How Long Do Ferrets Sleep?

How Many Hours Does a Ferret Sleep?

When adopting a new pet, you are making a commitment that brings love and fresh energy into your home. Your days contain an entirely new source of fun and entertainment and you can expect quite a bit of playtime, especially when your pet is the lovable weasel known as a ferret. Still, every critter on the planet has to sleep sometimes. How long do ferrets sleep? Are they nocturnal? Let’s look into these questions and more!

How Much Sleep Does a Ferret Need?

While these creatures are high energy and love to explore, ferrets actually need quite a bit of sleep. On average, a healthy ferret will sleep between fourteen and eighteen hours per day. As your ferret gets older, they will actually begin to sleep more, much like humans!

Typically, ferrets will sleep on a sort of schedule that works out to six hours of sleep followed by one hour of playtime. This varies a bit, of course, but this average can be a good starting point for understanding your ferret’s sleep needs.

Ferret kits, a term used to categorize baby ferrets, need more sleep than those that are a few months old. In turn, those that are a few months old will be more energetic than an adult ferret because everything is so new and stimulating that they feel a strong urge to constantly explore their surroundings and see what new things are out and about in their world.

As ferrets mature, it appears that females are generally more inquisitive and explorative than males, even as they creep into their twilight years. Males are quite a bit lazier and sort of spend their days still exploring but at a slower, more leisurely pace.

Symptomatic Sleep

While all ferrets need quite a bit of sleep, changes in sleeping habits can be an excellent indicator of your pet’s health and wellbeing. Excessive sleeping is a symptom in most ferret illnesses so if you notice your pet sleeping more than usual, it might be a good idea to shuttle them off to the vet for a wellness check.

Sleeping more may just come with their age but your peace of mind and your pet’s well being means a quick trip is probably a good idea just to make sure everything is going well with your furry friend.

Sleep Preferences

Now that we know a bit about a ferret’s sleep patterns, let’s talk about their preferences and what makes for a good ferret bed. Ferrets are not generally very choosy about where they catch their rest but there are some guidelines that can help keep them safe while they snooze.

It is completely fine to let your ferret sleep outside of their cage if you are around to supervise them. That being said, if you have dogs, cats, or other animals or are unable to keep a close eye on your pet, it is probably a good idea to put them back in their enclosure if they are looking a little tuckered out.

Ferrets can be quite mischievous and even though they get along well with your other pets or are generally well behaved, they could still potentially get into something hazardous or otherwise hurt themselves or someone else.

If you can keep an eye on your pet while they sleep, they will sleep pretty much anywhere that they find themselves. You can have small beds for them outside of the cage but they will generally just knock out wherever they please so do not stress too much about this.

The same is true for sleeping in their cage but since the area is a little more customizable to suit your pet, you can opt for some sleeping areas that better meet their general needs. Hammocks, hides, soft tubes, and beds are all great choices. Some ferrets like sleeping in buckets or bins, too. Give them lots of options and soft blankets to nest in and they’ll be quite content!

With a ferret, you will learn that giving them lots of options is key in keeping them happy and comfortable so the more bed choices, the better!

Washing The Beds

Keeping soft surfaces on a routine of regular washing is key in keeping the funky ferret stink contained and minimized. While fragranced detergents will cover up the smell quickly and fully, it might be a bit irritating to your pet’s skin and delicate respiratory system.

Instead of using commercially scented products, you could opt to use vinegar as a detergent since the smell dissipates fairly quickly. Alternatively, there are quite a few different products on the market made for washing pet bedding. You could even use the fragrance free ones that are meant for babies and those with sensitive skin, too, as long as it does not seem to bother your pet.

Some Extra Advice

It is important to keep in mind that every ferret is a unique individual. While one may prefer a nice comfy hammock, another might like sleeping on the floor. One ferret may choose to sleep all day and be more active at night while others may do the opposite.

To best understand your pet’s preferences and sleep cycle, observe them and see what they do on their own. This is their cycle and you can keep them comfortable by not interrupting it. Also, never wake your ferret when they are sleeping. They might get a bit cranky so it is best to let them relax when possible!

Related Questions

Are ferrets active at night?

It depends. Some ferrets prefer nighttime play while others favor the day. Ferrets in general are not nocturnal and each have their own individual preferences. These are very inquisitive and unique animals that develop their own likes and dislikes at an early age.

While one ferret in your family may enjoy sleeping most of the evening, another might be more active. This is especially true of females who are generally out and about more frequently than their male counterparts and occurs even more frequently with younger ferrets who are still learning and growing.

How long do ferrets need to be out of their cage each day?

Ferrets require a lot of stimulation and exploration in order to be happy and healthy. A bored ferret is a mischievous ferret and trust me, you do not want one sneaking out of his cage and wreaking havoc on the snack pantry. These are very smart animals who love playtime and enjoy just being out and stretch their legs.

Due to this, it is recommended that ferrets get at least four hours of out of cage time. This does not mean they will be running and playing the entire four hours; they will actually sleep for much of this time. They just need to have the option for the four hour window to play and explore. Bonus points if you have a ball pit or other enrichment activity they can frolic through during playtime!

Do ferrets recognize their owners?

Yes they do! Ferrets are very intelligent animals and can actually develop strong likes and dislikes concerning their environment and visitors. Some will be very social while others will be a little more reserved.

In general, though, your ferret will recognize you and get very attached! Some people even take naps with their furry friend and share snacks! The bond that is formed with a ferret is wonderful and can run quite deep, especially if you take good care of your pet and they grow to trust you.


You can expect your ferret to sleep upwards of eighteen hours. Despite this, they are still active, curious, and intelligent animals that require quite a bit of time to explore and play. They will become quite bonded with you and create a routine of sleeping and awake time revolving around their care.