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Ferret World
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Chapter 7

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Introduction To Others


Adding Another Ferret
The ferret should carry a warning label, "warning!  Owning ferrets is addicting and may cause you to buy more."  Even though all of our ferrets were altered somehow they managed to multiply out of control.  We started with one soon after they were legalized and now we have 16.

Ferrets are not significantly territorial but they have a social order.  Once accepted into the existing colony, ferrets will share food, water and sleeping areas very readily.  This acceptance may take minutes or weeks depending on the ages of the ferrets and how long they've been alone.

Young kits seem to adapt the best to the addition of new ferret members they seem to take everything in stride.  As they get older, it may take a little longer.  Your best bet is to take it slow and supervised.  Never just toss in a new ferret and walk away.

Remember, ferrets play rough.  Don't mistake rough play for fighting.  Dragging it buys in neck or years is probably OK.  There may be squealing and chittering, which is probably OK too.  Violent shaking and drawing of blood is not.  If you aren't sure, separate the fighters and carry the one that appears to be getting the worst of it a few feet away from the other.  If after you put it down, it rises over and leaps on the other, then it was probably just play.  If it runs the other way it's time to separate them for a little while.

One trick networks in some of the rare, more serious situations is to liberally coach the victim with bitter apple.  You can spray it on directly but be careful of the eyes, nose and mouth.  Or you can spray it on your hands and rub them on the ferret.  The sure to cover the neck in the years as these are the areas most prone to attack.

You may have to keep up this supervised play for days or even weeks until they decide who is the boss ferret.  It's usually more of the worry for the owner than the ferrets though.  Again, patients is the word. 

Ferrets And Other Animals
Ferrets may get along with many other animals, particularly with dogs and cats.  Since the ferret ancestor evolved as a hunter of rodents, we don't recommend hoping that your particular ferret no longer has any hunting instinct.  Even if it has, ferrets play far rougher than what the typical rodent can tolerate.  The same is true with birds.

Adding a ferret to a dog or cat home or vice versa is similar to adding a new ferret to a new home.  Supervision and patience are the keys.  Don't leave them unsupervised for an instant until you are positive that they get along with one another.  Be very cautious with cats.  Many a ferret has been blinded by one swipe of up a paw. 

The ferret has no instinct to fear of either a dog or cat and will usually walk right up to it.  It may try to grab it by the neck, ears tail or tongue and attempt to drag it off.  Many a dog or cat will take this in stride.  Some take it as aggression.  For this reason you should exercise caution. 

Ferrets And Children 

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It is not recommended to place ferrets in homes with children under six years old.  Even children under the age 11 may play to roughly with your ferret.  The domestic ferret is a delicate animal that can easily be injured and crippled for life.  It's back is particularly vulnerable to injury from an uncontrolled squeeze or by being improperly picked up or held.  The ferret is not a cute cuddly stuffed to light.  It can not take the rough handling that is all too often told out by a loving child.

Infants are a particular problem.  The ferret is always curious and will investigate all new furnishings, sounds and smells.  The new crib and baby smells will draw the ferret to investigate.  An infant tends to grasp anything that is near it and attempt to suck on it.  The pain of the grasp and being drawn to the mouth will terrorize the small animal.  The infant is likely to be scratched or even bitten by the frightened ferret as it tries to get away.  The result is an injured child and another story to add to the myth of the ferret as a vicious attack or of infants and children.


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