In this article, we will be answering the question “why do ferrets need fats“? Even some seasons ferret owners are unaware that their pets are obligate carnivores and will feed them carbohydrate-based foods. This means that ferrets have evolved to get their full nutritional profile from meat-based foods that are mainly protein and fats.
Feeding your ferret vegetables or fruit is bad practice and in some cases can lead to digestive problems and impaction. This is usually due to the foods being fed to your ferret being over five percent fiber. Most obligate carnivores have evolved to be unable to digest fiber and vegetable proteins.
Why Do Ferrets Need Fats
There are three main macronutrient types each having subtypes within them. These are:-
- Protein – Used to grow and repair the body.
- Carbohydrates – Used as an energy source for many animals that are not carnivores.
- Fats – Used as an energy source by most carnivores.
Over time Ferrets have evolved to get their energy stores from fats, they essentially run in what would be called a ketogenic diet in humans. This is where our bodies will use ketone bodies from fats for energy rather than glucose from carbohydrates.
As humans have evolved to be omnivores, we have the choice of where we get our energy from. As previously touched on, ferrets have evolved to be obligate carnivores meaning they only have the ketogenic option available to them and this is why they require fats.
What Percentage Of A Ferrets Diet Should Be Fat?
Although recommendations change slightly depending on peoples opinion, we recommend the following breakdown:-
- At least 30 percent protein.
- At least 15 percent fat.
- No more than 5 percent fiber.
Although a minimum of 15 percent fat may not seem like much, it is worth noting that a gram of fat contains more than double the calories of a gram of protein. Here is a generic, non-ferret based example to help us keep the math simple:-
- 30 grams of protein – 4 calories per gram – 120 calories.
- 15 grams of protein – 9 calories per gram – 135 calories.
As you can see from the above example if you only feed your ferret the minimum recommendations of the macronutrients, your ferret would still be getting more calories from fats even though it foods fat by gram content is less than half of that of its protein.
What Do Ferrets Eat
Our ferret food list is an excellent post for you to come up with your own ferret feeding plan. It covers a large number of different types of food that ferrets can eat. It also touches on some common foods that ferret owners feed their pets that should actually be avoided.
The Best Ferret Food On The Market
What Do Ferrets Eat In The Wild To Get Fat
Ferrets are very efficient hunters and are often used by humans as a working animal to assist them on their hunts. Wild ferrets will hunt and kill a wide range of animals to support their diet. These include rabbits, prairie dogs, possums, hedgehogs, rodents, amphibians, birds, reptiles, carrion, and invertebrates. There have also been reports of wild male ferrets attacking and killing domestic outdoor cats.
When a ferret lands a kill they will also eat as much of the animal as possible including its internal organs and even bones. Humans tend to go for the best cuts of meat while the rest gets sent to the pet food factory. In the wild, the ferret will usually feast on the fattier cuts and organs of the animal first.
Can Ferrets Get Their Fats From Cooked Meat
This usually depends on the type of meat. For example, a chicken breast does not usually contain much fat at all, a chicken wing or chicken thigh has a considerable amount of fat. Cooking a wing or thigh will slightly reduce its fat content as it leaks out in the cooking process but a considerable amount of fat will remain.
Changing Your Ferrets Diet To A More Suitable Food
If you are currently feeding your ferret an unsuitable food then our article on how to make a ferret eat new food will be able to help you transition your pet to a better food type.
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Jessi Swick – Max – https://flic.kr/p/aD6YCw
Ryan Carr – Ferret – https://flic.kr/p/6hTv2d