“Help! My ferret is rolling, snorkeling and digging in his litter!” Ever had that problem? Most anyone who has had a baby ferret has witnessed litter snorkeling. Baby ferrets are notorious for this, and don’t care if it’s clean or dirty, either!

Most of the time, young ferrets will grow out of snorkeling in dirty litter boxes. One of the biggest mistakes new owners make is to assume it’s a lost cause and take the litterbox out. Your ferret can’t become litter-trained if there IS no litterbox!

You can wet down the litter with a little water, you can leave it a little dirty, you can give them something else to dig in — but mostly you just have to wait it out. It seems once they get a little older (and maybe have a little less energy to burn) they usually stop making such a huge mess. Sometimes changing the type of litter stops the behavior. Snorkeling in the litterbox isn’t actually going to hurt the ferret as long as you’re not using any of the “Bad” litters.

A dig box is a big plastic box filled with something they’re allowed to dig in. Some people use white rice (NOT instant, the regular stuff that takes 25 minutes to cook), cornstarch peanuts (NO Styrofoam!), slightly moistened potting soil, play sand (the special kind that has had the dust rinsed out of it), plastic balls, and so on. The theory is, if they have something to dig in and they get that urge satisfied, they won’t dig in the litterbox. It seems to work pretty well for most ferrets.

My ferrets will roll around in the litterbox when I put in new litter. They seem to like the smell of the wood pellets, and I think they like the texture, too. But then someone uses it for its intended purpose and the others get a look that says: “Aw, shucks! You ruined it!” Mine also enjoy digging in the big bucket where I store my litter. Some just snorkel a little, others dig for China, and still others circle around and around and around, thinking they’re going to empty it!

Aren’t ferrets fun?

Barb Carlson

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