Can a ferret kill a snake?
After the long day at work, I was just watching Discovery and my shock knew no bounds when I saw how a mongoose is capable of killing a snake.
I was distracted by the chatter of my young ferret and immediately a thought crossed my mind, Can a Ferret Kill a Snake?
At first, I thought, it’s not possible that my baby ferret is capable of killing the snake species. However, I needed a definite answer and so I started my research.
I cannot even describe in words how astonished I was when I found that my pet ferret can actually kill a snake!
Read on to know all about snakes and ferrets.
Can a Ferret Kill a Snake?
As shocking as it might sound, but the answer to Can a Ferret Kill a Snake is a YES.
Polecats are carnivores and they have a natural predator instinct. They belong to the same group as the weasel species. They might seem tiny, but they have great strength and an inbuilt instinct to hunt on snakes.
Moreover, their sharp nails and claws prove as an advantage to them while they hunt.
Polecats, being obligate carnivores usually feed on small animals like rodent species, birds, and snakes. A polecat may see a snake as a prey animal. Following their natural intuition, a polecat will hunt a snake, kill it and then eat it.
Now you may wonder why I am writing about polecats…the reason is that ferrets and polecats are closely related. Ferrets are nothing but domesticated polecats. Thus, they can show all the traits that polecat, being a wild animal possesses.
A domesticated ferret, however, may not kill the snake just for the purpose of eating. It may see the snake as a threat and in order to mark its territory, your pet ferret might simply attack a snake and hunt it down.
Do Ferrets Eat Snakes?
Yes, a ferret can eat any animal that it kills. If your ferret kills a snake, it is possible and very likely that he will eat it too.
The major reasons why ferrets might kill a snake includes:
- A ferret might hunt down the snake just for fun
- They feel threatened and want to mark their territory
- They simply want to eat the snake
Wild ferrets, popularly known as polecats hunt and eat snakes. They slowly observe and stalk their prey snake, seize them and kill the snake with a swift bite on their neck.
Thus, ferrets can definitely eat snakes if they kill them.
Take a look at this video I stumbled upon of a ferret hunting down a snake. It might trigger few readers.
Baffled about what all your cute ferret can eat? Check out the best foods to feed your furry friend.
Can A Snake Kill Your Ferret?
If you believe that only ferrets can kill snakes, then you are highly mistaken. A snake can also kill your ferret. The venom of a venomous snake is so dangerous, that it will just take one bite to kill a ferret.
However, it is very unlikely that the snake will attack your ferret first.
Owning to their predator instincts, the ferret will attack the snake first. Ferrets are alarmed by the snake’s smell. If you see your ferret licking you, it is a sign that he is alarmed by the snake’s presence.
Most of the time, the ferret will attack a snake to protect its habitat or to mark its territory.
Once attacked by the ferret, the snake will try to defend itself by striking back. If the snake is quick and swift enough to bite your ferret, the venom can have a serious effect on your ferret.
The snake bite can also kill your ferret. It is best to rush to a veterinarian if any such incident occurs.
Will A Snake Bite Always Kill Your Ferret?
Even though a snake bite can kill a ferret, however, it is not necessary that all the snake bites can lead to a ferret dying.
You can prevent your ferret’s death by treating your ferret immediately by taking him to the veterinarian. If you provide your ferret with proper care and treatment, your ferret will be in a proper health condition in two to three days.
If a non-venomous snake bites a ferret, the ferret will not be killed. However, you should take extreme care and caution for your ferret if he is around a big snake.
King cobra, being the venomous snake, can kill your ferret simply by its poison. Other snakes like an anaconda, which are constriction venomous snakes will not bite the ferret. However, it will easily kill the ferret by suffocating it while squeezing it. Anaconda will then swallow the ferret.
Signs to Look Out For in Your Ferret for Snake Bite
If your ferret is bitten by a snake, the venom from the snake will be injected by the fangs of the snake into your ferret’s skin tissues. This venom is then circulated in the entire system’s blood by the lymphatic system.
Mainly, the nervous system will be affected by the snake’s venom. Look out for the below signs if your ferret is bitten by a snake:
- Your ferret might show sudden weakness and may eventually collapse.
- He might bleed excessively
- Excessive panting may occur
- Your ferret might experience diarrhea and vomiting
- Dilated pupils not responsive to light.
- Seizures can occur due to the sudden shock.
- In some cases, paralysis may occur
If your ferret shows any signs as listed above, you should immediately take him to the veterinarian.
Do Snakes Eat Ferrets?
Snakes usually eat warm blooded prey, for example, rodent species like hamsters, rabbits, reptiles, and birds. They usually do not see a ferret as a prey. Hence, snakes usually do not attack the ferrets.
However, if your ferret attacks the snake first, the snake will strike back as a defense mechanism.
If the snake is small, then in most of the cases, the ferret will kill it. However, if the snake is venomous and grown up or a king snake or anaconda, in all possibility, it will end up killing the ferret and eating it as a meal.
Thus, yes, snakes do eat ferrets.
Can Ferrets and Snakes Live Together?
Ferrets and snakes living together? That would be a BIG NO from our side.
If you are extremely fond of exotic pets and would want to have both the ferret and snake as a pet, you can do so. However, it is extremely important that you do not let them see each other.
Keeping both of your pets in the same cage will cause serious injuries and in the worst case, death of either the ferret or the snake.
Your ferret has the capability to kill and eat a small snake. However, when the snake gets bigger and older, he can easily kill the ferret and eat it too.
It is best that you keep your pet snakes in a snake tub with a lid. This will ensure that your mischievous ferret does not enter the snake tub. If you plan for snake removal from the tub, it is best that you keep the ferret in another room.
Do Ferrets Keep Snakes Away?
A snake usually cannot smell a ferret, hence, the answer to do ferrets keep snakes away is a NO.
A ferret’s smell does not repel or attract a snake. Moreover, even the ferrets do not attract snakes.
Ferrets will only attack the snake if they sense any danger or mark their territory.
What Should You Do if A Snake Bites Your Ferret?
Snakes can be classified largely into two types:
- Venomous snakes
- Non-venomous snakes
If a non-venomous snake bites your ferret, there is no need to treat your ferret, as no harm would be caused. However, it is always best to keep a close watch on your ferret to see if he is showing any serious symptoms.
Follow the five steps below in case a snake bites your ferret:
1. Keep a Cool and Calm Mind
Being a ferret owner, It is natural to get all worked up if your ferret is bitten by a snake. However, you should keep a calm mind so that you can figure out what should be done next. A quick action will ensure your ferret’s safety and well being.
2. Try to Identify the Snake
This might be difficult to do, but if possible, you should try to identify the snake. Identifying the snake will help in determining if your pet needs an anti venom treatment or not.
3. Carefully Observe Your Ferret
Before panicking, it is best to carefully inspect your ferret. Many times, the venomous snake bites are dry bites. This means that the poisonous venom was not injected into your pet’s body.
If the venom was injected into your ferret’s body by a snake bite, you will observe the swelling of tissues immediately.
4. Provide Pain Relief Medication
If the bite is a dry bite, you can provide your ferret with a pain relief medicine. However, you should make sure that the medicine was prescribed by a veterinarian.
Moreover, you should skip this step if your ferret is having difficulty breathing or he has collapsed. In such a scenario, you should immediately rush to your veterinarian.
5. Take Your Ferret to a Veterinarian
Swelling of tissues is the most common symptom of a snake bite. In most cases, the vet will give a dose of painkillers in an injectable form to have a quicker effect on your ferret’s body.
If you have already given some medication to your ferret at home, do not forget to inform the vet about the same.
If your furry friend is showing some serious symptoms like collapsing or seizures due to a bite from a poisonous snake which can be life threatening, your ferret must get a dose of anti venom. All vets do not have an anti venom as it has a small shelf life.
Hence, it is important to keep a list of centers that provide anti venom f there are snakes in your neighborhood or if you have a snake and ferret living together.
FAQs on Can a Ferret Kill a Snake?
1. What Animals Can a Ferret Kill?
Ferrets are natural predators that can kill many animals. Some of the animals that the ferret can prey on include rabbits, snakes, rats, birds, and bird’s eggs. Ferrets are also capable of killing other rodents like hamsters.
In fact, the key purpose of domesticated ferrets was to hunt down rodents in ancient times.
2. Can Ferrets Kill Cats?
Yes, ferrets can kill cats, however, the possibility is a bit low. If you introduce your ferret to the cat properly and give some time, they may get along.
However, ferrets that are aggressive in nature can attack a cat and may kill it. It is best never to let your ferret go unsupervised.
3. Are Wild Ferrets Dangerous?
Wild ferrets can be dangerous for humans in many ways. If a wild ferret scratches or bites you, the germs will spread. Moreover, in all possibility, a wild ferret will be unvaccinated.
An unvaccinated ferret’s bite can also cause rabies if it has come in contact with a rabid animal.
Young children should be kept away from ferrets, as wild ferrets can be unpredictable and can bite the children.
A short and simple answer to Can a Ferret Kill a Snake is a YES. However, a lot depends upon the size of the ferret and the snake.
Even a snake can kill a ferret or cause harm to your ferret by its venom. It is very important that you never let your snake and ferrets be playmates.
If at all you have both the exotic animals as pets, make sure that the two live in separate spaces or rooms, else in all possibility, either one of them will get badly injured.