Ferrets make great pets, but their sleep patterns might not fit well with every person’s lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a furry companion that will likely end up sleeping more than anyone else in your household, you should consider learning more about ferrets—since they typically sleep for over 14 hours a day, but are somehow still extremely playful and curious.
To give you a head start, we put together a quick guide on ferrets and their sleeping habits.
How Long Do Ferrets Sleep?
Ferrets are extremely fun and playful, but where do they get the energy for it?
These weasley little creatures sleep between 14 and 16 hours every day, which leaves only eight hours for playtime. In the wild, their sleep pattern is similar, but instead of playing with stuffed animals and hiding between couch cushions, they’re hunting for food.
The longest sleepers are baby ferrets, who sleep for nearly the entire day—20 to 22 hours! While they follow a similar active-inactive rotation, baby ferrets only spend a few hours a day at most playing and waiting for food from their mother.
When Do Ferrets Sleep?
Ferrets don’t sleep for 14 to 16 hours straight, however. They rotate between shorter periods of activity and rest. You’ll find that ferrets sleep for around six hours, are active for an hour or two, and then head back to bed for more rest.
This sleeping style is known as crepuscular, which means that in the wild, ferrets are most active during the twilight hours. This means that in the wild, when the sun is going down or rising, ferrets are out and about, hunting, and doing all of their ferret things.
Since ferrets are natural carnivorous predators, dusk and dawn are the best times for them to hunt. During this time, most prey are out and about trying to avoid both the darkness of night and the heat of the day, so they’re most vulnerable—making it the best time for ferrets to be active.
In captivity, or if you keep a ferret as a pet, you can expect them to sleep for longer periods of time. At night, your pet ferret might sleep for 10 hours, awaken for a few hours while you get ready for work, and then go back to bed to sleep for six to eight hours while you’re gone. This helps mimic the sleep pattern of wild ferrets, and is conducive to keeping them healthy.
Why Do Ferrets Sleep So Much?
Ferrets are small creatures with an incredibly high metabolism, so sleep is essential to their health and wellness. Ferrets use sleep to balance their short periods of high activity, so they burn up lots of energy while they’re awake, and then need to sleep to recover and recoup their expended energy.
If your ferret doesn’t get enough sleep or if its sleep is disrupted often, it could potentially have a serious negative impact on your ferret’s overall health, so it’s essential that it rests well, so it can stay happy.
What If Your Ferret Sleeps Too Much?
It’s not completely unusual to have a ferret that sleeps more than 16 hours per day. Just like humans, every individual requires a slightly different magic number of hours for optimal waking life. So, don’t be completely alarmed if your ferret sleeps 17 or 18 hours every day. That might just be its magic number.
On the other hand, if you’ve already learned your ferret’s usual sleeping pattern and find that there’s a sudden change, it could be a sign of an underlying problem.
Medical conditions that cause ferrets to oversleep are usually serious, so you shouldn’t waste time before taking it to a veterinarian to get checked out.
Do Ferrets Hibernate?
There are many mammals that hibernate in the wild, but ferrets are not one of them. Ferrets have no need to hibernate, but they do reduce activity during the cold months—and sleep more—due to food scarcity. So, you don’t need to worry about your pet ferret going into hibernation.
What Is Ferret Dead Sleep?
There’s no scientific knowledge as to why or how ferrets do this, but sometimes they’ll go into a state of “dead sleep.” In this state, ferrets are completely unresponsive to outer stimuli, whether you hold it or make loud noises.
It can be alarming to find your ferret in dead sleep, but as long as they are breathing and their nose is still pink, they’re just fine.
Waking a ferret from dead sleep must be done so gently. Gently pet your ferret, call its name, or hold a treat under its nose. It might take a few minutes, but the ferret will wake up—don’t worry.
So, how long do ferrets sleep? Anywhere from 14 to 18 hours per day, with breaks in between. They’re energetic and playful creatures, so make sure you give them ample opportunity to get the rest they need to live long and healthy lives.