Will you be hurt if your cute little pet bites you? Read on to know all about your ferret’s biting and its causes.
Do Ferret Bites Hurt question may pop up in your head if you have a ferret or plan on buying one. The answer to this may vary from person to person, but in most common cases, yes, a ferret bite does hurt.
Ferrets belong to the weasel family, who have a natural predatory instinct. The main reason for this is that the wild birds used to hunt older ferrets.
Because of this, it is possible that your ferret might be scared or have his predatory instincts turned on if he is scared or startled due to any reason.
You should train your ferret to not bite and how to socialize. Your ferret can harm you as he has sharp teeth.
In this article, we discuss all the reasons why your ferret bites you, do ferret bites hurt, and how you can train your ferret to not bite.
Do Ferret Bites Hurt?
Do Ferret Bites Hurt, the answer to this question may vary from person to person. Your ferret might playfully nibble on your skin or shower you with kisses. In these cases, it is unlikely that you will get hurt.
If your ferret nibbles or kisses you, these are playful nibs. Your ferret will bite you if he is scared or disturbed. You need to make a clear distinction between a playful nib and a real bite.
Ferrets can bite hard, and this can cause the breaking of your skin which might lead to bleeding. It is very important that you train your ferret not to bite.
Once you train your ferret, and he understands that humans are not gifted with the thick skin as their fellow other ferrets, they are unlikely to bite.
It is advisable that children below the age of five should not have ferrets as pets. The reason being is that children have low temperaments, and they will be unable to deal with the sensitive nature of ferret. The pet ferret might get frightened and in turn, bite your kid.
Different Types Of Ferret Bites
In order to train your ferret not to bite and make him socialize, it is essential that you are aware of the different types of ferret bites.
The Real Ferret Bites
These are the bites that you should be concerned about, as they are likely to harm you. Your ferret is a predatory animal by nature. And if he senses any danger, his defense mechanism is to bite.
Your ferret can bite due to many reasons, but the main reasons include that he might be scared, stressed or he simply does not like his new environment.
More often, a newly bought ferret bites more as compared to your ferret, who has been with you for years and has been trained. This is because a new ferret needs some time to get accustomed to the environment and adjust himself.
The Unintended or Accidental Bites
Ferrets love to show their dominance on specific things. If you have more than one ferret as a pet, they are bound to fight while trying to provide their dominance.
Your ferret might bite you if you try to break up their fight, and this bite can be nasty. You should try to break up the fight without touching your ferrets. One simple method is to pour some water over them.
The Curiosity and Mischievous Bites
Your ferret will lick you, shower you with kisses and sometimes even nibble on your skin to show his affection. It is his way to communicate with you.
The playful nibbles usually do not harm you if you have trained your ferret. However, sometimes, if your pet constantly nibbles, it may cause the skin to tear off, and thus this may pain you.
Top 8 Reasons Why Your Ferret is Biting
Below are few possible reasons that cause your ferret to bite:
1. There Might Be Health Issues That Your Ferret is Facing and You Are Unaware About
It is possible that your ferret is facing some health issues, and you are oblivious to that. He might be suffering from each ache or stomach ache and is biting you to express his pain.
Another possible reason for him to bite you is that he might be losing his sight or hearing. Thus, he is unable to recognize when you pick him up or play with him, thus causing him to bite you.
Biting usually isn’t a concern, however, if your ferret has shown a drastic difference in his personality and has started biting frequently, you should consult a veterinarian.
2. Marking His Territory and Showing His Dominance
This reason is mainly observed in male ferrets who have not been neutered. Your ferret might try to show his dominance on other ferrets, male or female, and sometimes even on you because of his hormones.
If your ferret is unneutered and bites frequently, it is best to visit a veterinarian and get him neutered.
3. Your Ferret Might Be Experiencing Pain Due to Teething
If you have a baby ferret, often referred to as a kit, he might be experiencing pain due to teething, just as we humans do.
Your ferret is most likely to nib on all his toys and bites them. And he might even bite you. Though this bite is not harmful, you should ensure that you do not encourage your ferret to bite you, as it might be an issue in the future.
4. He Lacks Training and is Unaware of Socializing
It is possible that your ferret was not trained by his previous owner, or he was still in the pet shop when you got him. In these cases, your ferret does not know that he should not bite.
You should train your ferret as soon as possible. The best time to train your ferret is when he is still a kit. Kits usually pick up habits soon and can be trained faster.
5. Your Ferret Might Be Having Issues Adapting to a New environment
Ferrets tend to have difficulty while adapting to a new environment, which includes, new owners, new smells, or even his new sleeping space.
Your ferret might be confused and stressed with this change and this may lead him to bite.
If you make any changes within your ferret’s environment, you need to make sure that you give him ample time to adjust to this change. Once he is adjusted, it is most likely that your ferret will stop biting.
6. Your Ferret Might Have Been Abused
If your ferret has been abused in the past, by his old owners, or maybe in the pet shop, he will quickly relate humans with pain.
Hence, as a part of his defense mechanism, he will try to bite as soon as a human comes in contact with him.
It is difficult to change this behavior. You will need a lot of patience, and bonding time with your ferret. Once he starts trusting you, it is unlikely that he will bite you without any reason.
7. Your Ferret is Under Stress
There can be multiple reasons why your ferret is under stress. A few of the reasons include, if he does not get enough playtime, or he is put in the cage all day long.
If your ferret is under stress, he will try to communicate with you by biting you.
8. Your Ferret is Is Allergic to Some Smell
Ferrets have a strong liking or disliking of certain smells. You may notice that if you put on some lotion, your ferret might keep on wandering near you, as he really liked that smell.
In the reverse scenario, if your ferret does not like a particular smell, he might just bite you to show his irritation.
6 Ways to Train Your Ferret to Not Bite
Once you have determined the possible cause of your ferret biting you, you can try one of the below methods to train him not to bite. You should try to stick to a method for some months.
Even after few months, there is no difference seen in the ferret’s behavior, you can try some other method.
1. Create A Bond With Your Ferret
If you have just got your ferret, he will not be familiar to you. You should provide enough time for your ferret to bond with you. If time permits, play with him, provide him toys, food and water, and your attention.
We also suggest that you allow your ferret to explore his cage and let him spend time outside of the cage in a secure environment.
To form a playful rapport with your ferret, you can gently stroke his underarm.
2. Give Your Ferret A Timeout
Just like a child, timeout works for ferrets too. You should have a separate timeout cage, devoid of any toys.
If your ferret bites you, you can give him a timeout for 5 minutes.
We suggest that you should not use this method if your ferret is stressed or abused in the past.It might cause more psychological harm to your furry pet.
3. Apply A Bitter Taste on Your Hand
Ferrets usually bite on the hands. You can prevent this by applying a bitter-tasting substance to your hand. You can use bitter apple juice or lemon for this.
Your ferret can eventually start liking the taste. Hence, this method cannot be used for a longer time.
4. Provide Soft Toys to Your Ferret
Ferrets often get excited while playing and may bite their owners in sheer excitement.
You can use toys to play with your ferrets. You can use toys with musical bells or soft toys to play with your ferret. Your happy ferret will bite the toy instead of your hand!
Our recommendation for your dear pet is the special ferret toy.
5. Hold Your Ferret By the Scruff of his Neck
To tame your ferret, you can use this method too. If your ferret constantly bites, you should pick him up gently from the scruff of his neck and shake him lightly. While doing so, you should make the hissing sound as well.
Once your ferret has calmed down, you can gently put him down.
6. Pinch Your Ferret Down and Make Hissing Sound
If your ferret bites you, you should pinch your ferret down gently and make a hissing sound. Once your ferret has calmed down, you can release him.
Mother ferrets use this behaviour with their kits.
Apart from the above-specified methods, you can also check out other ways here.
What Should You Do If Your Ferret Bites You?
You should follow the below steps if your ferret bites you:
1. To avoid the entry of bacteria into the wound, quickly wash off your wound under running warm water. This will clean any sort of bacteria or dirt and prevent from further infection.
2. Apply an antibacterial ointment or wash.
3. Once the above steps are done, apply a bandage.
4. Animal bites can cause tetanus infection. It is advisable that you get a tetanus shot or check the validity of your tetanus shot.
It is advisable that you seek medical help if the wound is deep and does not heal with the above steps.
FAQs on Do Ferret Bites Hurt?
1. Why does my ferret bite so hard?
Possible reasons for your ferret biting extremely hard are that he is trying to get your attention, or he wants to play with you. Stressed or abused ferrets also tend to bite hard.
2. Can a ferret bite your finger off?
Due to their predator nature, ferrets do have the strength to bite your finger off. However, it can be done over a period of time and not in a single bite. Hence, practically it is nearly impossible that your ferret bites your finger off.
A simple answer to do ferret bites hurt is a yes. Before trying to train your ferret, you should try to find out the reason behind your ferret’s biting.
You should not give up while trying to train your ferret. Pursue one method for some time, if that doesn’t work try out another one.
Once your ferret is familiar with you and has been trained, be assured to have a gala time with him!