- - - "100% Ferrets, 100% of the Time" - - - -
My name's Maranda and I aim to spread the word about good ferret care. I volunteer at a ferret shelter, work at a pet store, and am owned by many ferrets. I'm a huge advocate for raw feeding, private breeders, and choosing adoption first. I do my best to answer any ferret-related questions!
So I have had my two ferrets Scout and Dawn, both female and spayed, for about a year now. Scout is super playful, loving, and all around just a great happy little ball of fluff. Dawn on the other hand… well Dawn gets along with Scout just fine, but I’m convinced she hates humans. Since I first got her, she has never expressed any interest in receiving human affection. In fact, sometimes when I go to pick her up she will turn around and bite me. I’ve been trying to break her of this habit by grabbing her by the scruff and firmly saying, “no,” and for a while it seemed to work. But now she’s back to biting again! And worse than before. :( I’ve tried being loving towards her and she just doesn’t want it… and now even when I reprimand her, she tries to bite me immediately afterwards. She really just seems completely unhappy… she does play with Scout from time to time, but when she does she very rarely ever makes that “dook” noise.
Am I just overreacting? Is she just a ferret that will never like people and should be left alone? I don’t know what to do. :(
How long have you had Dawn? Did you adopt her from another person? She could have been mistreated in her previous home. Or even if you got her from a pet store, it could be that she had a traumatic experience and has a hard time trusting humans as a result. There’s a ferret named Dominique at the shelter like that. She’ll invite you to play about 1 time out of 10, but if you get your hands too close or when you grab her to put her away she whirls around, teeth bared, ready to bite. Ferrets have a hard time breaking habits, so it could take a long, long time (and by long time I mean maybe even a year) for them to grow to trust again.
In the mean time, try putting nasty-tasting and bad-smelling stuff (Bitter YUCK or Time Out!) on your fingers. That may do the trick since scruffing seems to not do the trick.
Also, does she have an all white head or a white spot(s)/stripe(s) on her head? Or is she a dark-eyed-white? If so, she could be deaf, and is being startled by you. Deafies are kind of hard to socialize and train sometimes.
…that Waardenburg (deaf) ferrets always look kind of cross-eyed? Or just dopey in general? (Waardenburg syndrome often results in a malformed palate, I think, so maybe that has something to do with it…?)