Q: One of my ferrets has me concerned regarding his recent behavior. Turner is a 4-year-old male. Recently, I took him to my veterinarian for his annual checkup. Blood and urine tests were both normal. Turner has the run of the house, and I try to get him outside for exercise daily. He loves to run outside. Since the time change, it gets darker early, and I can’t get him out as often. My concern is that he seems like he has lost a good bit of energy. He doesn’t want to play as much, sleeps more than he did when it was warmer, in general just doesn’t seem as happy as he used to be. He is eating, pooping and peeing just fine. He has put on weight to where he looks a little fat also. Food is a ferret-specific kibble, plus once a day a spoonful of chicken baby food with some FerreTone. He still interacts with my other ferret, and he loves to be held and kissed. He’s very passive. Turner has never been sick or injured. If he were a person, I guess he would be said to have the blues. What’s your opinion?
A: This is a great question and one I ponder about ferrets and other pets. In my own experience, we have animals around the house whose behavior changes a lot in the winter. Tortoises eat less and are less active, our raccoon eats a lot less, reptiles are less active (this can also occur on cloudy days), so it is completely possible ferrets react in a similar way. This is probably especially true if they are exposed to natural light.
You did the right thing by having your ferret checked out by your veterinarian. I would certainly keep an eye on him just in case there is something else wrong, but I do believe that ferret behavior can be affected by the weather and the time of year.