No matter how many fun toys you get for your ferret, one of his favorite toys is always going to be you, his owner. There are a variety of fun activities and games that you and your ferret can engage in to make playtimes even more fun. The best games are those that stimulate his instincts and innate abilities and encourage his natural behaviors.
The games that ferrets love to play are somewhat similar to those that a toddler would like - chase, hide-and-seek, exploring new places and things, and other similar activities. If given the chance, ferrets love games and activities that allow them to make a mess, such as digging and rolling in dirt, sand, or other materials. They also enjoy mock combat and tug-of-war. Many of their games end with their playthings being stashed in their "secret" toy spot, whether the plaything is a jingle ball or your car keys!
But what do all of these games tell us about our ferrets?
Chase and hide-and-seek games mimic their hunting, predatory behavior in the wild.
Exploring new places and things caters to their need for variety and stimulates their curiosity.
Digging and rolling around in the dirt is similar to their natural tunneling behaviors.
Mock combat and tug-of-war games stimulate your ferret's natural hunting behaviors.
So what are some specific games you can play with your ferret? Here are a few examples that will give you a place to start gathering ideas for fun games of your own.
You can purchase a playground kit or glue a bunch of cardboard boxes together and cut holes between them. Once you have your maze, hide treats and toys throughout the maze, and then place your ferret in the maze.
Snorkeling for Toys
Fill your ferret's dig box with his favorite materials (long grain rice, shredded paper, dirt, etc) and hide toys in it. As he uncovers the toys, he'll get even more excited searching for more.
Fishing for Ferrets
Use a toy like the Da Bird Feather Toy that has a fun toy suspended from a plastic stick by a string, and drag it slowly across the floor, teasing your ferret. Watch his hunting instinct go into overdrive as he chases, attacks, and tries to carry off his "prey!"
Chase your ferret around the room and "tag" him, then turn and make him chase you. Once he catches you, turn around to chase him again. If you can, get down on your hands and knees so you can be at his level when you do this.
The Towel Game
This refers to two different kinds of games. The first way to play with towels is to use it for tug-of-war with your ferrets. Rope toys can also be used. They will have a blast trying to pull the towel away from you so they can stash it with the rest of their prizes and toys.
Another version of the towel game involves getting your ferret interested in the towel by waving it around his head and teasing him with it, then waiting until he jumps on it and drags it around the room. Ferrets love this game, and you can either give them rides around the room or pull them a short way and then flip them off the towel. We guarantee they'll come back war dancing!
This is a variation of the snorkeling for toys game, and it's a great way to pull in ferrets' need for new scents and experiences. If it snows in your area, bring some snow inside in a big plastic tub, and let them snorkel in it. You can also hide toys if you'd like. Another way to give them some seasonal fun is to bring in some fallen leaves during the autumn and allow them to dig, tunnel and throw them around. You can also place tubing, like the Super Thru Way, inside the box.
Place your ferrets on your bed, and use the blankets, sheets and pillows to toss your ferrets in the air, cover them up, flip them over, and in general roughhouse with them. This is an especially fun game when you have two humans and multiple ferrets, as you can really get a trampoline effect going on with the sheets!
Gently drop a small pillow on top of your ferret so he can kick it up in the air and throw it around. You can also slide your ferret into the pillowcase and play with him through it. Just be careful that you don't get any nips if he gets a little overexcited!
The Ferret Indy 500
If you have remote control cars, your ferrets will have a blast chasing them around the room, knocking them over, and attacking them. Just be sure to check them before playtimes for any loose parts or things that your ferrets could ingest so you can remove them.
Happy Human War Dance
Many of you probably know that your ferret does a little dance called the "happy weasel war dance" during which he jumps back and forth, dooking and trying to get you to play with him. But did you know that you can do this dance as well? You can, as long as you don't mind getting strange looks from your neighbors. Simply jump back and forth, making little dooking noises with your mouth and waving your arms around, and watch your ferret come after you!
These are just a few examples of games that you can play with your ferret; there are so many more that you can come up with as you spend more time with your ferret and see what he likes to play with the most. Just remember, no matter what the activity, make sure it involves his natural instincts and abilities, and you two will have a great time playing!