It can be quite alarming to notice that one of the kits in a ferret litter is unusually small, in comparison to the litter-mates. Upon making this observation, you will want to know whether that ferret is the runt of the litter, and if yes, the reason behind it (and how you can care for it). This article has the answers.
The ferret runt of the litter is the one that is unusually small for a ferret of its age, and specifically much smaller than its litter-mates. Genetic issues or lack of proper nutrition while in the womb may be the reason for the ferret becoming the runt of the litter.
Sometimes though, what initially appears to be a ‘runt’ turns out to be simply a slower growing ferret. With time, it catches up with its litter-mates in growth.
Generally, you need to be sure that what you are looking at is indeed a runt. Sometimes, it may turn out to be just a ferret that is smaller in size, but not a ‘runt’ in the strictest sense of the word.
Thus, you may need to start by asking yourself, is my ferret too small or thin? How does it compare with its litter-mates? And how does it compare to what is expected of a ferret at that age, in terms of size?
Then you can go further and ask yourself, why is my ferret so tiny? Is it indeed a runt…
Then again, there are people who have doubts as to whether small pets like ferrets can have runts. So we need to start by asking ourselves whether, in the first place, ferrets can have runts.
Do Ferrets Have Runts?
Ferrets do have runts.
Sometimes, when a female ferret delivers a litter, you will find one kit that is unusually small. So it is unusually small, in comparison to the litter-mates. And it is also unusually small, in comparison to how big a ferret kit should be.
It is not uncommon to hear a ferret owner lamenting, my ferret is very small in comparison to other ferrets of the same age.
Sometimes, the whole thing distresses the ferret owner to the point of starting to consult others ferret keepers. You thus find a ferret owner going around asking, does anyone have a petite ferret that is smaller than litter-mates?
Or they simply sigh and ask, why is my ferret smaller than other ferrets? Could I be getting its care wrong?
Having an unusually small ferret is often a source for great concern. It is certainly not like having an unusually big ferret. Rarely will you hear someone asking, why is one of my ferrets so much bigger than the other?
But when the problem is that of a ferret being unusually small, things are different. It often gets the ferret owner very concerned.
All in all, ferrets do have runts. In ferret litters, we sometimes find one ferret that is unusually small, in comparison to the rest. Not all ferret litters have runts. But some do.
What Causes Ferret Runts?
There are two major causes for some ferrets being born unusually small (runts).
Firstly, there are cases in which ferrets are born unusually small – as runts – due to genetic issues.
Secondly, there are cases in which ferrets are born unusually small due to lack of proper nutrition in the womb. For instance, if a ferret’s umbilical cord attaches to its mother’s uterus improperly, it may not get proper nutrition in the womb.
That ferret is then born unusually small: a runt.
How Do I Identify The Runt Of The Litter Ferret?
The way to identify a ferret litter’s runt is by comparing the ferrets in size. If one is unusually small (and much smaller than its litter-mates), then it may be a runt.
Thus the runt needs to meet two qualifications. Firstly, it needs to be unusually small for a ferret of that age. And secondly, it needs to be much smaller, in comparison to its litter-mates.
Note that there are some dwarf ferrets that are not necessarily runts. So you have to compare a ferret with its litter-mates, before declaring it a runt.
By the way, the runt is not always a poor-looking small creature. Sometimes, you do find a beautiful ferret runt, which only happens to be unusually small.
How Should Ferret Litter Runts Be Cared For?
Working out how to care for runt of the litter ferret can be challenging.
The most important thing is to ensure that it gets adequate food. This may entail feeding it first, before allowing the rest to access the feeding trough.
If you subject it to direct competition with its litter-mates for food, it may be at a disadvantage.
Also ensure that the ferret gets to drink adequate water.
Have a vet check the ferret runt, to rule out health issues that can be mitigated.
You can also have the vet give you a more comprehensive ferret runt of the litter care guide.
How Long Do Ferret Runt Live?
If the reason for the ferret being a runt is genetic, the life expectancy may be somewhat lower. Normal ferrets live for 5 to 10 years. The runt may live somewhat shorter.
But that is not always the case. Some ferret runts live normal lifespans, and some go even beyond the expected 10 years.
The best thing to do is savor every moment you get to spend with your runt ferret.
Final Verdict – Ferret Runt Of The Litter
Sometimes, in a litter of ferret kits, you may find one that is unusually small. It is unusually small relative to how big a ferret kit should be. And it is unusually small in comparison to its litter-mates.
The reason why the ferret turns out to be a runt may be a genetic issue.
Another possible reason for the ferret turning out to be a runt may be lack of adequate nutrition. So this is lack of adequate nutrition in the mother’s uterus.
That may in turn be due to improper attachment of the umbilical cord, and other related issues.
In caring for a runt ferret, the key thing is to ensure that it gets adequate food. You may consider feeding (and watering) it first, before allowing its litter-mates to access the resources.
It may also be advisable to consider taking the runt ferret to a vet for a checkup. The vet may then determine whether the ferret’s small stature is due to issues that may possibly be mitigated.
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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