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Ferrets/Scared Ferret


My ferret recently had the tramatic incident of choking on his food. We saved him, but he seems to be tramatized the the event. He still eats and drinks fine but does not play like he used to. He sometimes makes odd noises and acts afraid of us. I don't really have the money to keep taking him to the vet for tests, he is considered an exotic and cost more.

Hi Rebecca:

First, let me apologize because ai just now received your question!  You certainly deserved a reply long before this!  Because of all the AllExperts system problems, I started an online ferret group on Facebook called THUNDERING FERRET PAWS and there is always someone there, if not me then other experienced ferret owners who can usually help also.  I hope you will join us there so this never happens to you again.

Yes, ferrets are more expensive at the vet. We all have that same problem.  Is your ferret white or does he have white markings?  It sounds to me as if he MAY possibly be deaf.  Deaf ferrets startle rather easily.  Try making sure he sees your hand and approach him from the front before picking him up.  Ferrets who have white markings about the head, and many albino ferrets are deaf due to a gene in their breeding to create the white in their coats.  It is called Waardensburg a Syndrome.

The other possibility is that if you smacked him between the shoulder blades in attempting to save him from choking, he might have perceived it as you beating him, or actually abusing him and this has made him fear you.  The only way around that one is lots and lots of very gentle handling, kisses and playtime and in time he will forget  the incident. You might need to 're-program' his brain that you are his friend.  Just be gentle, loving, playful and give lots of kisses and I am sure he will eventually come around.

If you believe he is deaf, there is a lot of information online on how to communicate with deaf ferrets. They tend to be super intelligent and once the owner realizes the reason the ferret is skittish and finds non-verbal ways to communicate with the ferret, he will quickly learn (such as stomping your feet on the floor and he feels the vibrations to call him - you train by stomping your feet and offering a treat, then giving a tiny taste of a treat every time he comes when you stomp your feet (use TINY treat  amounts when training or they can easily get sick from too many treats, but a lick of Ferretone each time (mixture of 1/2 Ferretone and 1/2 olive oil is best so he does not overdose on the vitamins in Ferretone) works great for training.  There are a ton of other tricks for training deaf ferrets and also instructions on testing to see if your ferret is deaf at  If you do a search on 'deaf ferrets' or 'Waardensburg Syndrome in ferrets' you will find all kinds of stuff that will do everything from help you diagnose him yourself to how to train using vibrations and hand signals.

Hope that helps.  Again, i am so sorry you got such a late reply.  I was suddenly sent about 20 questions tonite, some dating back to November 2014!!   I hope to see you soon on THUNDERING FERRET PAWS on a Facebook, where you can ask me or other experienced ferret owners (many with deaf ferrets!) questions and get FAST answers :-)

Jacquie Rodgers


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Jacquie Rodgers


PLEASE READ ALL BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS... WHAT I CAN DO: Being a ferret owner for 20 years, I can answer questions re: general care, cage ideas & requirements, healthy foods and snacks, safety issues, ferretproofing play areas, common causes of intestinal blockages, appropriate housing, litterbox training, making bathtime fun, toys, games galore, outdoor trips, "Do`s and Don'ts, traveling w/ferrets by car or RV, safe environmental temperatures & keeping your ferret cool in summer (NOT A FAN!!), setting up a hospital cage, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), helicobacter (ulcers), adrenal disease symptoms & care,intestinal blockages, helping your ferret recover quickly/safely from surgery; common problems of ferret ownership, illnesses; care of sick or injured ferrets, hospice/palliative care, facing & coping with your ferret's death, choices that must be made when a ferret dies, memorializing your pet online and in your daily life. #1 TIP: FIND AN EXOTICS VET BEFORE YOU GET A VET...IF YOU WAIT, YOU MAY FIND YOU HAVE TO DRIVE UP TO 6-HRS TO GET TO A PROPER VET!..if you did not find one first, be WILLING to drive as far as possible for proper care. AND.... #2 TIP: FERRETS ARE EXPENSIVE TO FEED, HOUSE, VET & CARE FOR PROPERLY...IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD ONE/OR NOT READY TO SACRIFICE, PLEASE DON'T GET ONE!! A FERRET IS NOT LIKE HAVING A CAT OR DOG!! THEY REQUIRE MORE TIME, ENERGY, CARE AND MONEY to properly care for them. Prepare to spend up to $8,000-$10,000 OVER A FERRETS LIFETIME (6 to 8 years usually) FOR NECESSITIES & VET CARE. WHAT I CAN`T DO: I can`t take the place of your ferret vet; if your ferret appears sick,PLEASE have your ferret examined by a ferret vet .TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE FOR A SICK FERRET - PLEASE, IF IN DOUBT, GET THEM TO A VET! 24- hours of a ferret not eating/drinking may kill your ferret! NEVER FORCE FEED A SICK..he may choke. Sub-Q or IV fluids from your vet who is not eating WILL help save his life IF he gets it in time.


I have nursed ferrets through many illnesses, an injury, and a variety of diseases over the years.Ferrets are so very delicate, yet incredibly strong-willed; a well-loved ferret will fight courageously to live if given proper medical care, close monitoring, and especially lots of TLC.& LOVE. A ferret can entertain for hours on end when they know they are the center of attention; and they can make even the grumpiest person laugh. They do require a LOT of time, love and daily care, but the love you give a ferret always comes back to you tenfold OR MORE!! I dedicate the time I spend helping others here to my precious little ones who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge. They taught me how to laugh, to love unconditionally....and how to live each & every day to its fullest, and for that I am forever grateful.


Yuma Daily Sun (local newspaper) recognition for being an outstanding ferret mom and having incredibly well-trained ferrets. I am currently working on book of ferret care to share my experience. JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK:!/groups/thundering.ferret.paws/ for faster answers to your questions and input from other experienced ferret owners. Lots of past questions answered on that you can still reference by category. If you don't find your answer there, please submit it and I will be happy to help you :-)

I read everything I can get my hands on regarding ferrets, I learn from my great Exotics Vet, and my own experience and interactions with other ferret owners. I am writing a book on ferret care (Great Need for a CORRECT one!) never rely on a ferret book OR a website when your ferret is sick. I can help with suggestions to use IN CONJUNCTION with proper care by your exotics specialist vet (ASK when you call for an appointment whether or NOT your vet has EXPERIENCE in working with EXOTICS..if not, move on and continue to seek one. The wrong vet can KILL your ferret. I learned this early when my ferret hurt his front paw jumping off the couch...a vet, NOT EXOTICS SPECIALIST couln't handle ferret properly because he was afraid of the ferret...and ended up xraying THE WRONGBARM, telling me it was not hurt. I took xray & ferret to EXOTICS SPECIALIST VET 3-hrs away & found out the arm WAS BROKEN & wrong arm had been xrayed. THAT is how important it is to have a PROPERLY TRAINED VET FOR YOUR FERRET!

Awards and Honors
WANT TO BE A FERRET EXPERT? I serve as the resident "guru" for this category. IF YOU WISH TO VOLUNTEER IN THE FERRET CATEGORY, please email me at and request an application. All volunteers must complete a general ferret information questionaire to be a volunteer in this category. Thanks for your cooperation :-)

Past/Present Clients
I try to educate anyone who is interested in ferrets, as I take my ferrets with me in public a lot. There is a lot of MISinformation out there about ferrets that needs to be dispelled with fact, and ferret owners who need to be keep abreast of the latest and best information. FACEBOOK FERRET GROUP (OPEN): THUNDERING FERRET PAWS - Join us as we all share our pictures, stories & experience!! :-)

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