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For Ferrets Only
Ask Angela


Biting Babies:


 

QUESTION:
I recently got myself a young ferret. She's only about 9 weeks of age. And she's very reckless! She likes to bite when she plays and that isn't something I enjoy because I don't want a grown ferret biting me while I play with it. How can I get her to stop this habit?

 

ANSWER:

It is natural for a ferret to bite as she is practicing to become a predator. It is best not to play with her when she is so excited. Let her play in some tubes, paper bags, boxes stuffed with shredded paper and once she calms down, then give her lots of attention. She will be cutting her molars at 12 weeks so get her some Cheweasals sold on my site under TOYS. You can also give her some Chicken baby food from your finger, when she is calm, that way she knows good things come from your hand! Do not yell, hit, flick as she will not understand and will only bite more if she thinks it is something to master. LOVE will work so much better.

 


QUESTION:
I just got a 3 month old baby girl ferret. I have been reading lots of stuff on the internet about nipping and etc. I have had her for three days. I was wondering what to do about her nipping at my daughter and me. She hasn't bite me hard enough to draw blood. I have read so much stuff to do, I don't know what's right and wrong.

 

ANSWER:

Was she left in the Pet Shop for a longtime? It maybe the lack of handling and she is very anxious. All puppies/cats and ferrets nip a lot when small, however we do not want to encourage this behavior. For ferret to become a predator in the wild, he will practice biting his siblings, also your ferret will be cutting molars.

 

Try to handle her when she first wakes up and then let her play with you, using soft toys, paper bags, rolled paper towel, anything so she cannot bite your fingers. If she attacks your feet, then cover yourself with a blanket or towel and continue to coax her with the toys. If she becomes too wild, then leave her to play alone, buy some hard balls and some cardboard tubes, dryer venting tubes, boxes of shredded paper etc., something she can play in to get rid of her energy. Do NOT pick her up while she is playing.

 

Once she is calm, then offer her some CHICKEN or TURKEY BABYFOOD on a spoon and then gradually let her lick from your fingers, this way she associates something good with fingers. Do not punish her in any way as she does not understand that she is doing wrong, just remain calm,say 'NO" and distract her with a toy.

 

 


QUESTION:
I just got a new ferret. He was born Aug 2 so he is still teething. He is over all great. He plays well with my 2 females, he loves playing with people and he's sweet.... EXCEPT when he finds something to chew on that makes his teeth feel better. He starts to hiss and sorta bark when he is chewing on something and someone goes near him. For the most part I leave him alone to chew but a lot of times he starts to chew on stuff he shouldn't and that's when the problem gets real bad. He barks and hisses and once you finally get the item from him the first thing near his mouth he goes for. For example... I'm writing this email to you because I just had a problem with him where he started chewing on my blanket and so i finally got it from him and he turned grabbed my finger and wouldn't let go. well, he broke my skin and i am bleeding. He is a great ferret but i don't know how to control this behavior. Everything I give him to chew on (treats made for teething, a ferret blanket, a purse) he destroys to quick and then he turns to something he shouldn't chew on. Its getting bad. i love the little guy so much but like i said this aggressive behavior is not okay. Any suggestions? Id appreciate any type of help?

 

ANSWER:

First of all you do not need to go to a doctor, wash your finger with Peroxide and put an antibiotic ointment on it and a band aid. Secondly, do you have food available for him all the time? It sounds to me as if he is very hungry, as hungry ferrets will bite. I have had ferrets for 30 years and have never specifically given any of them things to chew on, however I have made available CHEWEASELS during teething times.


There should always be kibble available, plus you may want to give him some extra protein such as CHICKEN/TURKEY BABYFOOD, give 3-4 teaspoonfuls in a shallow dish, add a teaspoon of water and warm a little, he should lap it up, plus if you give from your finger he will associate good things and not negative things with your hand.


Keep him in a separate cage and do not put things he shouldn't have in there, make sure he has lots of food and water, a comfortable bed to sleep in and wait a couple of weeks until he has grown in his molars. Hopefully he will grow out of the biting problem, but please let me know if you need more help.

 


QUESTION:
I have a ferret that's 4 months old and I can't stop his biting habit. He has already taken a plug out of our 2 year daughter over the weekend. I want this to end and have a NON biting ferret. Please help.

 

ANSWER:
How long have you had the ferret? He is young and full of energy, plus he is a natural predator who is using his teeth for what they were designed for. Unfortunately that is not acceptable behavior and he will need to learn that. Always take him out of the cage about the same time each day and before he gets too active you can hold him, give him a treat that he likes so he knows that good things come from your hand. Give him lots of room to run and play and lots of tunnels, boxes, bags and hard baby toys to play with. Let him run and get some energy out of his system before you interact with him. Personally I would NOT let him play with your 2 year old!

 

Ferrets can bite hard and not let go and skin can require stitches. Also if a child is bitten and you report it to a physician they are required by law to call the authorities, who in some areas will seize the ferret and take off his head to check for rabies! Ferrets are not pets for young children!

 

Reprimanding the ferret by yelling, hitting, flicking the nose will only make matters worse. He needs lots of love and attention just as your two year old does, so when he is quiet then is the time to cuddle. If he starts to bite take a roll of paper towel and put it in the area he is trying to bite, distract him with a toy and then either put him in his cage to calm down, or leave him to play alone.

 

If you can give him some chicken baby food on a spoon and then graduate to him licking it from your finger, he will associate good things with your hands. If you buy some CHEWEASELS for him to chew on it will help while he is cutting teeth. If the problem persists, it would be best to call a ferret rescue/shelter in your area, for them to work with you and your ferret. He will calm down but he needs to know what is expected of him.

 


QUESTION:
I just got a new ferret this past weekend. When she plays, I flick her in the nose when she bites to hard. Well lately she has become a little more aggressive. She has just been biting a lot more harder than usual. Is it possible that she can be teething? She is an 8 week old albino.

ANSWER:


Where did you learn to flick her on the nose, it only makes her worse, as that is an act of aggression toward her? Ferrets are natural predators and learn to bite to kill their prey and thus practice with their siblings, you are the next best thing! We have to teach them that biting is not acceptable, so flicking her is doing the opposite, it incites the ferret to more biting.

 

Yes, she is cutting her molars so it would be good to provide her with something hard to chew on such as CHEWEASELS, or a hard plastic baby toy, do NOT give her anything made of rubber as she will chew through and end up with a blockage! Try to handle her when she just wakes up, then allow her to play with toys, run around etc.. to get her pent up energy out. Play with her with things on a stick or cat toys so your fingers are not near.

 

Once she calms down then offer her some CHICKEN BABYFOOD on a spoon it will help her appreciate that GOOD things are associated with fingers and hands. When you are comfortable let her lick the baby food from your fingers. If she gets really rambunctious then return her to her cage till she calms down. If you provide toys she can hide in and play with to keep her occupied , she will be happy and eventually give you lots of kisses, not bites.

 


QUESTION:
I just got a male ferret about 2 week ago he is 8 week old and is named Tony. He is very playful and loves to bite. Even though he is only 8 weeks I still do not like him biting. He has a lot of toys and things to play with so it's not like he is bored, believe me he is a very spoiled ferret. I don't know what to do about his biting. Someone told me a good way to get him to stop biting is to flick him on the nose gently is this a good way?

 

ANSWER:
Ferrets are carnivores so he is practicing to become one, added to that he is cutting his molars, so you might want to give him Cheweasels to chew on. Don't play with him when he is feisty, unless you have a toy that he can bite. It is not good for him to bite you, so take him out when he is calm and cuddle with him and then let him play with toys, tubes, boxes to release his energy.

 

If he should bite put him back into his cage until he calms down, or leave him alone to play on his own. Do not flick his nose or punish him as it is a natural reaction for him to bite harder. A loud NO might help. Buy him some chicken baby food and feed it to him on a spoon as he starts to enjoy it, put some on your finger, let him know that fingers are providing good things, but wait until he calms down to do this. Give him lots of love and attention.

 


QUESTION:
Ok thanks so much I needed sum better methods to help her stop biting. I didn't spray it in her mouth I sprayed it on my finger & rubbed it over her mouth. & it was too much for her to handle. I had asked the pet store how I should do it & they recommended it.. So was that vomit? It was like foaming? Is there anything to be concerned about? She is doing fine now. Gerbers won't hurt her diet at all? I have been feeding her the path valley farm diet with some snacks I bought at the pet store. I will not be using the bitter apple for a while. It makes her crazy.

 

ANSWER:
Try putting some in your mouth and see what it does to you! I have never heard of such a thing, you need to tell them at the pet shop how dangerous that is and it is a form of abuse!!! The foaming could have been a seizure caused by the hot pepper in the spray and could have really harmed her to the point of death. Have you given her any Nutrical or a little honey rubbed into her gums to wash away the taste?

 

Baby food is an excellent healthy snack as long as t is ALL MEAT and you can give her 1-2 teaspoons a day in a little flat bowl as a supplement to her regular diet. If she ever gets sick, this is the food she will eat, so best get her used to it now. It is high in meat protein and that is what she needs since she is a carnivore. Do not give her treats from the pet shop if they are sugary, dried fruit etc.., take a look at the snacks and food on my site for an idea of what she should eat.

 


QUESTION:
I just recently adopted my ferret she is about 2 to 3 months old & has been biting non stop. The people at the pet store recommended bitter apple so I bought some and I accidentally gave her too much when she bit me tonight. She started having foam coming from her mouth. I'm assuming its throw up I gave her water & the taste went away. Is she ok? Is there anything to be worried about? I have been monitoring her all this evening & right now she is sleeping like normal. So should I be concerned? Thanks so much. I'm just very worried about my baby!

 

ANSWER:
What do mean you gave her too much, you are not supposed to spray it in her mouth? You are supposed to put it on you, in the areas she bites you and when she gets the taste she will stop! It is normal for a baby ferret to bite, so give her plenty of safe toys and also some CHEWEASELS so she can cut her teeth. Ferrets at her age are learning to become 'predators', so do not play with her while she is acting so wild, but let her calm down and then hold her and cuddle with her. Buy her some GERBERS MEAT BABYFOOD and start giving her about a teaspoonful, let her lick it from your finger, this way she will associate your fingers with something good. If she continues to bite put her back in her cage until she calms down.

 


QUESTION:
We have a ferret ourselves. We got it from a pet store here in columbia, South Carolina. We got him a few months ago. He is really aggressive!! We work with him all the time! but still he bites and attacks! I dont know what to do! Its starting to get aggevating but we take our time with him hoping he will learn not to bite! We even bought him some treats so that when he is good we give him one! But still it dont work! Well if you could really give us some tips we would really appreciate it alot thanks.

 

ANSWER:
How old was he when you bought him? If you got him after he had been at the pet store for a while, that is most likely why he is aggresive.

 

He was either playing too rough with the other ferrets there, or he did not get the attention he needed. Young ferrets bite very hard when playing with each other they are practicing to be predators, learning how to kill their prey.

 

Ferrets have tough skin, so when they bite each other it does not hurt like it does when they bite us humans. It is better not to handle him when he is biting, just put him back in his cage. Pick him up and cuddle him when he first wakes before he gets so excited and if he tries to bite, say NO loudly!

 

Why don't you buy some GERBERS BABYFOOD, CHICKEN/TURKEY and give it to him off your finger, he will learn to associate good food coming from you and will have no need to bite. The babyfood is a good healthy snack, please be careful giving him other treats as some can be quite dangerous for ferrets.

 


QUESTION:
I just bought a kit at a pet store and they said she is about 8-10 weeks old. She will not let us touch her or hold her without biting.We have to use gloves because we are very nervous. Cause she drew blood. When we let her out of the cage we let her play,she is VERY hyper and out of control on objects such as my slippers. She pulls things into dark corners and she chases us... We want a nice Ferret not a wrecker.What can we do?

 

ANSWER:
Your ferret's behavior is perfectly normal! Young kits learn how to become predators about the age of your kit, she would be practicing with her siblings, however their skin is much tougher than ours, so she will need to be taught that her rough play is not acceptable. You cannot use gloves, it is better just to hold her when she wakes up and then let her play to get rid of that energy. Let her chase a cat toy on a stick if you are nervous, she will sense your fear and will always be cautious. If she goes to bite, just say NO very loudly and distract her with a toy.

Kneel down on the ground and let her come to you, give her a piece of her food as a treat and she will grow to accept you.It sounds as if she was not handled a great deal at the pet store, so it may take a little time for her to trust you. Pick her up by the scuff of the neck, that is the way her mother would do, this way you will not get bitten.

 

Remember she is very tiny and needs to know you love her, she will grow out of the biting! If you feel you are too afraid then you may want to return her to the pet store. You could also try to contact a ferret rescue/shelter in your area and they should be able to help you train the ferret and show you how to care for her.

 


QUESTION:
Hi I had just bought 2 baby ferrets and the girl at the pet shop said they are biting because they are teething. How long is it before they stop biting? And when would it be alright to start handling them? Should I leave them in the cage for a week before I start taking them out of the cage? Should I even handle them while they are biting? I was just changing the water and giving them more food and it bit me to where it made me bleed.

ANSWER:
How old are the babies? They usually cut their second teeth at 8-9 weeks old, however that is not the reason they are biting! Baby ferrets learn how to become 'predators' by play biting with their siblings, their skin is very hard, but ours is not, hence the bite. It is normal behavior for them to play that way!


Personally I would separate them and handle them as much as possible, you will want to do that as they wake from sleep or after play, once they calm down. They will need a lot of cuddling and handling but as long as you keep them in the same cage they will continue to play bite and it may be difficult to stop them later. You can let them play together for a short time each day, give them baby toys, paper bags and tubes and keep them busy, this will give them less time to attack each other and once they are worn out you should be able to handle them.

 




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