Do Pet Ferrets Enjoy Swimming? [What Pet Owners Should Know]


Ferrets, known for their playfulness and curious nature, have become a popular choice for pets over the years. These lively creatures are energetic and always ready to explore and engage in new activities.

If you’re a ferret owner or considering adopting one, you may wonder about their affinity for water, and more specifically, do ferrets like to swim?

To give you a hint, ferrets’ reactions to water can vary quite a bit, just like humans. Some may love it, while others might not be big fans.

Now, let’s plunge into the aquatic world of ferrets and discover what they feel about swimming.

Quick Answer: Do Ferrets Like to Swim?

When it comes to swimming, ferrets have varied reactions. Some ferrets like swimming and playing in the water, often enjoying its new textures and experiences.

However, others might not share the same enthusiasm.

Swimming can help ferrets cool down on hot days, and they may even engage in playful water antics. But, some ferrets might show signs of stress or fear when introduced to water.

Therefore, it’s important to introduce water play gently and observe your ferret’s reactions carefully.

Why Do Some Ferrets Like to Swim?

If you’ve ever seen a ferret splashing around in a shallow pool of water, you’ll notice that they can be quite the little swimmers! There are a few reasons why some ferrets enjoy water play and swimming:

  • Natural Curiosity: Ferrets are inherently inquisitive creatures. The sensation of water can pique their curiosity and provide a new environment for them to explore.

  • Cooling Down: In hot weather, a nice dip in cool water can be a refreshing experience for your ferret. Water can act as a natural cooling agent for these little furballs.

  • Exercise and Play: Ferrets are energetic pets, and swimming can be a great way to expend energy. It’s not only a form of exercise, but splashing can also be a fun game for them.

  • Instinctual Behavior: Though ferrets are not typically aquatic animals, their natural instincts can kick in, leading them to paddle and swim.

Some ferrets may love swimming due to their explorative nature and the unique sensations water provides.

Still, you might think, “Can ferrets go in chlorine water?

Chlorinated water is generally not recommended as it can dry their skin and cause irritation. Sticking fresh, clean, non-chlorinated water for your ferret’s water play is best.

Fun Fact: Ferrets lick their owners as a sign of affection and to bond with them. It's their way of showing love and including you in their social group.

Why Do Some Ferrets Dislike Swimming?

While some ferrets might revel in a splash, others may be more water-averse. Here are a few reasons why your ferret may not enjoy swimming:

  • Fear of Water: Just like some humans, some ferrets can have a fear of water. It could be due to a lack of exposure or a negative past experience.

  • Discomfort: Water may be uncomfortable for some ferrets, particularly if it’s too cold or too deep. They may feel out of their element and lose their sense of security.

  • Skin Dryness: Ferrets have oils on their skin, which can be washed away with frequent or prolonged water exposure, causing their skin to become dry and itchy.

  • Instinctual Behavior: Although ferrets can swim, they are not naturally aquatic or semi-aquatic animals. Some may prefer to stick to their terrestrial instincts.

While it’s tempting to see your furry friend take a dip, it’s essential to consider their comfort and safety. If your ferret seems to shy away from water, it’s okay.

There are plenty of other ways they can play and cool down.

Do ferrets like to be in the water?

As we’ve seen, it’s a mixed bag. While some ferrets might love a good swim, others prefer to stay dry. The key is to recognize and respect your pet’s preferences.

How to Introduce Your Ferret to Swimming Safely

Introducing your ferret to water and swimming should be a gradual and patient process.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure a safe and fun experience for your pet:

  • Start Small: Begin with a shallow pan of water. Allow your ferret to explore the water at their own pace. They may paw at the water, attempt to drink it, or even splash around.

  • Encourage Exploration: Use toys or treats to encourage your ferret to enter the water. Ensure it’s a positive experience, and refrain from forcing your pet into the water.

  • Gradually Increase Depth: Once your ferret is comfortable with the shallow pan, you can gradually introduce them to deeper water. Always ensure their feet can touch the bottom.

  • Supervise at All Times: Never leave your ferret unsupervised while swimming. Even though they may seem to handle themselves well in the water, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Dry Them Off: After a swimming session, thoroughly dry your ferret. Keeping them warm and preventing hypothermia is essential, especially if fully soaked.

  • Mind the Temperature: Ensure the water is at a comfortable temperature. Too cold or too hot can cause discomfort and stress.
Fun Fact: To make a ferret happy, provide daily play and interaction, a comfortable space, a nutritious diet, socialization, mental stimulation, and maintain cleanliness.

Benefits and Risks of Ferrets Swimming

Swimming can offer a unique form of exercise and enrichment for ferrets, but without risks. Let’s delve into both the benefits and risks.

Benefits of Ferrets Swimming

  • Cooling Down: Swimming can be a fantastic way for ferrets to cool down during hot weather, offering relief from the heat.
  • Exercise: Ferrets are naturally active and playful animals. Swimming provides a different form of physical activity to help them expend energy.
  • Enrichment: The new textures and experiences associated with water can provide mental stimulation and enrichment.

Risks of Ferrets Swimming

  • Drowning: Even though ferrets can swim, they can become exhausted or panicked and potentially drown. Never leave your ferret unsupervised while in water.
  • Hypothermia: Ferrets can lose body heat quickly in water, especially cold ones. Hypothermia can be risky if your ferret dries off properly after swimming.
  • Skin Issues: Frequent or prolonged exposure to water can strip the natural oils from a ferret’s skin, potentially causing dryness and irritation.
  • Stress: If your ferret is uncomfortable with water, forcing them to swim can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here, we’ll address some common questions regarding ferrets and their swimming habits.

Q1. Do ferrets like to be in the water?

Like humans, ferrets have individual preferences. Some might enjoy splashing around in the water, while others prefer to stay dry. The key is gradually introducing water play and observing your ferret’s reaction.

Q2. Can ferrets go in chlorine water?

It’s best to avoid chlorinated water when it comes to your ferret. Chlorine can dry out their skin, irritating them. Always use fresh, clean, non-chlorinated water for your ferret’s water play.

Q3. Do ferrets need to bathe?

While ferrets can be bathed, it should be done sparingly, only when necessary. Frequent bathing can strip natural oils from their skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Spot cleaning or pet-friendly wipes can be a good alternative for regular hygiene.

Q4. Can ferrets swim in the wild?

Ferrets are not naturally aquatic animals. While they can swim, it’s not a regular activity in the wild. Their wild counterparts, such as the European polecat, might swim more frequently to hunt or escape predators.


The answer to the question, “Do ferrets like to swim?” is not black and white. Some ferrets may find water play and swimming exciting new adventures, a great way to cool down, and a source of exercise and enrichment.

On the other hand, some ferrets might not be as enthusiastic about water. They may prefer to stay dry, finding comfort and security on land. It’s important to remember that each ferret has unique preferences and behaviors.

If you introduce your ferret to swimming, do so gradually and always supervise their water play. Please pay close attention to their reactions and ensure a safe and comfortable experience.

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