Posted: November 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: We just got two ferrets from the RSPCA two days ago. They are both neutered and are a 1-year-old male and a 3-month-old female. They live outside in a large house that my husband built for them. The female ferret is very playful but is biting us a lot. Sometimes it is when we pick her up, but other times she actually comes after our hands and won't stop. She has drawn blood a few times today. We have scruffed her a couple of times and given her time-out in her pet carrier, but I just want to make sure we are doing the right things as we want to bond with her and build trust but at the same time stop the biting. Maybe she just needs time to settle in?
A: At 3 months old, the female ferret is very young, and most young animals are biters at this age/stage -- even kittens, puppies and some children.
Your female ferret is likely testing her world and her limits. Be patient and limit the opportunities to bite you. Likely she is biting your hands when you pick her up because she wants to play, or she is going after your fingers because they are "dangly" and fun!
The 1-year-old, male ferret should help her figure out when biting is not appropriate, and then she needs to learn other ways to communicate.
Most of what you describe is something your younger ferret will grow out of in time. Try not to punish her, just redirect her onto something that is safe to bite.
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