Friday, February 5, 2010

How Fuzzies Communicate

It’s Friday, folks, which means that we’re all gathered here once again to learn a little more about an adorable – but highly misunderstood – pet. Now, as you all know, the two most popular pets – dogs and cats – can readily be identified by the sounds they make. For instance, everyone knows that cats meow and dogs bark. And this knowledge is learned early in life; very young children who are just beginning to communicate are taught the sounds that dogs and cats make because they see these creatures everywhere: in the park, on television, at a friend’s house and even in their own home.

But what sounds do ferrets make? Do they bark? Or hiss? Or shriek? Or chirp? Do they make sounds at all?

Yes, they do make sounds. And they make most of the above.

First things first.

If it’s a really quiet pet you’re after, this is where ferrets score big, because they hardly ever make a sound. And when they do, it’s usually very subtle.


Ferrets are very interactive critters that often use vocalizations to get their point across, so it’s important to understand what the sounds they make mean. By learning your pet’s language, you’ll understand what mood it’s in and what message it’s sending out.

Photo from SXC


The most common – and cutest – sound a ferret makes is the ‘dook’. This is a soft clucking or chattering noise that is often made when a ferret is very excited or happy. You’re most likely to hear this low-pitched grumble when your ferret is playing or exploring; it’s made out of sheer pleasure, so be pleased when you hear it. One thing to bear in mind: you may have to listen closely to hear the ‘dook-dooking’ because the vocalizations of some ferrets are really soft.


Ferrets sometimes bark like a dog, although this is unusual and fairly uncommon. This sound is made when a fuzzy is extremely excited or very frightened.


If your ferret screeches or screams, it’s not a happy camper. Investigate the reasons for this sound immediately; a high-pitched shriek is a reaction to pain, anger or fear. A screech may be followed by rapid chattering.


Ferrets hiss just like cats do, although not quite as loudly. Either way, just as with a cat, hissing is meant as a warning. A hissing ferret is an irritated, angry or frightened ferret, so if your pet is making this sound, approach it with caution, speak to it softly and don’t pick it up until it has calmed down.


Fuzzies let out a cry when they are injured, in need of attention or frightened. If your ferret makes this noise, investigate right away. He may be in danger and need your assistance. Or he may be lonely and in need of some company.

That pretty much summarizes the sounds that ferrets are likely to make. And while they can, and often do, vocalize, they’re usually very quiet. Some ferrets hardly, if ever, make a sound while others chatter from time to time as if they’re talking to themselves. But even the most ‘talkative’ fuzzies still win the prize for ‘quietest’ pet.

And finally, let’s check in with Bailey.

“Do you have anything to add to today’s post, Bailey?”

Ah, a happy camper...


  1. Really interesting stuff, Martha. It sounds like the dook-dooks are rather like the purring of a cat. It would be neat to hear the purring of your kitty and the dooking of Bailey together. :-)

  2. I like your ferrety fridays Martha!

  3. Thanks Beth! I'm really enjoying these ferrety Friday posts because I feel like I'm helping people learn a little more about these unique pets, which in turn will provide them with the right type of homes and better care.

    When Bailey and Nacho turn on their dooking and purring sounds, it really is adorable!

    Hi Liza, thank you! I'm having a great time with these ferrety Fridays!