Do Ferrets Attract Rats? (7 Interesting Facts)

Before adopting a ferret as a pet, you may have concerns as to whether it will be drawing rats to your home. There are also those who may be interested in knowing whether ferrets attract rats out of pure curiosity. This article explores that question – on whether ferrets attract rats.

Do ferrets attract rats? No, the presence of ferrets doesn’t attract rats at all. If anything, having ferrets around tends to scare rats away. Ferrets are predators for rats, and rats tend to have a mortal fear of them.

Once rats learn that there is a ferret in a certain location, they are likely to do all they can to avoid that location.

This is because the rats know that if they come face to face with the ferret, they may die.

Do ferrets attract rats
Do Ferrets Attract Rats?

Rats are sensitive to the scent of ferrets. Just the scent of ferrets is usually enough to scare them away. They normally don’t have the courage to wait to encounter the actual ferret…

The interesting thing about ferrets is that they usually have the ability to follow their prey rats very far. They can follow the rats right into the tightest of hideouts.

They are unlike cats that are barred from doing so by their bigger sizes and less agility.

The fact that ferrets can kill rats brings about interesting possibilities. One of those is the possibility of using ferrets to catch rats. And that leads to questions on things like how to train a ferret to hunt rats.

But before going much further, we need to know whether the ferrets like rats in the first place.


Do Ferrets Like Rats?

Ferrets like rats – as food.

In the wild, rats are among the animals that ferrets (which are carnivores) prey upon.

Even in domestic settings, ferrets often act on instinct, to prey on any rats they happen to encounter.

Thus ferrets only ‘like’ rats as prey. They don’t like them in any other capacity. If you keep a rat as a pet, and you introduce a ferret around, that can be very stressful. It can be especially stressful for the rat.

Thus the only interest that ferrets have in rats in on the basis that they view the rats as prey.


Are Rats Afraid Of Ferrets?

Rats are very afraid of ferrets. The fear that rats have for ferrets can only be described as ‘mortal fear’.

Ferrets have an instinctual urge to hunt down rats. And the rats have an instinctual knowledge that the ferrets are their predators.

Thus even a rat that has never encountered a ferret will become wary upon encountering one. That is because, at instinct level, the rat is hard-coded to fear the ferret.

And the rat is not mistaken in its fear for the ferrets. If the ferret comes by the rat, and it is hungry, it won’t hesitate to kill the rat. Then it will proceed to devour the rat’s entire carcass.

So rats are afraid of ferrets.

If you keep rats as pets, you should avoid getting ferrets too. The presence of the ferrets around (which the rats can smell) will keep the rats in constant fear.

If you have to keep ferrets and rats in the same household, separate them greatly. Ensure that there is a huge difference between the ferrets and the rats.

Don’t bring a rat into a ferret’s presence, and expert the rat to be comfortable. A rat will always be very afraid of a ferret.


Do Ferrets Attract Rats?

Ferrets are not capable of attracting rats. The ferrets are predators for rats. So how would they attract them?

Far from attracting rats, ferrets actually repel them. Even the slightest scent of a ferret is often enough to get rats running for their dear lives.

If you research on does the smell of ferrets keep rats away, you will see that the answer is ‘yes’.

You can even go further and undertake a query on, does ferret poop deter rats? You will see that even ferret poop, by itself, is often enough to get rats mortally scared.

True, the smell of ferret poop may not induce as much stress in rats as the smell of the ferret’s fur. But it is often still enough to get the rats thinking of evacuating urgently.

In simple terms, rats only need to get the slightest hint that there is a ferret around. Once they get this hint, they start working out their escape routes. They don’t wait to encounter the actual ferret – as that would be too risky for them.

So ferrets don’t attract rats. They repel them.


Do Ferrets Attract Rats And Mice?

Ferrets can’t in any way attract rats and mice.

Rats and mice are the sorts of small rodents that ferrets would regard as ideal prey. And the rats and mice also know that in the ferret, they have a fierce potential predator.

You can’t introduce ferrets to a space expecting the ferrets to attract rats and mice there. Far from attracting rats and mice, what the ferrets will normally do is scare them away.

Do ferrets attract rats
Do Ferrets Attract Rats In Captivity?

Rats and mice won’t continue living in (or coming to) a space once they learn that there is a ferret around there. 

Rats and mice can learn that there is a ferret somewhere in several ways. Those include smelling the ferret’s body scent or sighting the actual ferret. That automatically gets them into flight mode.


Why Do People Think That Ferrets Attract Rats?

Most people are aware that ferrets are rats’ predators. Why then, given this fact, do they imagine that the ferrets could somehow attract rats?

In other words, what is the basis for people posing the do ferrets attract rats question?

The answer is in the fact that many people imagine that all prey animals are somehow attracted to their predators. So this is akin to how you find insects playing around geckos and seeming to be drawn to geckos.

And that is in spite of the geckos being predators to them…

So people imagine that a similar mechanism may exist – drawing rats to ferrets.

The true position however, is that there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism via which ferrets can attract rats directly.

When ferrets hunt rats, they follow the rats’ scents, to which they are sensitive. So it is the ferrets that go after the rats. It is not the rats that come to the ferrets. There is nothing in ferrets that can draw/attract rats close.

There are also those who think that the ferrets’ typical funky smell may draw rats. But it doesn’t.


Can You Use Ferrets To Catch Rats?

All along, we have been saying that ferrets are predators to rats. Since many people have rat pest problems, a practical question may come up – on whether it is viable to use the ferrets in rat pest control.

In that regard, we need to ask ourselves, are ferrets good for catching rats? Or, to be more precise, we need to ask ourselves, are ferrets good at killing rats?

Another relevant question is on how effectively will ferrets catch rats?

The answer to these questions is that ferrets are remarkably good when it comes to killing rats. Unlike cats, ferrets are much more agile. They are therefore capable of chasing rats right down into the tightest and darkest of hideouts.

Thus the ability for ferrets to catch rats is not in doubt.

Nonetheless, there are those who would be uncomfortable with the idea of putting pet ferrets to pest control work.

For one, though ferrets are good at catching rats, they tend to get ‘satisfied’ too easily. Thus once a ferret catches a rat and eats to its fill, it can be hard to motivate it to go on with the hunting missions. It just wants to sleep.

Moreover, in the process of hunting for rats, pet ferrets may end up being hurt.

There is also the risk of pet ferrets catching diseases or parasites while hunting for rats.

For all these reasons, many people would be wary of getting their pet ferrets to work in pest rat control.


Can You Use Ferrets To Keep Rats Away?

Here, we first need to ask ourselves, do ferrets keep rats away by their very presence? In other words, does the simple presence of ferrets scare rats? And as it turns out, the answer is ‘yes’.

The very presence (scent) of a ferret can scare rats, and ensure that they don’t come around anymore.

Thus it is possible to use ferrets to keep rats away. You don’t even have to deploy the ferret on rat hunting missions. Just having the ferret present is usually more than enough to ensure that the rats don’t come around.


Final Verdict – Do Ferrets Attract Rats

The presence of ferrets doesn’t attract rats. On the contrary, the presence of ferrets tends to send rats scurrying, as they fear for their lives. That is because ferrets are fearsome predators for rats.

Once rats detect the scent of a ferret in a given location, they tend to start fearing that location.

Do ferrets attract rats
Do Ferrets Attract Rats Daily? Do Ferrets Attract Rats Everyday?

Rats normally don’t wait to actually physically encounter the ferret. They take the scent of a ferret as enough warning, and start fleeing upon detecting it.

Thus you needn’t fear that getting a pet ferret will attract rats. Far from attracting rats, the pet ferret is likely to scare them and ensure that they hardly ever come around again.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet ferret a good and comfortable life!

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