Welcome Home Jasper!

We adopted a new ferret today!

We found out through our friend Ash that his friend’s rescue shelter brought in an abandoned ferret a few days ago. He was underweight, so they gave him plenty of food. However, nobody at the shelter is familiar with ferrets, so they didn’t want to handle him because “he bites”. Thing is, he’s only play-biting, jumping around with his mouth open (normal ferret behavior), and he’s also teething. He’s actually less bitey than I expected. It’s important to understand ferret behavior. Ferrets have different types of bite: Play Biting, Teething/Chewing, Warning Bite, and Aggressive Bite. We haven’t seen an ounce of aggression from Jasper, so I’m sure it was a case of misunderstanding. The rescue shelter was very happy to find an experienced ferret family for Jasper to come to. They had actually named him Dracula, because he was “so bitey.” They shortened it to Draco. We’re renaming him to Jasper because I want all of our ferrets to be named after minerals & gems.

I also just realized my tweet above is wrong.. he wasn’t found two days ago, he was just transferred to a foster home 2 days ago, because the shelter couldn’t handle his biting. Again, it just comes down to knowing how to handle ferrets. Whenever Jasper starts mouthing something that I don’t want him to chew, I get a chew toy and put it in his way. He then starts chewing on that. If a ferret really wants to bite you, they’ll break skin, and possibly a bone. If a ferret does that, it’s very likely that the human has done something wrong. But from their description, he just sounds hyper, and hyper ferret kits tend to put their teeth on everything.

Jasper will stay in quarantine in the bedroom for 2 weeks. He has a vet appointment this week, and we’ll have him tested for parasites & diseases. Buu and I are already fairly certain that Jasper has a coccidia infection, because it’s very common in Marshall’s ferrets (both Onyx & Opal had to be treated with antibiotics for coccidia when we got them. The other reasons we think Jasper has coccidia is because his poop is uncharacteristically stinky, and his whiskers are broken and bent. These are common symptoms of coccidia. Ear mites area also common for Marshall ferrets, so we’ll have him checked for them, plus heartworm, and anything else they can test for. Ideally we also want to test for Distemper, because our girls aren’t vaccinated against it. The vet has been unable to get a shipment of ferret or feline distemper vaccine for going on two years now. Apparently the major supplier or factory was located in Puerto Rico, and got wiped out by Hurricane Maria. Fingers crossed we can start getting the vaccine again soon!

Once we’re sure Jasper can’t transmit anything to the girls, we’ll start introducing them slowly. We’ll let them play in the same space, but keep them separated once they’re done playing. We’ll do this for a few days to a week, depending on how well they get along. Then once we’re sure nobody’s gonna try to rip any ears off, we’ll let them stay together full time.

Jasper’s hyperactivity is actually perfect for our needs. We were going to wait until next year to get a third ferret – the idea was to get a new kit when our girls were middle-aged. That way, when one of them passes away, there will already be another companion in the house, so we won’t have to try to introduce another ferret while they’re mourning. We especially wanted a high-energy ferret to play with Onyx, since Opal is so laid back and sometimes doesn’t want to put up with Onyx’s energy.

Jasper’s fur is a bit rough, indicating that he probably didn’t have a high quality diet at his previous home. We expect his whiskers and fur to grow longer and silkier when he goes through his next shed. We use a very high-quality animal-protein diet for our ferrets, which improves their coat & skin health a lot.

We will keep everyone updated with Jasper’s progress, with plenty of photos and videos to come.

Welcome home,video Jasper!

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