Posted: December 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EST
Q: I have had five ferrets, two males and three females. I have two females left, Engelchen (16 months) and Schätzchen (14 months) Schatzi is smaller, but she beats up Engel. Engel takes on really big dogs with no fear. I do not cage my ferrets. They sleep where they want, usually in my underwear drawers under my bed. Schatzi wakes me with a kiss, licking my lips. Engelchen bites my toes or often my heel. I've tried but can't seem to break her of this habit. I will not hurt or imprison her, but I am a diabetic and bites can be/have been dangerous. She never bites my face or hands, and I hug and hold them whenever they seem to want to be held. I've been hospitalized twice with leg infections, and my family is making complaints. Any idea why she bites my toes and hard spots on my feet?
A: I imagine (just my own idea by the way) that our feet are probably the best smell outside of shoes and socks on the body. Anyplace you walked, all the daily smells, and, of course, sweat end up on your feet. All of which make excellent and interesting odors for a ferret. They also move unpredictably, especially under the covers.
Because you won't cage your ferrets at night and you have a health risk, I suggest that you wear slippers. There are some great slipper-socks out there that may help (not with stopping the biting, but with preventing or minimizing the injury).
Your ferrets are also fairly young and may outgrow the behavior as they age, or at least learn to bite less hard.
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