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Can Ferrets Swim and Do They Like Water? What You Should Know!

By Eddie Chevrel


Updated on

There are lots of fun things that you can do with your ferret, and you might be wondering if one of them is swimming. However, swimming is only going to be fun for your ferret if he likes the water. The good news is, most ferrets really do like water, and they are able to learn to swim.

Let’s take a deeper look at the ferret-and-water subject, like where you can take your ferret swimming and how to keep your ferret safe while in the water. Let’s dive in!

Do Ferrets Like Water?

Yes, the majority of ferrets do like water. However, it does depend on the ferret. While some ferrets may love to swim every single day, other ferrets may only want to splash around for a bit every once in a while. Additionally, there are some ferrets that might detest water.

There are some things that you can do to help your ferret grow to enjoy being in the water. First, you can start introducing your ferret to water when he is young; the sooner, the better. Ferrets that grow up around water are much more likely to enjoy water and swimming.

Another thing you can do is entice your ferret to get into the water on his own rather than forcing him in. This will help prevent him from associating stress with water.

Do Ferrets Like to Take Baths?

Whether or not your ferret likes baths will depend a lot on whether or not your ferret likes water. If your ferret likes water, he will likely enjoy bath time. On the other hand, if your ferret does not like water, he likely will not like bath time.

How Long Should Ferrets Stay In The Bath?

You should not be giving your ferret a bath very often because it could dry out his skin, plus ferrets groom themselves like cats. However, every once in a while, your ferret might get especially dirty, and therefore you will find it necessary to give him a bath. Generally, you do not want to do this more than once every one or two months.

If your ferret loves water, when it comes time to give your ferret a bath, he might want to stay in the water for a while. You can allow your ferret to play in the water for some time before you add soap, but after you add soap to the water, you only want to leave your ferret in long enough to get him clean and rinsed off. If he spends too much time in the soapy water, it may dry out his skin even more.

Can Ferrets Swim?

Yes, ferrets can swim. Ferrets all have the biological and physical capabilities to swim. In the wild, ferrets swim for both practical purposes (to hunt, escape a predator, etc.) and for recreational fun.

Now, this does not mean that all ferrets instinctually know how to swim. They might be able to figure out how to do it on their own well enough in a life or death situation, but in the wild, most young ferrets learn how to swim by watching their parents or other older ferrets.

This means that if you are wanting your domesticated ferret to become an avid swimmer, you are going to have to take the time to teach him how to swim. The good news is ferrets are very intelligent and usually accommodating animals, which means it should not take too much time to teach your ferret how to swim.

However, the earlier you start teaching your ferret how to swim, the better. If he is not introduced to water until a much later age, he may struggle more to learn how to swim and may also have more fear of the water.

Can Ferrets Swim Underwater?

So ferrets can swim, but will they swim underwater? Generally speaking, ferrets do not swim underwater, and it is usually unsafe for them to do so. However, you may see your ferret dunk his face under the water or stick his nose in every now and then. Usually, your ferret does that just to play in the water and not as an actual swimming technique.

The most important thing is that you never force your ferret’s face or head underwater when trying to teach him how to swim or play in the water. If you do, he might breathe in the water, which can cause a number of serious problems.

Can I Let My Ferret Swim In The Bathtub?

Yes! You can let your ferret swim in the bathtub. The bathtub is actually one of the best options when it comes to bodies of water that your ferret can swim in. It is really convenient for you since whenever you want to give your ferret time to swim, you can just head into the bathroom and fill up the tub. You do not have to get you or your ferret ready to go anywhere else.

When your ferret is swimming in the bathtub as opposed to some outdoor body of water like a pool or lake, you do not have to restrict your ferret with a leash. He is already contained in a safe space (your home.) You will also be able to control the temperature of the bathtub to make sure it is right for your ferret, unlike with a pool or natural body of water where you are stuck with whatever the temperature naturally is. This means your ferret can go swimming in your bathtub all year round!

Remember, if your ferret is swimming in the bathtub, you do not want to fill the water up too high. Because ferrets are not underwater swimmers, they do not need a lot of water to have fun. You also want to be sure to give your ferret a way to get out on his own, and you should not put any soaps or chemicals into the water with your ferret.

Can I Let My Ferret Swim In The Sea?

Technically, your ferret can swim in the sea or the ocean, but there are a lot more safety measures that you need to take. First, you should only take your ferret swimming in the sea or ocean when the water is calm. Waves could push your ferret under the water or make it difficult for your ferret to swim.

You should also keep your ferret in a secure harness the entire time. It is best to find a lightweight harness so it will not drag your ferret under the surface, but you should always be extra cautious to make sure your ferret will not be able to get out of it.

You also want to keep your ferret from going very deep into the water. This will ensure that your ferret can get out if he needs to and that he is away from most or all of the potentially dangerous ocean animals. Finally, when your ferret is done swimming, you are going to have to be extra careful to rinse him off thoroughly due to the salt.

Can I Let My Ferret Swim in A River or Lake?

Yes, your ferret can swim in an outdoor river or lake. Generally speaking, a lake will have calmer waters which makes it a better option for swimming with your ferret. However, you can also try taking your ferret swimming in a river; just try to find a time or spot where the water is decently calm, so your ferret does not get swept up or under.

Just like with the ocean, there are some special safety measures you should take when you are taking your ferret to a lake or river to swim.

First, you should make sure your ferret is always securely harnessed and leashed with something lightweight that will not pull them under. You will also want to make sure to keep your ferret in the shallower sections where an exit is easily accessible.

Finally, when your ferret is done swimming, make sure you rinse him off, especially if the river or lake was particularly muddy.

Can I Let My Ferret Swim In A Swimming Pool?

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, it is likely full of chlorine and other chemicals that could dry out or irritate your ferret’s skin or make him ill if he tries to drink the water. Most pools also have skimmers which your ferret could get stuck in. For these reasons, it is generally recommended that you do not let your ferret swim in a swimming pool.

However, if you do have access to a private pool that is completely free of harsh chemicals, you can let your ferret swim in it. Just make sure that you keep your ferret away from any skimmers and that he knows his exit route since pools are usually pretty deep.

If there is no obvious and easy exit for your ferret (ladders do not usually work well as exits for ferrets), you will either need to figure out how to create one or take your ferret swimming somewhere else.

Source: Vzreja Dihurjev

Ferrets and Water – A Few Safety Tips

Whether your ferret is swimming in your bathtub or somewhere else, there are several important safety measures you should take to make sure swimming stays fun and does not go bad.

1. Always Watch Your Ferret When Swimming

You should never throw your ferret into the bathtub or some other body of water and then just walk away as it could cause your ferret to become stressed, even if he is OK being in the water. You also want to be there in case anything goes wrong. Accidents happen, leading to even expert ferret swimmers drowning or getting hurt.

2. If Outside, Use A Leash

The safest body of water for your ferret is definitely your bathtub, but if you decide to use some sort of outdoor water feature (especially if it is in the wild like a lake or river,) you want to keep your ferret on a leash at all times. This way, you can ensure that your ferret does not get lost and is always safe.

3. Do Not Force It

You never want to force your ferret to swim if he does not want to. This includes the very first time you introduce your ferret to water and every time after that, even when he is a great swimmer, and you know he enjoys it.

4. Monitor the Temperature

In order for your ferret to enjoy swimming and be safe, you need to make sure the water is at a safe temperature. The ideal water temperature for ferrets is between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37 to 40 degrees Celsius.)

5. Hydration is Key

Swimming can take up a lot of energy, so your ferret may be extra thirsty. You want to offer him water regularly when he is swimming. Encourage him to drink both before he starts swimming and right after he is done.

6. Absolutely No Chemicals

You do not want to put your ferret in any body of water that has chemicals in it. Your ferret could have an allergic reaction or some other health issue if he is exposed to chemicals such as chlorine.

7. Make Sure Your Ferret Knows How To Get Out

No matter what body of water your ferret is swimming in, you want to make sure that he knows exactly how to get out. These exit points should be easily accessible to your ferret at all times during the swimming session.

How To Teach A Ferret To Swim

So you have decided that you want to introduce your ferret to the wonderful world of swimming, now what? Well, now it is time to do the work of actually teaching your ferret how to swim. Below is a step-by-step guide on exactly how you can do that successfully.

1. Find Your “Pool”

When it comes to teaching your ferret how to swim, you want to start small, so you are going to need to arrange for some sort of small makeshift body of water. This could be your bathtub or your sink, but it can also be a small box or bin.

Whatever you decide to use, you want to ensure that your ferret can easily get in and out on his own. This will make him feel less stressed and more confident.

2. Fill the Pool

Once you pick the container or pool you are going to start out with; you need to fill it up with water. You want to make sure the water is at the right temperature, or else your ferret will not want to get into it. It should not be hot or cold water, but rather a little bit warm. Make sure that the water is shallow enough that your ferret can touch the bottom if he needs to.

3. Get Your Ferret Into The Water

You do not want to just throw your ferret into the water because you could mistakenly create a negative association with water for your ferret. You can try sitting by the pool and calling him over to it, or you can try to entice him in with his favorite toy or treat. If he does not get in on his own, you can place him in slowly.

Start by just placing his hind legs in the water and then gently releasing him if he seems comfortable. If your ferret seems stressed or upset, you should not force it.

Remember to be encouraging with your words and treats through this process. Your ferret will take cues from you. If you seem upset or stressed, so will he.

4. Let Instincts Do Their Thing

Once your ferret is used to the water, his instincts will likely kick in, and he will begin trying to swim. As he gets better at swimming and is used to the smaller pool with the lower water level, you can try gradually increasing the water level or moving on to bigger bodies of water. Just make sure you do not do this too fast, or else your ferret might become overwhelmed or stressed.

How Often Can I Let My Ferret Swim?

How often you should take your ferret swimming really depends on how much your ferret likes the water. Some ferrets really love to swim and would be thrilled if you took them swimming all the time. On the other hand, some ferrets may only enjoy being in the water every once in a while, so you should only take him about once a month or less.

You should also consider the location you are taking your ferret to go swimming. Your ferret can swim in the bathtub pretty much as often as you want to take him, But you do not want to take your ferret to the ocean nearly as often as the constant exposure to salt could cause your ferret’s fur to dry out.

Additionally, if you take your ferret to the river a lot and he gets muddy, you may have to give him a bath a lot which can once again cause his fur to dry out.

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About Eddie Chevrel

Eddie Chevrel is an animal journalist and the founder of ThePetSavvy. He's very passionate about exotic pets and spends most of his free time doing research, meeting, and interviewing people working with animals. Learn more about The Pet Savvy's Editorial Process.