Crisis tips: Ferret dirtpit
Not only for those of you who – due to the present (still) economic crisis – are not so well off comes this revelation. Ferrets (like many other animals) are not great fans of expensive and superfine ferret toys. If we were to create a list of our Top Three Toys (top being the most frequently used), it would be as follows:
1. Plastic shopping bag. Must be used under your surveillance (suffocation risk), but it is a source of multiple joys for your little ones. They can hop in and be carried around or rocked, they can tangle the handles around their waist and run with the bag filled with air, like a superhero/ine’s cape, or the bag may be filled with air, closed, and dropped to the ground for them to attack / kill / bite;
2. Flexible pipe (at least 10 centimeters / 4 inches in diameter) that you can arrange below a chair, table or your bed. Our ferrets just love to crawl inside, possibly with some prey (like a smelly sock or the likewise). We use an extensible aluminum pipe often used in chimneys. Just smooth its rim (may be a bit sharp, as it usually stays in a chimney where it can hurt no-one), shape it as needed and offer it to your little ones;
3. Cardboard box. Starting with empty tissue boxes, thru any clean (not used to store chemicals – we exclude boxes after any possibly harmful stuff) container, to larger boxes used to pack books, or home appliances, you name it. Such boxes and containers are great hideouts.
And the last one, combined with our Misio’s passion for walks outside, inspired us to create a home (okay, balcony) ferret dirtpit*. As you may know, ferrets love to dig. They will dig out your precious potted plants, remove trash from trash bin, steal dirty laundry from where you store it, and so on. If they go for walks outside, they usually do less of the walking and more of the digging.
Here are the ingredients:
1. Two empty cardboard boxes, covers are not needed, as you want to be able to see your ferrets play inside the dirtpit. Make sure they are clean and safe for your ferret. No sharp edges, no staples. Cut out two or three round (more or less) entrances / exits, a bit above the ground level to prevent excessive dirt “migration”. One box should be of a larger size – ours is 50 x 70 x 60 cm (60 being its height). The other should be small enough to fit inside the larger one and still leave some 7 – 10 cm of space between the walls of two boxes.
2. An empty flower-pot. We suggest to take something not too shallow. Our pot’s depth is about 10 cm. Remember to take pots only after plants that are not harmful to ferrets (or just scrub those with soap and hot water before use).
3. Some dirt (can be sand, or just flower soil). We’d say you need some 2 – 3 kilograms, but that largely depends on the size of your dirtbox and the size and number of your pots.
4. Optional: some dry leaves. That ingredient is now available everywhere around – at least where we live.
How to combine those? Just place one box inside the other, positioning their entrances / exits in such a way that it is not a straight way to the center of the dirtpit (adds to the difficulty and fun of the whole business). A TIP: If your boxes have thin walls and the dirt is not too dry, consider lining the bottoms of the boxes with some plastic cover (can be an old doormat). Then place the dirt-filled flower-pot inside the smaller box, add dry leaves here and there.
And – show it to your ferrets. Ours reacted like this:
And this is just a beta version, just imagine the next generation of dirtpits 🙂
* Dirtpit – by analogy with a sandpit for children.