What To Do If Your Ferret Gets Lost

It's midnight. You've been looking for that weezil for the past hour and you still can't find him. Is he hiding somewhere, or is he actually MIA - did he find a way out of the house?

Right off the bat you need to make sure your critter is not still in the house! Sounds like common sense, but as most of us who've had ferrets for years will tell you, it IS possible to all of the sudden lose a critter who's been living in the same house for 5 years!  Get out that squeaky toy and dispatch the family to the four corners of the home…listening, looking and squeaking! But if indeed your critter has managed to escape, it's time for action! Remember, whether or not your ferret makes it to safety - which is hopefully back to your happy home - is often entirely up to your intense efforts to find him!


Definitely do the logical first:  put a carrier or two outside your home with blankets inside, plus dishes of food and water around your property.  Head out and walk your property frequently, both calling to your ferret and using a squeak or other loud toy.  Make your presence known and offer spots that your ferret can find, but remember ferrets aren't very good about finding their way home!

Step 1: Call your local Animal Control!
Typically each city, township or village has an Animal Control of some sort connected with the Police Department. So give your local Police Station a call and they'll be able to point you toward the nearest Animal Control office that would respond to issues in your area. Don't forget: if you live close to other municipalities, call each one to make sure you've made contact with all the local office who might have your ferret. Unfortunately, the City of Detroit is a glaring exception to this rule. They will not give you ANY information over the phone, nor will they take a "lost critter" report. You are instructed to come to the shelter each day during certain times to look around for your critter. Because the system is SO difficult, and because we have connections in the office, we think skipping ahead to Step 2 and giving us a call here at the shelter may be far less aggravating and much more effective.

Step 2: Go Door to Door!
Take a photo of your ferret, or better yet get a photo from the web which clearly shows a full body shot of a ferret of similar color to yours, and start knocking on doors! Also print out a "bundle o' stubs" with your name and phone number. Visit each neighbor in a multi-block radius and ask him or her to PLEASE keep an eye out for your critter. When they ask, "What the heck is a ferret?" you can show off the photo you brought and assure the neighbor that your ferret is very friendly. Then give the neighbor a stub with your info and ask them to please either grab the ferret or please call you immediately - any time, day or night - if they see him. Mention that a towel and box are all that should be needed to nab your critter, even if he is cold/hungry or otherwise afraid or aggressive toward a stranger.  Also let the neighbor know that your ferret is NOT dangerous and even if your scared, hungry ferrets were to bite someone, the bite is similar to that of a dog; that is, the bite will not transmit disease or cause infection (unlike cat and human bites, which can be a serious problem). 






Step 3: Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!
Print up some like the one shown at left - with BIG BOLD letters on BRIGHT paper!  We think the "reward" and "needs medication" will help in case someone picks up your ferret and just decides they want to keep him, 'eh?  Too often folks will pick up a stray and think, "Hey - free ferret!" Or they'll give your ferret to a friend, or a friend's kid that wanted a ferret, that sort of thing. Post your flyers in a radius of at least a couple of miles, at every gas station, corner store or other venue where folk are likely to stop by on a regular basis. Hit every telephone pole in a multi-block radius of your home as well. And don't forget to target those key areas on main roads where folks are likely to drive by, say on their commute to work.  Remember to keep the flyers up for at least two weeks as it can absolutely take that long for folks to notice!

Step 4: Contact all the places your ferret may have been taken to!
Drop us a line and tell us exactly where you live, including your major road intersection. Then hit the Internet to call up a list of other private shelters in your area. Sometimes dog and cat rescues will take in ferrets if folks bring them by. We also recommend contacting all the local pet shops and vet offices. Many times a Good Samaritan will pick up a stray ferret, then have no clue where to take him! The Samaritan might contact a local vet hospital or pet store because he or she is unfamiliar with where the local shelters are. Too often the pet shops will simply put the critter up for sale, rather than call on a rescue to come for the critter!  So leave no stone unturned, as there are so many places your ferret might end up!


Try not to worry yourself sick if your ferret ever does head out for great adventure (easier said than done - absolutely). If you don't have ready access to a printer or the Internet, don't hesitate to contact the shelter for help any time. We'd be happy to print up flyers and get you in contact with all the places your ferret might end up. Concentrate your misery into actions that may well be successful! It's all up to you, devoted ferret parent, so get to work!


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