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Chocolate Ferret: Info, Pictures & Care Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

chocolate-colored ferret in the tree

The Chocolate ferret is a dark-brown colored ferret that, in some cases, can have some small areas of white markings on the face and some lighter body markings. Although not yet as common as standard colors, the chocolate color is becoming increasingly popular.

Like all ferrets, the Chocolate ferret is lively, inquisitive, sociable, and fun-loving. Although well-domesticated ferrets are tolerant of handling, they can bite hard if they are mishandled, so they do not always make the best pet for young children. Their sociability also means that ferrets tend to do better when kept with other ferrets rather than being kept as a solitary pet.

Breed Overview

Height: 20 inches including tail
Weight: Up to 4.5 pounds
Lifespan: 5–10 years
Similar Breeds: Sable ferret
Suitable for: Prospective ferret owners looking for a different coloring
Temperament: Lively, inquisitive, fun-loving, sociable

The Chocolate ferret is a ferret with a dark brown color. Generally, this occurs in ferrets with Angora heritage, and it may include some white markings on the face and lighter markings on the legs or body. It is not as common as the Sable ferret, but its markings are similar and it is becoming increasingly popular with ferret owners.

Chocolate Ferret Breed Characteristics

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

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How Much Do These Ferrets Cost?

Chocolate ferrets are still quite rare, although several breeders do concentrate on these and other ferrets with unusual markings, so they are available. Do your research when choosing a ferret breeder and try to speak to other owners that have had ferrets from the same breeder. Ferrets typically cost between $100 and $500, and because of the scarcity of those with chocolate markings, you can expect to pay the upper end of this estimate.

Many people buy ferrets expecting them to be low-maintenance pets, but they are extremely active when they are awake, and they can bite hard if not handled properly. This leads to a lot of ferrets being surrendered, so they can be found in rescues and shelters. There are ferret rescues located in most areas. Adopting fees can work out cheaper than buying, although you will still need to pay up to $200 to adopt.

Chocolate Ferret
Photo Credit: MichaelSehlmeyer, Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Chocolate Ferret

Ferrets are very intelligent animals. While they sleep around 18 hours a day, when they are awake, they are also very intelligent and highly inquisitive little animals. Owners can use their inquisitive and playful nature, combined with their intelligence, to train them. It will take time and patience, but ferrets can be trained to use a litter box, which makes care and cleanup a lot easier.

Do These Ferrets Make Good Pets? 👪

Ferrets can make excellent pets for the right owners. They are lively and inquisitive, but they can be hard work, need plenty of exercise and time out of their enclosure, and can bite hard. Their propensity to bite when mishandled means they are not suitable for young children. They are usually most active in the early morning and in the evening so they can be a good choice for people who go out to work during the day but have some time before and after work.

chocolate colored ferret
Photo Credit: Vera Larina, Shutterstock

Does This Ferret Get Along with Other Pets?

In the wild, ferrets predate small animals like birds and rodents, so they should not be kept with these animals and if they are, they shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely with them. They can usually get along with cats and dogs, though, and Chocolate ferrets, like all ferrets, do better when kept with other ferrets. They keep one another company and their interactions provide mental stimulation as well as physical activity.

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Things to Know When Owning a Chocolate Ferret:

While they can make good pets for the right owners, Chocolate ferrets are not the low-maintenance pets that a lot of potential owners believe them to be. They do need exercise and regular stimulation, should be fed a healthy diet, and they do require regular grooming of their coat and nails, especially.

Food & Diet Requirements 🥩

Because Chocolate ferrets are obligate carnivores, they must have meat in their diet. Meat should be the primary source of protein for a ferret. They can be fed a high-quality ferret kibble, which typically includes the required amount of meat. You can also feed a raw diet including meat as well as skin and other organs. Alternatively, you can feed a combination of kibble and fresh meat.

chocolate colored ferret
Photo Credit: Sergei Avdeev, Shutterstock

Habitat & Hutch/Enclosure Requirements 🏠

Able to live indoors or outdoors, most owners do keep them as outdoor pets because they can have a strong ferrety smell. Whether indoors or outdoors, they need a sizable hutch to live in. Two ferrets need a hutch that measures at least 10 feet x 6 feet and 6 feet high.

There should be a sleeping area that is separate from the rest of the enclosure, and you will need to provide plenty of toys and other items that offer environmental enrichment. Hay or paper can be used as bedding while wood shavings make good substrate for the rest of the cage. You can also add a litter tray, although you should be prepared for accidents throughout the cage.

Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🛌

As well as the exercise your ferret gets in its cage and playing with toys, you should provide additional exercise in a separate playpen, in the house, or even on a walk in a harness. If using a playpen, offer 2 hours of exercise a day. If you let your ferret have the run of a room in the house, remove anything that will be tempting as a chew toy. This includes wires and other dangerous items. While ferrets do not really chew, they are inquisitive and may bite bits off objects. Alternatively, Chocolate ferrets can be trained to wear a harness and walk on a leash.

chocolate colored ferret
Image Credit: Sergei Avdeev, Shutterstock

Training 🥎

Training ferrets is usually done to stop them from biting and to train them to use a litter tray.

  • To train a ferret not to bite, use a high-pitched whistle or other noise to distract from biting and to let your ferret know that it is an unwanted behavior. Ferrets also respond to positive reinforcement so when yours does something you like and something you want to encourage, such as sitting calmly on your hand, praise and reward with a small treat. Be consistent in your efforts and put some training work in every day to enjoy long-term results.
  • To litter train a ferret, get a litter tray, fill it with appropriate litter, and then put a small amount of your ferret’s poop in the tray. Retain a small amount of poop when you clean the tray out, so you can put it back in. This will be necessary until your Chocolate ferret is fully litter-trained. When a ferret is ready to go to the toilet, they will usually sniff the area they intend to use and then walk backward. When you see these signs, which most often occur around 4 hours after eating, pop them in the litter tray so they poop in there. Again, as with bite training, consistency and perseverance are the keys to success.

Grooming ✂️

Most ferrets dislike being put in a bath or given a shower, no matter the water temperature or pressure, so be prepared to clean by hand. Aim to wash your ferret every 2 weeks. You can use cat shampoo if you can’t find a ferret product. Trim the nails regularly, ensuring you don’t cut too far down and cause bleeding. Check inside the ears and look for signs of mites as well as wax build-up. And buy a toothbrush and brush teeth a couple of times a week.

ferret enjoying an indoor bath
Image Credit: R1cky1uk, Shutterstock

Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥

Ferrets can live up to 10 years, and while they are generally healthy animals, there are some illnesses and conditions that they are generally prone to. One of the more common problems faced by most pet ferrets is intestinal foreign bodies, which occur when your ferret eats something they shouldn’t.

Minor Conditions
  • Diarrhea
  • Parasites
Serious Conditions
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer

Male vs Female

Maler ferrets are normally a little longer and heavier than females and they also have more rounded heads. Males can be more aggressive, although this isn’t always the case, and neutering males can help quash some of that aggression. It’s also worth noting that female ferrets are induced ovulators, which means they won’t ovulate until they mate. If a jill is allowed to be in season for too long without going into ovulation, it can have serious health consequences for the ferret. A vet that specializes in ferrets can help with a variety of different solutions.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Chocolate Ferrets

1. Jills Are Induced Ovulators

Ferrets are quite unusual in that females, called jills, are induced ovulators. This means when a jill goes into heat, she will normally only start ovulating after mating. Leaving the jill to remain in heat for too long can cause potentially fatal anemia. Some owners have their jills mate with a vasectomized male which induces ovulation without the risk of her getting pregnant. Some vets may administer a hormone injection that forces ovulation or the female can be spayed by an experienced vet.


2. Ferrets Are Highly Intelligent Animals

Ferrets are very intelligent animals, and this intelligence means they can be trained to use a litter tray, trained to prevent them from biting, and can even be trained to perform some basic tricks. Their intelligence also means they need plenty of mental stimulation and should be provided with toys and other items to keep them entertained and prevent boredom.

chocolate colored ferret
Image Credit: Vera Larina, Shutterstock

3. They Do Better in “Businesses”

A group of ferrets is called a “business,” and these sociable animals do like the company of other ferrets. It is a good idea to keep at least two ferrets, and it is possible to safely keep up to four. The ferrets should ideally be littermates and they should be neutered to prevent aggression and unwanted pregnancies.

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Final Thoughts

Ferrets can make excellent pets, but they are not the low-maintenance pets that some potential owners believe them to be. They are intelligent, inquisitive, and very active, and this combination can make them mischievous. However, they can be trained to use a litter tray and to be friendly and more amenable to handling, but there is always a risk that a pet ferret will bite if it is not handled properly, which makes it an unsuitable pet for young children with no experience of small pets.

Although generally healthy and hardy animals with a lifespan of up to 10 years, ferrets can get ill, with one of the most common problems being the swallowing of objects from around the house or their own enclosure.

Chocolate ferrets have a dark brown colored coat and may have white around the face. They may also have lighter-colored legs or parts of their body.


Featured Image Credit: Sergei Avdeev, Shutterstock

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