Why Ferrets Bite: The Truth Behind a Strange Behaviour

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One of the most misunderstood things that ferrets do is biting. Biting is a form of ferret communication. Many ferret owners deny the fact that ferrets bite a lot because they fear the image of owning a ferret getting tarnished.

All different animals, big or small, wild or domesticated, will bite depending on their circumstances. Some bite to eat while ferrets sometimes bite to communicate. Other ferret pet owners discourage biting but it is their natural way of communicating with your or with another ferret.

Biting and nipping are different in which an aggressive bite will surely give you a lot of pain and will sometimes draw blood while nipping are just gentle bites in which the ferret shows his affection towards you or just looking for attention. There are many reasons why ferrets bite. Either way, here are some reasons why they bite in the first place.

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Kits Will Always Be Kits

A baby ferret is also known as a kit, and yes they tend to nip, a lot. They spend most of their time exploring everything new to them and also their environment with the use of their mouths. They learn things around them through nipping and biting. Biting around also soothes their pain especially if they are teething.

During this stage it is important to train your kit about socializing and when not to bite. It is important to be patient and be consistent while training your kit and most importantly have fun.

Spoiled Little Kit

Your once small, cute and baby little kit has now grown up a lot. And yes even though it has grown up it is still cute, but the worst thing is that they still bite but harder with their bigger teeth. Your ferret still wants to play with you but it still bites. If you have not trained your ferret or just ignored training your ferret when it was still a baby then it will result in a ferret that is spoiled and bites a lot.

Physically Challenged Ferret

One of the things you can’t avoid is your ferret having a medical condition. Whether they become blind or deaf they will bite if you suddenly grab or handle them. The best thing to do if you find out you have a blind ferret is talk to them before handling or grabbing them. You must have talked to your ferret a lot before and so it will recognize your voice if ever you try to handle or carry them.

Other health conditions that ferrets have will result in unwanted biting. They may feel pain because of that health condition that’s why they bite.

Dominant Ferret

If you have a group of ferret (which is also called a business) in a ferret cage, then there is always one ferret in the group that will show dominance in both the ferrets and also the human taking care of them. Biting is a way of bullying other ferrets just to show their dominance.

Self Defense

This type of behavior usually happens to ferrets that have been abused before and have suffered a hard and painful life. When being approached by strangers or caretakers they try to bite them away. Abused ferrets are to be reconditioned for months or even years just to let them forget the pain they suffered before and have human contact again without hurting them.

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The Sensitive Ferret

Changes around the ferret might cause it to bite you. Ferrets are sensitive to change whether it is good or bad for them. Change sometimes causes fear to them or even confusion and most of the time a lot of stress. Ferrets need time to adjust and adapt to the new change they have encountered. Sometimes ferret reacts aggressively if they are in an unfamiliar environment which results in biting the nearest person to them.


Most ferrets just bite because it is their habit. They bite because they are happy. They bite because they are sad. They bite because they are afraid. Sometimes they bite just because they want to. That is why it is very important to train kits at a young age to discourage biting. The other causes of biting can still be avoided but once the kit grows without proper training then it will be very difficult for them to stay away from biting.

Ferrets are like humans, they are a complex animal which needs understanding and patience. As the pet owner you must also do your part to educate them on the dos and don’ts. With trial and error you can have bite-free days for a long time. A lot of people will usually work out the behavioral problems regarding their ferret but other pet owners usually dump their ferrets to the nearest shelters or sell them to other interested people. Keep in mind that most shelters that accept ferrets will immediately euthanize them.

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2 thoughts on “Why Ferrets Bite: The Truth Behind a Strange Behaviour

  1. George says:

    I hate how you put when you give a ferret back or something, the shelter will immediately euthanize them, because almost gives the notion that if you want to return it, you’re killing it off, so you have no choice but to keep it.

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