It can be quite perplexing to observe that your ferrets are apparently sleeping with their eyes open. Upon making this observation, you will want to know whether it is normal for ferrets to sleep with their eyes open (or if something is wrong with your ferret). This article has the answer.
Do ferrets sleep with their eyes open? That phenomenon, in which ferrets sleep with their eyes open, is admittedly a rather ‘creepy’ one to most people.
Initially, one may find it hard to believe that the ferrets that have their eyes wide open are actually sleeping.
But upon examining the ferrets closely, and even poking them, it becomes clear that they are sleeping!
Sometimes, the ferrets that have their eyes open may even be in what we refer to as ‘dead sleep’. That is a form of very deep sleep, in which the ferrets become totally unresponsive.
And some ferrets do it all with their eyes open!
It can actually be scary to encounter this phenomenon of ferrets sleeping with eyes open for the first time. One then wonders whether something is wrong with the ferrets. For instance, whether they may have passed out or something.
Then again, the whole tale of ferrets sleeping with their eyes open sounds unbelievable. So you still find lots of people doubting and asking whether indeed ferrets can sleep with eyes open.
We may thus start the discussion by establishing whether ferrets can truly sleep with their eyes open.
Can Ferrets Truly Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Yes, ferrets can really sleep with their eyes open.
Many people who own ferrets report instances in which they have found their ferrets sleeping with their eyes wide open.
In fact, there are people who say that their ferrets only ever sleep with their eyes open. In other words, there are ferrets that never sleep with their eyes closed.
Online and elsewhere, there is lots of literature and multimedia content on this phenomenon of ferrets sleeping with eyes open.
So the whole thing is true. Ferrets are capable of sleeping with their eyes open.
Is It Normal For Ferrets To Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
So far, we have established that ferrets are capable of sleeping with their eyes open. That leads to another question, on whether the ferrets sleeping with their eyes open is normal.
The answer is ‘yes’ – it is quite normal for ferrets to sleep with their eyes open.
Ferrets that sleep with their eyes open seem to thrive just as well as the (relatively few) ones that sleep with closed eyes.
For ferrets, sleeping with eyes open doesn’t seem to cause any problems.
To the extent that ferrets’ sleeping with eyes open doesn’t seem to cause many problems, and most ferrets do it, we can say that it is ‘normal’.
Why Do Ferrets Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Having said that sleeping with eyes open is something that ferrets are able to do, and that it is normal, we then need to know why they do it.
Why do ferrets sleep with their eyes open? That is due to the fact that the structure of eye muscles in some ferrets doesn’t allow them to close the eyes while sleeping. Moreover, in evolutionary terms, being able to sleep with eyes open may help in avoiding/deceiving potential predators.
Thus practically speaking, sleeping with eyes open may help ferrets in deceiving potential predators that they are awake: hence not easy prey.
Also remember that these are animals that in nature/in the wild sleep in underground burrows, where it is always dark by default. So they may have evolved to be capable of sleeping even with their eyes open.
The fact that in nature they spend so much time in dark burrows is said to be the genesis of the numerous natural ferret eyesight problems. But perhaps it also confers some fringe benefits: like this one of being able to sleep with eyes open.
Do All Ferrets Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Not all ferrets sleep with their eyes open. We see some ferrets that sleep with their eyes closed. Then there are those that sleep with their eyes open.
It is important to understand that within the ferret populations, there are lots of individual differences.
Thus it is not all ferrets that sleep with their eyes open.
If you are exchanging notes with other ferret owners, they may tell you that their ferrets actually always sleep with their eyes closed.
That then gets you worried, as you wonder, why does my ferret sleep with her eyes open? And when you follow up, it ultimately turns out to be simply on account of ferret individual differences.
These individual differences actually affect all aspects of ferret life. If, for instance, you were to ask, do ferrets like to sleep with you – you would find that some do, while others don’t. And this is due to ferret individual differences.
Thus for anyone wondering ‘why won’t my ferret sleep or cuddle with me’, the answer usually turns out to be something to do with ferret individual differences.
To drive the point further home, we can consider another question: can ferrets sleep in bed with you? And the answer turns out to be yes – though some seem to like it, whereas others don’t.
When you enquire on why some do like sleeping in the bed with you and others don’t, it boils down to individual differences.
But there are instances in which the said individual differences don’t apply. For instance, if the question was, do ferrets like sleeping in the dark, the answer would be a unanimous yes.
So in this case, you find no individual differences: as pretty much all ferrets like sleeping in the dark.
Which Ferrets Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Earlier, we said that some ferrets sleep with their eyes open, whereas others don’t.
This leads to a question on which specific ferrets sleep with their eyes open.
It would seem that it is the ferrets whose eye muscles don’t allow them to close their eyes while sleeping that end up sleeping with open eyes.
Remember what we said while answering the why do ferrets sleep with their eyes open question? We said it seems to be due to the ferrets having eye muscles that don’t allow them to close their eyes while sleeping.
So eye muscles play an important role here. Indeed, even if the question was on why do ferrets eat with their eyes closed, the answer would probably still make reference to the eye muscles.
There seems to be some ferrets whose eye muscles won’t allow them to close their eyes while sleeping. It is those that end up sleeping with their eyes open.
Theories have been floated that in more practical terms, it is the ferrets with poor eyesight that sleep with eyes open. Those with better eyesight normally get to close their eyes while sleeping. But these seem to be just theories.
Do Baby Ferrets Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Some baby ferrets sleep with their eyes open. Others close their eyes while sleeping.
This ability to sleep with eyes open seems to be innate. This is because the ferrets that sleep with eyes open seem to do so from their earliest days of life.
Indeed, if someone were to ask, why do ferrets sleep with their eyes open, another suitable answer would be simply because it is an innate/inborn trait for some.
So some baby ferrets sleep with eyes open, even as others sleep with eyes closed.
Do Adult Ferrets Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
There are some adult ferrets that seem to have the ability to sleep with eyes open. Then there are other adult ferrets that only sleep with their eyes closed.
The anatomy of the respective ferrets’ eyes may provide the reason for some sleeping with eyes open.
So in those that sleep with eyes open, there seems to be an eye muscles issue. You find that the eye muscles for such ferrets won’t allow them to close their eyes while sleeping. And they thus end up sleeping with eyes open.
My Ferrets Sleep With Eyes Open – What To Do?
A situation in which you observe that your ferrets are sleeping with eyes open can admittedly be alarming.
It can actually get you wondering whether the ferrets are asleep or awake. You thus end up asking yourself: are ferrets awake at night if their eyes remain open throughout? Or do they get to sleep?
The whole thing is similar to the ferrets ‘dead sleeping’ phenomenon. That often gets people worried, with questions like, how long do ferrets dead sleep? And are they alright when they eventually wake up?
So this scenario of ferrets sleeping with eyes open can arouse similar worries.
You even find yourself considering manually closing the ferrets’ eyes. But then you wonder, will closing the ferrets’ eyes manually help in getting them to sleep well?
Or you even consider sleeping with the ferrets in your bed, if that will reassure them and get them to close their eyes while sleeping.
But then you wonder, will ferrets sleep with you, and get so reassured by the experience, to the extent of closing their eyes for sleep.
The truth of the matter, however, is that there may not be much you can do about your ferrets sleeping with their eyes open.
Just provide the ferrets with comfortable sleeping quarters. Ensure that their sleeping quarters are dark. Minimize light, sound and other stimulation disturbances.
Feed them well, to ensure that hunger doesn’t keep them awake.
Then just let the ferrets sleep however they like: with eyes closed or open.
Final Verdict – Do Ferrets Sleep With Their Eyes Open
Some ferrets sleep with their eyes open, while others opt to sleep with their eyes closed.
The ferrets that sleep with their eyes open seem to be those whose eye muscles don’t allow them to close the eyes while sleeping.
This ability to sleep with eyes open seems to have some evolutionary benefits for ferrets. It can help in giving potential predators the illusion of wakefulness, and making the sleeping ferrets look like less of ‘easy preys’.
In any event, in nature, ferrets mostly sleep in deep dark burrows. This may over time have given them the ability to sleep even with eyes open.
After all, the point of closing eyes while sleeping is to block out light. But since there is no light in the burrows, closing the eyes becomes pointless. So the ferrets may have evolved to forego it.
Sleeping with eyes open for ferrets is normal. If your ferret sleeps with its eyes open, you needn’t try to change it.
Just provide the ferret with comfortable sleeping facilities. Feed it well, so that hunger doesn’t keep it awake. Minimize disturbances and stimulation in the ferret sleeping quarters.
Then let the ferrets sleep in whichever manner they prefer: with eyes open or closed.
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Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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