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Ferret's Odd Behavior

  1. #1

    Ferret's Odd Behavior

    Hi all! I just got a couple of young ferrets about 3 or 4 days ago, both 7 weeks old. One of them has been acting odd though, to the point of making himself sick. One day when I had got back from work I noticed he chewed a huge hole right through his fleece bedding. Not long after, he threw up. The vomit looked like a black slime with blood in it and it sent me into a near heart attack, I thought he was going to die right there. Instead, he seemed to improve immediately; he was excited to play and eager to drink water. I decided not to feed him and send him to bed to see how he would progress in the morning.

    After waking up, he seemed to be completely normal and I set out trying to correct his chewing behavior while monitoring him closely. I switched out the toys in his cage, let him out to play, let him roam, and he seemed to be just fine as if nothing bad happened. He had a few bowel movements, they all looked normal. The chewing behavior did continue, so I would scruff him.

    Eventually he seemed to get the idea. He stopped chewing the bedding and playtime resumed until he and his brother got tired and decided to lay down for a nap. Then he started to obsessively groom his brother for several minutes on end. Upon inspecting his brother I noticed he has pulled some hair out. I feel like this was his way of circumventing scolding for chewing the fabric.

    I decided that maybe he needed food, and he seemed extremely eager to eat, until he reached the bowl. His brother was eating fine, but he avoided it. Some of the food got on the floor and he ate that up fine, but he wouldn't eat from the bowl. He will eat from my finger too. He drinks water from a bowl ok, and he didn't seem to have a problem eating from the bowl his first day, I'm unsure what to make of it. He has an appetite, but he just doesn't like the bowl.

    I'm unsure of what to make of all of this. I'm afraid of his chewing behavior, because I don't want to see him throw up like that again, or develop a blockage. I want to feed him, but he only wants to eat food off the floor, which is not an option since he seems to try to rip up the carpet as he's eating. I can't let him near his brother anymore because of the hair pulling. He has toys in his cage, he's allowed to free roam at least 4 hours on workdays, and all day on my days off. I play with him at least 4 hours a day or until he gets tired. He and his brother get food twice a day, and they have water available all day.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    PA USA
    Sorry I don't have personal experience with ferrets. Many years ago my mother-in-law had taken in a ferret who got along with her dog and cat but I don't believe she had any issues since this ferret was older. I was trying to search the internet and some tips from Dr. Foster and Smith:
    Do you have a vet in the area who has had ferrets as patients or other ferret owners who can offer advice?

  3. #3
    I have a friend who breeds and raises ferrets. He told me to see a vet immediately, but then changed his mind saying the vomit was nothing to be concerned about unless he were to do it again within a 24 hour period. He suggested what I thought was blood might have been undigested kibble, and the black was probably the fleece (which is dark gray in colour). So I have not contacted a vet yet.

    However, he said he didn't have advice on the ferrets behavior, and simply laughed it off, saying I should remove the ferrets bedding. I don't see that as an option though, because even without bedding there is still fabric for him to chew and his cage would be very bare and uncomfortable for him and his brother if I did. And now there's the issue with the bowl and the biting off of hair. Even if I were to remove the bedding he would probably develop other bad behaviors.

    As for trying things to alleviate the behaviors, I am attempting to get them a dig box, as well as a new cage. They don't like the cage they're in currently it seems. It's very big and they are unable to reach any of the hammocks, or hanging beds. The floor of the cage is a tall plastic bin, so theyre unable to reach any bowls on the side of the wiring. As a result they have been sleeping on the floor of the cage inside of a bunched up fleece blanket, eating and drinking from bowls I have set on the floor. It is a very stressful environment, one I'm not proud to have put them in. I'm hoping their new cage will help them de-stress and maybe alleviate the bad behavior. The new cage, however, along with accessories has run my wallet dry for two weeks, so I'll be unable to buy them new toys or even a dig box in the meantime.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    PA USA
    Thanks for the details and you are trying to work through it. It sounds like the new cage will be so much better for them. What are their names?

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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