Since ferrets are animals, their behavior is significantly different from a human’s so sometimes we need little help to discover the real meaning of their acts, sounds, body language ….
If you have one tiny, furry friend ( or even more then one ) at your home then you know that things are much easier if you understand each other.
People who are familiar with ferrets and of course professionals like vets agree in one thing – the behavior of one ferret totally depends on its age, character, and some experience from the past.
If possible, the best thing for a baby ferret or kit is to stay with its mother until 8 weeks old. Why is that? Well, because 8 weeks is a period which long enough that young ferret learns a lot of useful things. Some of them – how to behave in the group, how to communicate …. skills that help him to get better in his life.
Essential behaviors of one ferret
There are two main behaviors that more, less every ferret expresses. Ferrets are very playful and adore to explore that is why you need to provide the following :
- Safe play area out of its cage and possibility to stay out off the cage at least 4 hours a day
- Places to hide in case they are scared and frightened, some kind of improvised tunnels, etc
- Place where they can dig, explore, and hide, toys that support that.
- If your ferret likes water ( some of them do ) then playing in shallow water could be an absolute joy, but always pay attention that water is not too deep so the ferret can always go out of it with no problem and never force your ferret to swim
- Always supervise its play out of the cage and if you notice any sign of very aggressive behavior, contact your vet for further consultation
- Never put your ferret in the vicinity of prey animals ( mice, rabbits …) as ferrets are predators and they can act by instinct in any moment
Decoding some ferret behavior patterns
We all know that ferrets are lively, entertaining little animals with a lot of energy ( at least most of them, like in any other case there are exceptions of course ) but if you are a recent ferret pet owner then it is very important to learn how to read signs that your little friend is sending you.
- Happy ferret – will perform so-called ‘Joy dance ‘ – it will be jumping around, making circles, using all 4 paws
- Happy and excited ferret – will make a sound very similar to birds singing. This sound could be rather quiet or loud but in any case, refers to a happy animal
- Ferret in the mood for play games – ferrets enjoy running around and chasing and it is not so rare that they would like to include you in this game. They have a way to show you this intention. If your ferret is bouncing and leaping toward you that means that it wants to encourage you to play with it. You might think that this is bit aggressive behavior but it is quite normal for one healthy ferret
- Excited ferret who is having a great time – will do the same as dogs, it will be wagging the tail!
- Ferrets are obsessed with feet and toes – although nobody knows why but ferrets are obsessed with toes and feet and to make things even worse, they like dirty feet! They like to smell it and even though there is nothing aggressive in this and it is just a play for ferrets, could be painful for the owner of the toes. So wearing socks and slippers is highly recommended when you have ferret pet around.
- Hissing ferret – this is a very clear sign that something is wrong. Maybe your pet is scared or angry and in both cases do not do anything with it until it is hissing
- Put me down! – if you are holding your pet on your chest area ( which is done very frequently and ferrets like this ) and at once it starts licking you that means – ‘put me down, i do not want to be here anymore’
- I want to be alone! – if you are trying to take your ferret, to hold it and it is pushing you or goes back that clearly means – ‘leave me alone , I need to be alone at this moment ‘
- Stiff tail – the same as cats, ferrets will also make their tail stiff if they are scared or try to protect them. If you hear hissing along with stiff tail you should be very careful and obviously ferret is not good ,it is rather very frightened
- Fond of digging – ferrets are animals that like to dig and to dig a lot! In wild they live in the holes and they dig a lot to hunt rodents so it is in their nature. It is highly recommended to supply them with a lot of tunnels and places to dig ( for example sandbox could be a good idea )
- Ferret says – I am here! – if your pet after using a litter box, starts dragging its rear over the floor, this is an unmistakable sign of its presence on that territory, it clearly says – ‘I am here, this is my area’
- Hoarder or a thief -you will surely notice that your ferret is taking some jewellery or keys or similar small items and hiding them . Why is he doing this ? Well , it is another instinct .For example if ferret which lives in wild , hunts a mouse ,eats just a part of it and the rest will hide for later and to prevent other animals – predators to take its prey . The same thing is with your belongings ,of course with obvious difference that your key is not a dead mouse but your pet does not think about that at all .
- Dominant ferret -it can happened that one ferret bite another ferret and shake it . This is they way for ferret to show its dominance
- Full bladder – if your ferret is placing its back side to a corner usually wants to urinate
- Head in the water – if you see that your ferret is putting its head in the bowl water , do not panic . It is again another instinct as in the wild some ferrets would look for a prey in some river or pond so maybe it is trying to do the same or simply he is having a good time ,playing with water .
- Dead sleep – sometimes ferrets fall into a very deep sleep and whatever you are trying you cannot wake them up. If you do not have experience with ferrets you might think that your little friend passed away but it is just in his ‘dead sleep’ After some time it will open its eyes like nothing happened
I really do hope that this text will help you understand your pet better . If anything odd occurs it is always the best to call your vet and solve the issue .