Ferret Phantom Pregnancy : (7 Interesting Facts)

The phenomenon where ferrets are at times said to have phantom pregnancies is one that is very interesting. In this article, you will find information on whether ferrets can indeed have phantom pregnancies, and if so, why they have them, their signs and how they can be gotten rid of.

A ferret phantom pregnancy is an occurrence in which a female ferret that is not genuinely pregnant exhibits all signs of being pregnant. Also known as ferret pseudopregnancy, it occurs mainly due to hormonal changes.

Sometimes, genuine pregnancies can be mistaken for ferrets phantom pregnancy. Thus in some cases, you may be thinking that the ferret may be pseudopregnant while, in fact, it has a genuine pregnancy.

It is therefore important to be sure that you are indeed dealing with a female ferret phantom pregnancy: and not a real pregnancy.

Ferret phantom pregnancy
Ferret Phantom Pregnancy

Then again, there are people who may dispute the fact that ferrets can have phantom pregnancies in the first place. So we need to address those doubts first: by finding out whether ferrets can have phantom pregnancies.


Can Ferrets Have Phantom Pregnancy?

Ferrets can have phantom pregnancy.

There are many people who own female ferrets, and who report having witnessed the ferrets having phantom pregnancies.

Going through veterinary literature, you do find lots of references to phantom pregnancies in ferrets.

For those reasons, we can assert that ferrets do indeed have phantom pregnancies at times.


What Is A Phantom Pregnancy In Ferrets?

In ferrets, a phantom pregnancy is a phenomenon in which a female that is not actually expectant exhibits all signs of being pregnant.

There are certain signs through which we are able to tell that a ferret is pregnant. But a ferret with a phantom pregnancy exhibits all (or most) of those signs, in spite of not actually being expectant.


What Triggers Phantom Pregnancy In Ferrets?

It is hormonal changes that trigger phantom pregnancy in ferrets.

The hormonal surges that trigger phantom pregnancies in ferrets may be due to natural causes. Or they may be due to things like the introduction of implants that cause hormonal surges.


How Can You Tell If A Ferret Has Phantom Pregnancy?

As noted earlier, a ferret that has a phantom pregnancy will tend to exhibit all the normal signs of pregnancy. It will behave as if it is genuinely pregnant: yet it is not.

But in more specific terms, how can you tell if a ferret is pseudopregnant? Normally, the ferret will gain weight: the way genuinely pregnant ferrets tend to do.

Moreover, the ferret’s teats will swell: just the way the teats of a genuinely pregnant ferret tend to swell.

Further still, the ferret with phantom pregnancy will tend to eat more and sleep considerably more. That is just like a genuinely pregnant ferret does.

You may also notice some strange behavior after Phantom pregnancy in ferrets. The ferret may, for instance, become more aggressive – including to the male ferrets around.

Ferret phantom pregnancy
Ferret Phantom Pregnancy Surprise

Sometimes, the strange behavior gets to a point at which you start wondering, can ferrets sense phantom pregnancy? And are ferrets safe during phantom pregnancy, given the aggressiveness that often comes with it?

The ferrets can actually become so hostile that people start wondering, can you be around ferrets while pregnant (with phantom pregnancies). So there is usually that exceptional aggressive behavior.

Then again, most of these are also the signs of a genuinely pregnant ferret. To tell if it is a phantom pregnancy, you may need to have a vet palpate the ferret’s abdomen.

A more reliable – but expensive – way to tell a phantom from a genuine pregnancy is through an ultrasound.


How Long Does A Phantom Pregnancy Last In Ferrets?

A phantom pregnancy mimics a genuine pregnancy in all respects. Therefore it often lasts as long as a normal pregnancy. Now a normal pregnancy in a ferret typically lasts 42 days. That is also how long a phantom pregnancy often lasts.

But there are also cases in which the signs of phantom pregnancy resolve sooner. So it doesn’t always go ‘full-term’ to 42 days. Sometimes, within a couple of weeks, the ferret may be back to normal.


How Do You Get Rid Of A Phantom Pregnancy In Ferrets?

The ultimate solution to the phantom pregnancy problem is that of correcting the underlying hormonal imbalances. But some people may find this too invasive or expensive: hence opting to just let the ‘pregnancy’ resolve with time.

It can resolve spontaneously.

If the phantom pregnancy seems to be too distressing for the ferret, you can consult a vet for a solution. There are medications that may be administered, to correct the underlying hormonal imbalances for sure.

Once the phantom pregnancy episode is over, you may have the ferret spayed (if it isn’t) to prevent future incidents.


Final Verdict – Ferret Phantom Pregnancy

A ferret that is having a phantom pregnancy exhibits all signs of being pregnant, in spite of not actually being pregnant.

The cause for ferrets having phantom pregnancies is hormonal imbalances. When there is a surge in certain reproductive hormones, a ferret may behave as if it is pregnant. That is in spite of it not actually being pregnant.

The ferret with phantom pregnancy will normally put on weight, the way a pregnant one does. Thanks to the phantom pregnancy, the ferret’s teats may also swell, and become more prominent.

And thanks to the phantom pregnancy, the ferret may eat more, sleep more, and show more aggressiveness.

You can confirm whether it is indeed a phantom pregnancy (or a genuine one) through an ultrasound. If that is too expensive, abdominal palpation may also give hints on whether it is a genuine or phantom pregnancy.

Ferret phantom pregnancy
Ferret Phantom Pregnancy Behavior

Correcting the underlying hormonal imbalances (medically, with a vet’s help) can help in resolving the phantom pregnancy. Alternatively one can just wait for the phantom pregnancy to resolve by itself in due course.

Spaying a ferret may help in reducing the incidence of phantom pregnancies in the future. But you need to avoid having the ferret spayed in the course of an active phantom pregnancy. Doing so can make the ‘pregnancy’ permanent.

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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