ne of the most important parts of ferret proofing is restricting your ferret's access to dangerous areas. Sometimes, it's as simple as closing a door but, in many cases, you will have to be a little more inventive. Using a barrier at least 30" high is the ideal way to keep ferrets out of rooms or restricted to one area, but it can be very difficult to find one that works for ferrets. Most ferrets can easily climb over or through the majority of child and pet gates available. So what are your options? What kind of gates can you use for ferrets?
Playpens & Exercise Pens
We recommend that you own at least one 8-panel playpen in case of travel, emergency, or any other situation where you would need to restrict your ferret's movements, but did you know that you can also use a playpen as a ferret barrier? For standard sized doorways, you can stretch a set of three expansion panels across the door. For larger doorways, you can use the entire playpen to block off the entrance to the room. If your ferret cannot escape from the playpen, then you can be sure that a playpen will make an excellent and effective barrier.
Playpens are the easiest types of barriers to use because the only thing you need to do is figure out how to attach it to the wall so that your ferret cannot move it. In some cases, you will be able to slip it behind furniture and use the weight of the furniture to pin it to the wall. But there are a variety of small clamps, brackets, or screws that can also be used to hold the playpen in place.
Plexiglas® or Plastic
Another option for a ferret barrier is a sheet of Plexiglas or plastic. There are a few different ways you can use this as a gate:
Use hinges to create a door
Pressure mount it in the door frame by cutting the piece slightly larger than the frame
Screw four dowels into the frame and slide the Plexiglas between them
Plexiglas has the advantage of allowing you to see the ferrets and the ferrets to see outside their room.
If your ferrets are always kept in a room with a regular sized doorway, you can consider removing the regular door and replacing it with a half-door. This will give you easier access to them and make them feel more involved and less isolated. All you need to do is purchase an interior door slab (a plain door with no paint, adornments, or holes for doorknobs), cut it in half, and use hinges and a barrel bolt or some kind of locking mechanism to hold it in place when it is closed.
Another wood barrier you can use is a piece of plywood or pressed wood that extends the length of the doorway. As with the playpen, you would need to figure out a way to hold it flush against the wall so your ferrets can't escape. Options include screwing it to the wall or using brackets if you want it to be moveable. If your ferret is able to climb over it, get a piece of PVC pipe or plastic dryer vent, slice it lengthwise, and fit it over the top of the gate.
Modifying Existing Gates
Traditional pet gates and child gates will not be effective without being modified in some way. These gates have gaps that are larger than 1", and your ferret could easily escape from them or hurt himself trying. If you would like to use a child or pet gate, you will need to make sure that your ferrets cannot climb it or slip through the bars. The easiest way to do this is to use wire ties to fix sheets of Plexiglas to both sides of the gate.
No matter what gate you choose, make sure that there is no way your ferret can squeeze through it, crawl under it, or climb over it. If you are making a barrier for a ferret that is a good climber or jumper, you may want to make the gate higher than 30". Remember that most ferrets will be able to get through any space larger than an inch - if your ferret can fit his head through, he can probably fit the rest of his body through.