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Biting Ferret And Attack Ferrets

Why would a ferret bite hard and other ferrets attack fellow ferrets?

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

Q: I have a ferret that bites. She has done it since we brought her home at 6 weeks old. She has a mean look in her eyes, and she bites and doesn’t let go. She even tries to grab more skin. She is now 3 years old. Is there any way to stop her from biting? I also have two ferrets that attack any ferret that is in its own cage sleeping. Why do they do this?
 
A: I had a ferret once that always seemed to bite, no matter what we did or how long we had her. I don’t know much about your ferret’s history, except that you have had her since she was very young. That may be part of the issue; perhaps she was removed from her littermates too young. While animals are young and living with littermates and/or their mom, they learn things like bite inhibition (how hard to bite) and what types of behavior are or are not appropriate. Your ferret might have missed out on this experience.

While I don’t hear about many ferrets having issues of “territory” (most ferrets share space very well and usually end up on top of each other) the two ferrets that attack others may feel territorial.

See all Ferret FAQ questions and answers>>

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Reader Comments
Emily, Thank you for your comment. Squeaky toys are actually known to stimulate some ferrets into biting. See this previous Q&A LINK
Marylou, Irvine, CA
Posted: 2/25/2013 4:59:35 PM
i have a albino farret an he whent crazy after i was messin with a squeakie toy an he grabed my wrest an shook like a pit bull does an drew blood an i have teeth marks i dont know what to do with him i aint had him yet for a mth an hes only 3mths old
Emily, St.Louis, MO
Posted: 2/24/2013 3:27:28 PM
Apple cider vinegar works well as a bite deterrent in my experience. When working with biting ferrets, I keep a small baby food jar 1/4 filled with apple cider vinegar and q-tips. Before handling biters I will run a vinegar soaked q-tip on my hands to deter biting. When a ferret bites, I take out one of the vinegar soaked q-tips and gently swipe the inside of the ferrets mouth and tell them "No bite". Most let go quickly and spit and sputter. This technique needs to be gently repeated each time the ferret bites until they learn not to. Some ferrets stop biting quickly, others push their luck but will eventually bite less frequently.
Troy Lynn Eckart, Wamego, KS
Posted: 11/2/2010 8:45:23 AM
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