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Can Ferrets Kill Parrots And Dogs?

How dangerous are ferrets to other pets?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: March 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Q: We just bought a 4-month-old ferret. Her name is Grace, and she is awesome! I am getting a cockatoo (large, white parrot) soon for my husband's birthday. While I was shopping for a perch for the bird, I told the owner of the store that I had just brought home a ferret. She said I needed to get rid of the ferret or it would kill the bird. She also said it could kill my dog, which is a Shih Tzu. Are these claims true?

A: I have an umbrella cockatoo, dogs, cats, ferrets and more pets. That being said, the dogs generally steer clear of the cockatoo. The dachshund, bred for hunting, avoids the bird, and the German Shepherd loves the bird and even lets the bird groom him (never unsupervised).

The ferrets and the bird have never met, because they are never out at the same time. I would worry that the bird could hurt the ferret due to the ferret’s curiosity and a parrot’s need to defend itself from prey.

There is no reason different pets can’t all learn to live in the same house, as long as safety rules are followed. Your ferret and cockatoo should never be out at the same time and the parrot’s cage must be out of the ferret’s reach. The dog must leave the parrot alone or risk getting hurt. I would not let them be together unsupervised, the same goes for the ferret and dog.

When the bird has time out of its cage on a stand or with the family, then the dog should be leashed and/or next to an adult. The dog can be taught to “leave it” when on leash or when the bird is in the cage and the dog gets too close. Remember, a cockatoo is a large parrot and can easily crack a nut with its beak, so injuring a ferret or dog would be no problem.

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Can Ferrets Kill Parrots And Dogs?

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Reader Comments
i have 4 ferrets all around the age of 3 yrs, i have 5 cats from the age of 7 yrs to the age of 11 months and a puppy age 9 months,( boxer-pit bull mix) the older cats have never cared for any of my ferrets the younger ones play nicely with the ferrets( we never leave them unattended). none of the ferrets have ever done anything to hurt any of the cats or puppy, i feel comfortable letting them play together.
raychel, rapmm1@hotmail.com, AZ
Posted: 12/14/2010 7:39:55 PM
Wow some of the comments on here are frightening, expecially from people claiming to work with animals and have experience. Most of the animals being discussed are NOT domesticated. Parrots are not domesticated, and I'm not so sure about ferrets. Regardless Saying a ferret can't kill a cockatoo is like saying a mongoose can't kill a cobra. Very dangerous advice. These animals may show no hint of aggression for years and then one day just attack another animal. They do have insticts. We had a standard poodle and rabbits when I was younger. The rabbits would sit and hop around the poodle all the time. The poodle used to lick the rabbits. One day my brother and I were playing out in our motorhome and we had the rabbits and the poodle together like normal. (6 rabbits). We went in the house to get a drink and came back about 15 minutes later and the dog had killed and chewed the head off of EVERY SINGLE RABBIT! Do what you want with this information. I also have mixed pets but realize they are not human and regardless of how they normally act when I am present I wouldn't count on it as predictable behavior. Anyone who says otherwise is quite ignorant.
Doug, Panama City Beach, FL
Posted: 12/13/2010 8:56:11 PM
Our ferret which we have had for almost three years just killed my Senegal parrot. I had let Slinky out of his cage to run around like we did hundreds of times before while my parrot was in his cage. I never let them out together. I heard a commotion coming from the room where the parrot's cage was and by the time I got to the room, the ferret had snapped my Senegal's neck. The ferret managed to push the tray that sits at the bottom of the cage open and got into the cage. Mind you, this was no easy feat. My parrot's cage is one suited for larger parrots so it's made of heavy material...I still can't believe the ferret had the strength to push the tray open. Anyway, I now have a dead parrot which I had for almost 20 years (he was two months old when I got him) and a ferret that is badly injured but still alive. I'm currently looking for a home for the ferret should it survive it's injuries.
Stevie, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 11/8/2010 10:23:29 PM
I think for any anyone to say your ferret WILL kill the bird is silly. Animal attitudes vary, and yes, it is instinctual for a ferret to hunt birds and small mammals and the such, not all will in domestication in my experience. My own ferret is amazing. She's almost 4 years old and LOVES my dogs. Especially the 75 lb golden retriever/border collie. She's also been loose in the same play pen as a rat, and has interacted with been loose with a baby african crested porcupine and baby capybara. It may sound wreckless to you, but I do know my ferret very well (and they are all of course supervised), and I make my living at a wildlife park, so I'm well experienced with these animals. I've also just adopted a Blue Fronted Amazon parrot who was "donated" (in other words dumped by his family) to our park. So, he now lives here with me in the same room as the ferret. While their cages are not within reach of each other, I've never had an issue, and the ferret is frequently loose in the room. So, take the proper precautions, know your pets well, and to be honest, the bird a size of a Cockatoo, your ferret would be in more danger than the bird...they're not typical ferret prey, lol. So, just be careful, and you'll be ok. And to be honest, if it comes down to choosing between the ferret or the parrot...you haven't bought the parrot yet, you already have the ferret...you've already made a commitment to one pet, don't just abandon it now.

All of that being said, as the rest have said, do NOT buy a parrot on a whim. Do you know for a fact your husband wants one? They are a time consuming commitment, but a pleasurable one. If you only own one parrot, for it to be happy and healthy, it NEEDS interaction and attention, and lots of it, they're very sociable animals and crave it, they have to be part of a social group. If not given the socialization it needs, it can easily become depressed, bored, withdrawn, etc, or inversely lash out and become difficult to manage. Be sure this is a commitment you're both ready and willing to make.
Jen, Harrisburg, PW
Posted: 9/27/2010 8:20:07 PM
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