Choosing Safe Toys for Ferrets

Plastic balls, with or without bells, work well if they are not easily broken or swallowed (the little "webbed" ones break too easily). Soft vinyl rubber is okay, but not the spongy kind – it’s too easily shredded and swallowed. For hard rubber toys, be sure they can’t get stuck in your ferret’s mouth, and take them away when they start to crack. Avoid superballs: ferrets love to chew them to bits and eat the pieces. Cat or dog squeaky toys are good if they’re tough enough to stand up to chewing and easily squeaked. Catnip won’t hurt ferrets, but it doesn’t affect them like it does cats.


Remote-control cars are also popular, if somewhat expensive, ferret toys, though they may prefer chewing on the wheels. Most ferrets enjoy playing in a hammock made from a piece of cloth and some metal eyelets, and the leg from an old pair of jeans will be fun to crawl through or nap in.

For other toys, try umbrellas, bathrobe belts, tennis balls, golf balls, ping-pong balls, film canisters (rinsed to wash out any chemicals), or old socks with bells rolled up in them. Plastic shopping bags are popular, but watch to be sure your pets don’t suffocate or eat the plastic. Cardboard boxes are also fun, especially several nested together with ferret-sized holes cut at various places. Plastic bottles can be turned into clear ferret play-tubes by cutting off their tops and taping them together. Carpet-roll tubes and tunnels made of plastic pipe, dryer hose, or black drainage tubing are popular too.

Avoid tubes from toilet paper or paper towels, though; they’re small enough that ferrets can get their heads stuck in them and choke or suffocate. An excellent, inexpensive toy is a piece of plastic dryer hose about 4" (10 cm) in diameter. Wrap any loose wire ends. Be sure that your real dryer hose is out of reach (or get a metal one), since you’re showing your pets that dryer hoses are great fun to crawl through. Clear dryer hose is even more fun, though less sturdy.

No matter what you decide your ferret’s toys are, he or she will almost undoubtedly choose some household items you never expected, as well. Keep anything that would be damaged with a little chewing, or that might hurt your pet, well out of reach. Unfortunately, digging up houseplants is also enormous fun to a ferret, but there are some things you can do to protect your plants.