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Will These Ferrets Ever Get Along?

If ferrets fight, must they live separately for the rest of their lives?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: December 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

Q: My girlfriend and I decided to get another ferret so her ferret would have a friend to play with. We went to the pet store and picked up a ferret that was 5 months old that we named Mocha. Strippers, the ferret we have had for a while, is now 2 years old. We introduced them the day we brought Mocha home. There have been some problems between the two that I’m not sure how to handle.

The older ferret constantly harasses the younger one, understandably to dominate him, though the older ferret bites around the face and neck. The older ferret has grabbed the younger one by the face and tries to drag him across the floor, which causes the younger ferret to let out a high-pitched squeal.

On the other hand, when the younger one is sleeping, we let the older ferret in the cage and the older ferret begins to clean the younger one for about 15 minutes. Then the older ferret randomly decides to bite the younger ferret’s face, and so far has dragged the younger ferret by the throat while he’s sleeping.

I don’t understand what’s going on, and I can’t tell if they will get along or not. We only have 14 days to return the younger one, but I really don’t want to do that, already being attached to him.

They are both males. Also, while they are playing for the first few minutes it seems to be friendly, after that the older ferret starts to cause pain for the other ferret, judging by the little squeals Mocha lets out. What should I do about this? Is the age difference too vast for them to become friends?

A: If you want the ferrets to become playmates, the best way to introduce them is to place them together in a neutral space, like a bathroom or a ferret-proofed space in your home. Research shows that gradual introductions do not work well and can often drag out the meeting process.

Because they have had playtime together, my suggestion is that you clean the cage thoroughly and place them both in the cage in which they will stay. Neck biting and even dragging is normal ferret behavior; that is why the skin on their neck is so thick.

If the older ferret lets the younger one go when he squeals, then they should be fine. Sometimes the squealer quickly comes back for more, indicating there was no harm done. The key with ferret introductions is to let the ferrets interact without human intervention as much as possible so that they learn to play together. Make sure each ferret has a place to escape if it decides to, like a small box or tube.

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Will These Ferrets Ever Get Along?

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Reader Comments
I have 3 male ferrets, Rico was my first ferret, then a year later I decided to get a ferret playmate for him because all he would do is eat & sleep to the point that he got overweight. After I brought home a 4 month old male ferret they got along great! But then another year later my aunt had to get rid of her ferret that she could no longer afford so I took him, when I brought him home all three got along great, but then the newer male started following my second ferret Milo, & Milo didn't like it so he would turn around & attack him to leave him alone, but now I notice when Milo goes to sleep with Rico my newer male Jasper will start to clean his face for Milo, then out of no where bit him in his neck to the point Milo will hiss and make dooking noises, I'm worried for them & have no clue what this means, I will even catch jasper chewing on Milo's nose! If someone could reply and help me out that would be great!
Cheyenne, menominee, MI
Posted: 3/11/2014 12:47:16 PM
We have a little girl Kuda who's 6mnths old and when we brought an older ferret into the house Penny who is almost 3. Kuda started biting and dragging Penny who actually puts up with it. It's all whos the "alpha"
Jill, winnipeg, MB
Posted: 12/4/2009 12:10:29 PM
I have a two year old female ferret that ispretty tiny and was just given an 8month old male.They seem to get along until he gets her pinned on the ground and keeps her there I've only let them be together twice so far since we have only had him for 2 hours thus far.She chases him around and then he pins her down is this normal? She has been an only ferret until now and she's so tiny that I don't want her to get hurt.
Sarah, Reno, NV
Posted: 2/15/2009 6:40:31 PM
I have 2 older males (4 & 3) and introduced a 4 month old female. After a few days the 3 year old plays nicely and sleeps with the baby, but the oldest terrorizes her. They are not caged and sleep in drawers under my bed - and it is getting better but I hated it often interferring. The bay would come to bed with me, and sleep in my hand - so it is taking longer then it should but the 4 yewar old is twice as big and I worry too much that he will hurt her. Actullay, I've seperated them, and the young one ran right back screaming when I let her go. It is getting better and today (Thank God) they actually ate at the same time, together.
Joe, Pflugerville, TX
Posted: 2/11/2009 3:27:19 PM
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