinky mouse.

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