Friday, July 2, 2010


It’s Friday again? Already? Not that that’s a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s the best day of the week because it’s a day that’s dedicated to fun-loving, adorable, cuddly critters we affectionately refer to as ‘fuzzies’. Yup, that’s right, I’m talking about ferrets. Ferrets and their ferrety ways. And although I’ve been having trouble lately putting together informative posts for ferrety Friday, I still consider this day of the week a ferrety type of day.

This week I’ll be writing a little about nipping, something that mainly kits (baby ferrets) do, but something that adult ferrets will continue to do if they’re not trained from young to quit that habit.


First of all, like many other baby animals, nipping is normal behaviour for kits. They don’t do it because they’re vicious; they do it because it’s natural for them. When ferrets play with other ferrets, they play fight, and that play fighting includes some biting; not hard enough to really hurt a playmate, but certainly hard enough to make it exciting. Ferrets have very tough skin, so they can handle quite a bit of nipping, but what feels like a play bite to a baby ferret may actually hurt you. That being said, just as you would with kittens and puppies, baby ferrets must be taught not to nip. And it should be done at an early age. Nipping kits that aren’t taught that this type of social behaviour is unacceptable may grow up to be adult ferrets that bite.

So how do you get rid of this problem? Try a few of the suggestions below:

- If your ferret nips, pick him up, say “No!” in a firm voice and put him back down.

- In addition to picking him up and saying “no” firmly, a time out for a few minutes in his cage or in a pet carrier may prove effective, especially if another ferret is still out having fun while he’s confined.

- Another option is to pick up your ferret by the ‘scruff’ of the neck; this will immobilize him immediately. Hold him in this position until he yawns, then set him down.

- If you have a rare ferret that isn’t bothered by being picked up by the scruff of the neck, do what mother ferrets do to discipline their kits: hold him by the scruff of the neck, drag him along the floor and hiss at him while you’re doing so. This may sound harsh but it mimics what their moms did to reprimand them when they were young. Don’t be too rough, though; you want to discipline your little fuzzy, not hurt him.

Nipping is not acceptable behaviour and it needs to be addressed early on so that cute little kit you brought home from the pet store doesn’t grow up to be an adult that bites. A little time and patient training will most certainly produce a gentle, well-mannered ferret.

Now, let’s check in on the furry tribe.

“Bailey, what’s up?”

“You sure did. It seemed kind of cute at the time, but we had to stop you from doing that. And because we did, you grew up to be a gentle, loving pet that never bites.”


“Oh, come on, Clair. You do the same thing to him when you’re play fighting, and I don’t see him complaining about it.”


“Nacho, you’re bigger than they are. And you expect me to do something about it?”

Sheesh...what a bunch...


  1. All of your furry kids are absolutely perfect Martha : ) They were my first ferrets to actually see and be touched by and now no longer being a ferret virgin I can safely say they are wonderful little pets .. and of course being a cat family here .. Nacho is purrfect too ! haha
    Joy: )

  2. Joy, before these two, I'd never had ferrets. In fact, I never even knew what they are. And I'm amazed at home sweet and gentle they are. I absolutely adore them, and they are quite spoiled! As for Nacho, she is the most unique, special cat I've ever had. Yup, she really is perfect.