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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2004, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Socializing Problems...

Hi, As you all may or may not have heard, I got adopted an old ferret from the vet name Sampson. He is blind, has low-blood sugar and rear leg weakness due to his Pancreatic Tumors.

When Chris and I frist bought Sampson home, we kept him in a crate for the first couple days untill we felt that he could get along with our other ferrets Buddy and Jessie. Now he is in the same cage with them and get free range of the room with them. He usually likes to be off on his own and sleeps alot and he dosn't really play.

Latly he has been attacking my Male ferret Buddy. If Buddy goes near him he attacks him (no blood is ever drawn) and makes a loud squealing noise and poor Buddy gets scared and runs and hides from him. One time Buddy was in the cage sleeping in his bed, and I put Sampson in the Cage to lock the ferrets up and right before I left the cage, Sampson attack Buddy again and Buddy scurred up the tunnels of the cage. Sampson obviously wanted Buddys spot and Buddy was franticly try to cawl up the tubes. I took Buddy out and gave him some lovings, but I felt so bad. I don't know what to do, I can't handle seeing Buddy like this and Sampson has gotten out of control. Buddy won't be doing a thing to Sampson and he will attack. Sampson never did this to Buddy before and we have had him for 3 weeks. I was just wondering if you guys might have some idea why he might be doing this now.

He dosn't mess with Jessie at all (she is a female) and he will even let her cuddle with him sometimes. I use to be able to stick all 3 of them in my sweater and they would settle down together (like the picture below). Now, if I put Sampson and Buddy together in the sweater, Sampson will attack him. Sampson did this once and When I went to pull him out he bit me hard, and I scruffed him and said NO and let him on the floor. Then I attended to Buddy who had scurried up my sleeve. I know that it probably has somewhat to do with the fact that they are both males and that Sampson is Blind. But I was wondering if it might have anything to do with his Pancreatic Tumors aka Insulinoma, because I find it wierd that he would just start doing this now after we have had them together in cages for a little over 2 weeks.

I was thinking I probably should scruff Sampson and Say "no" everytime he attacks Buddy. I don't know if that would help any or not. Plus, if he does this out of fear, I know that it would only make it worse. Its hard to tell why he does this. I also thought if I dunk Buddy and Sampson in Ferretone and lock them in a small crate togther, if it would get them to get along or not. Do you guys think that would work and if its a good idea? Or do you think that its to risky...? I am open to any suggestions and opions etc. I really want to try everything possible to get them to get along.

It just kills me to see them like this, and I really think that Buddy would be Sampson best friend if he would just give him the chance. I think it might be because Sampson is old and may have not been around other ferrets before. I really don't know much about his past.

Eat a crunchy, Sleep in hammock,
Steal a sock, Dig in shoes,
Nip your ankles, Climb your pants
Miss the litter box, Beg for treats,
Poop in a corner, Knock something over


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But Why Would Anyone Do a Thing Like That?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2004, 05:39 PM
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Sorry I don't know about ferrets, but I think you are great taking in Sampson, and giving him a good home.. Hope you sort the problem out!

Steph ~ Owned by 4 bunnies and 5 degus..


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2004, 06:02 PM
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Well, I know I'm not the best candidate to be giving advise, but I'd still like to help. This obviously seems to be a male-to-male thing if Sampson isn't going after Jessie. Almost sounds like a dominance issue maybe for some sort of closure on Sampson's part for being in a new environment. Have the two boys roughed it out yet- wrestled? Although Buddy is not, Sampson seems to think of Buddy as a threat. I'm not familiar with the ways of older ferrets- but I know it is much harded for them to adjust to other ferrets- especially of the same sex. A possible tip that may help if you haven't done it yet, is spray them or bath them with the same shampoo. This way, they smell alike and are not such a threat to each other. Also, if possible, put them in separate cages for awhile and switch Buddy's and Sampson's hammocks/blankets with eachother for some time so they can get more accustomed to each other's smell without the fear of attack. Sampson seems like he's trying to establish some territory. Although he's new, it is the "strongest and most fit" who survive in their eyes. It is strange that this is happening more now than before, but it's possible that Sampson is more bold now because he's gotten used to his surroundings a bit more. I would not suggest scruffing Sampson everytime he attacks. In fact, this may encourage his anger towards Buddy. He may begin to associate Buddy with pain- not good if you want him to feel comfortable. Ferretone may work- but I wouldn't suggest locking them in a cage together during this- they may feel trapped- and if they get scared, fight or flight would only resort to fight in this case. Question for you, how does Sampson attack Buddy? Is it a nip and a run away type of thing? Or a wrestling and biting thing that persists for awhile. This can result to a difference between dominace fighting and fear. If there is a lot of wresting and biting, try putting apple-bitter on Buddy's neck- not if he's been wounded- that would be painful. But this may discourage Sampson from biting so much. Best thing is- no blood has been drawn. This is good. Sampson isn't out to kill Buddy. This sort of non-blood-drawing-fighting can persist for some time. Even several months- I've heard of years in some cases. I hope this helps in some way- keep me updated- I will do some research. Good luck! Tycor
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2004, 06:05 PM
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Oh, I also read something about sicker or weaker ferrets having a harder time at getting along with other ferrets. Sampson is blind and has other disadvantages that may be making him put up more of a guard with other males.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2004, 04:54 AM
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It could be that since he is so old and sick, a healthy young male ferret is even a bigget threat than it would have been if would be healthy as well...If the ferret is isolating from the other ferrets and don't want to have any contact, just want to sleep, not to scare you, but maybe its his way to say that he want's to die...It sounds like he is in a lot of pian and his blindness makes him even more insecure. The pets iv'e had, has always isolated them selves when they came to the point were they knew that it was time to let go.

It doesn't sounds like that he is in best condition to live a full worthy life...

Of course, I hope that I'm wrong...it great that you took him in an wanted to give him a chance, but maybe, just maybe, it's time to let him go....
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2004, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Hi, sorry, I haven't been up here for awhile and have been busy with the holiday season and vet trips etc. Well, I did find out that he attacks Jessie too. I think the only reason why I notice it happening to Buddy more then Jessie is because Buddy has more guts. Sampson dosn't wrestle, he just keeps bitting Buddy and Jessie on the neck untill they leave. I agree, that it is probably his age, blindess and the fact that he is starting to get use to the surrondings that is causing him to do this more now.

Right now Sampson is kept seperated from them because he just had his surgery a couple days ago. They removed 5-6 tumors and he seems to be doing really well so far. He went in for blood work yesterday, and so far we haven't gotten the results back. The vet said that after surgery sometimes their suger levels will either sky rocket or go below. So we are waiting on that. He is on meds right now, he takes Amoxi, Pain killer; and Pepto 3 times a day. I am not sure when he will have to get his stitches out. He seems more awake now that he had his surgery. He still isn't that active yet, and I don't even know how active he was to begin with.

I definatly don't think he wants to die, otherwise, he would not bother to eat or drink. He actually acts alot like my 10 year old dog Tasha only he is not afriad of us. He loves attention from us, he likes to lick are fingers and everynow and then he will actually give us kisses. He is a sweet ferret and is really good with us for the most part. And he is not to bad with our other two ferrets, but I would like him to not be so territorial and learn to share beds and get along with my ferrets. I know that will take a lot of time. I guess, thier may not be to much I can do in that area. Thanks for all your suggestions, and I will try to associate him being around my ferrets with good things.

Eat a crunchy, Sleep in hammock,
Steal a sock, Dig in shoes,
Nip your ankles, Climb your pants
Miss the litter box, Beg for treats,
Poop in a corner, Knock something over


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