Posted: March 1, 2012, 11 a.m. EST
Q: I have a problem with my pet ferret and need immediate help! But in my country, Malta, I can barely find someone who cares enough to take the time to tell me what to do, especially with ferrets. I bought the ferret last week. The pet shop owner said the ferret was 8 months old. He’s very quiet at a certain point, but sometimes he goes mad. I don’t blame him. He is locked in a huge cage, and I try to take him out of it but every time I do it, he bites. Now, I’m too afraid to touch him or even put my hand in his cage to change his litter. I am very disappointed, because I started to love him. He bites a lot, but I don’t wish to get rid of him, because I think that here in Malta not many people would still love him after he almost bit off their finger. What can I do? Is it pointless maybe because he’s old, or am I doing something wrong? What can I do to cheer him up? I know I need to take him out of his cage, and I do. But can I do something for him so he would let me touch him and play with him like I hear a lot of ferret owners do with their ferrets? He is not neutered, and he has his full grown teeth and nails, too. The man who sold the ferret to me told me to remove his fangs, but that doesn’t seem right. I am not going to do it, because I wouldn’t like having my teeth removed either. But is there another way to get him to stop biting?
A: The fact that the ferret was already 8 months old while still at the pet shop and that he is an intact male (not neutered) could both contribute to the biting. He sounds undersocialized, and he is reaching sexual maturity.
I would try to allow him plenty of time outside of his cage. Simply open the door and allow him to come out by himself. This is a great time to clean the cage.
Your ferret needs to learn that your hands will only give him good things like food. Try hand-feeding him little treats, meat or even his food and allow him to slowly get used to you. Don’t punish him for biting, but try not to give him opportunities to bite you either. I would also neuter him as soon as possible, as that will help.
Don’t stress too much as time and patience will help a lot, and please don’t remove your ferret’s teeth!
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