Store-bought toys

There are a lot of good ferret toys available now. Many ferrets like Polar Fleece balls (available at the Ferret Store) since they have a safely chewy texture and a bell inside. However, many cat toys will be okay as well. Ferrets are very tough on toys, so you need to be careful about what you choose. Hard plastic toys are best if they won’t break easily. Stay away from webbed toys or anything foamy since they will break apart easily and be ingested. For hard rubber toys, make sure they can’t get stuck in their mouths. Avoid superballs since they break apart under ferrets’ sharp teeth. 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.

Homemade toys

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 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. Paper shopping bags are good, but watch out for the plastic ones–ferrets may get caught or suffocate in them. 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 or you can put popcorn seed inside for a rattling toy. Carpet-roll tubes and tunnels made of plastic pipe, dryer hose, or 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.

Everything else

No matter what you decide your ferret’s toys are, he or she will almost undoubtedly choose some household items you never expected. 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 quite a treat for a ferret. You may want to keep them on shelves away from them or put a fine wire mesh over the top to keep them out of the dirt.