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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-20-2004, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2004
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We dont know what to do about our ferret...

My fiance and I have two ferrets, Basil and Tara(gon)

Both relatively the same age, Tara is about 2 months younger than basil and they both are about a year old since we bought them. Basil is a boy, Tara is a girl.

I know the girls are naturally smaller than the boys but tara never really grew. No big deal, I tend to always buy runts, and I like it that way.

They get along great together, most of the time. They play, sleep together, clean each other, etc.

However for the past few months, Basil CONTINUALLY bites tara right behind the ear. Not just biting, but biting, locking down, and holding on. He drags her around the hammock and around the cage by her neck/ear, and wont let go for a looong time.

Tara for her part hisses all she can and squals and screams...it is definately the pain scream and not a cluck by any means. It wakes me up at night often because of how loud it is...but she is too small to do anything about it.

My fiance is currently studying abroad and im left alone with these ferrets, and to be honest I feel like a single dad trying to raise infants. Im losing a lot of sleep because I keep getting woken up by them, and I feel so bad because of what obvious pain Tara is going through.

Please note I provide them a two story cage with a hammock and a bed, let them out frequently, and provide them with plenty of toys.

So, the questions:

1) WHY is Basil doing this?
2) Is it natural?
3) Is Tara really in pain?
4) Can I get Basil to stop? Reprimanding doesnt work, and letting Tara out of her cage while leaving him in doesnt work either.

Any help you can give me would be appreciated...we just dont know what else to do.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-20-2004, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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1) probably dominance
2) from my point of view it is. i had four ferrets at one time and they would drag one of them around. I only have two now and those two are bonded...they sometimes play rough but they don't drag.
3) Is she bleeding? Or pooping cuz she's scared?? It might just be Pi**ing her off more then hurting her.
4) put them in seperate cages, give them more hammocks or sleeping options

I'd say as long as there's no blood or scared poops then they'll probably be fine. I've experienced this before and I never had any serious problems. Could be just a phase in his life.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-20-2004, 10:41 PM
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First off let me say welcome to Paw-Talk!
I can absolutely undestand & sympithize what you are going through. Let me start by saying this... ease your mind as most likely she is NOT truly being hurt and yes it it normal, at least in my experiences. Let me answer yhour questions then I will go into detail.

1) WHY is Basil doing this?
I agree that part of this is a dominancy and part of it is a mating thing.
2) Is it natural?
Yes this is normal ferret behavior between MALES towards females.
3) Is Tara really in pain?

I honestly doubt it. She is probably vocalizing to him that she has had enough, even though she is small she will eventually fight back & give him what for if he gets to rough. (try to tell yourself, "dynamite comes in small packages")
4) Can I get Basil to stop?

You can certainly try by spraying him with a stream of water from a squirt bottle until he breaks his hold, but honestly he will most likely wait till you turn your back & do it again.

Ok, let me explain why I say all this & how I understand.
I currently have 4 ferrets (had 5 but one passed away) 3 females & 1 male. My females never act this way towards each other but my male to this day still does it. After you have had them for a while you will begin to notice a pattern... this time of year is mating season for ferrets. It lasts about a month or so then he will suddenly stop.
Snoopy (my male) used to drag my tiny female Sissy (the one that passed away) around in exactly the description you are describing. I have a 4 level cage and he would literaly drag her out of the hammock on the very top level all the way down to the bottom & try to put her in a corner. She too would whine & occasionally scream, and no matter how hard she tried he just wouldn't let go until he was ready to. One day she finally just had enough cause he was getting a little rough with dragging her aroung and she bit him back while he was sleeping! Of course this didn't stop him from doing it again, but he learned not to be so rough. Sissy passed away a little over a year ago and without fail he does it to my other 3 girls still. In fact I notice the other day that he was licking & nibbling so to say on Mojo (oldest female) and he attempted to pull her out of the hammack, she's about the same size as he is so it was more of a challenge. An hour or two later he did the SAME thing to Tigger then to Winnie. Winnie however immediately gave him what for & wouldn't stand for it. Then again her senses are a little more keen because she is deaf & "saw" him coming towards her & beat him to the punch. I expect this to go on for at least a couple more weeks if not a month (he just started doing this again a few days ago.)

So as you can see it truely is normal behavior. But I would also suggest having a minimum of 2 hammocks as well as the bed you have in there for them. Ferrets get bored rather quickly and need lots of variety! This also may help Tara get away from Basil at least for a little while.

I wish you lots of luck & patience!! Believe me when I say it will pass... as long as there is no blood, puncture wounds or pooping in fear you will not have any problems. Hang in there...
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-21-2004, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah...whenever my fiance asked what I thought, I figured it was a dominance/mating thing...we were just getting extra concerned because its been going on for about 5 months now.

No there is no blood, and no pooping in fear. He DOES grip so hard and long she has tooth-shaped indentations, but it never really breaks the skin. Soemtimes I do have to gently pry his mouth open.

I suppose Ill buy another hammock and stick it on the second level for her...if anything changes or worsens ill be sure to ask here
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level cage, seperate cages

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