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Ferret With Strange Behavior

What could cause a ferret to jump, flinch and act confused?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: October 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: I have a dark-eyed-white ferret named Aly. She needed a home so I took her in. She plays with my other two ferrets and bonded very well. But she acts differently. I think she may be deaf, because she doesn't react to sounds like the others. When I pick her up, she jumps like she didn't know I was around her. She flinches like I'm going to hit her if my hand goes near her. She gets confused very easily. If I change food or water bowls to a different spot in the cage, she doesn't eat because she acts like she can’t find it until I show it to her — and still she won’t eat. Do you think she was abused in the past or she has a problem?
A: It is certainly worth a vet check to see if your ferret is deaf or has any other issues that may be causing her trouble. Ferrets, like most animals, like a certain about of predictability and routine. She may simply have a limited experience with changes and close contact with people, so thankfully she does well with the other ferrets. It may be worth having your vet check her eyesight, too!

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Reader Comments
Sounds like she might be deaf. Or she might be blind. Or both.

I have a blind deaf ferret and he acts like this to an extent. Has a strange gait to his walk, sort of follows his nose with the smells left by his previous travels or where the other ferrets have gone.

He is able to find his food and water, and he finds the other ferrets in their different sleeping spots - crawls in and sleeps with them.

But he also can be aggressive and occasionally fights other males to the point of drawing blood - his or the other ferrets. Thus he bears watching.

He starts a bit when first touched unless I put my hand in front of him first. And he seems to enjoy being picked up and held/pet for a couple of minutes, but not for long.
Ferret Owner, Central, TX
Posted: 3/17/2013 10:41:36 PM
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