"Ferrets and Their Need for Companionship
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"Ferrets and Their Need for Companionship

Ferrets are by nature very sociable little characters, they enjoy the company of another ferret or to live in groups where possible which they do in the wild. However, not all pet ferrets like the company preferring to be on their own. They can also be a little funny with other animals which includes both dogs and cats. Although a lot smaller, a ferret will see off a cat or a dog which means you have to keep an eye on them when other animals are around.

Although most ferrets enjoy the company of other ferrets, they still like to have their own “space” which means if you have two indoor pets, it's best to create separate environments for them to live in. Where groups are concerned, it's important they have enough room in an environment or you may find they start fighting over territories, but it's also essential that ferrets be very carefully matched before being put together in order to avoid serious injuries. With this said, there are several factors that often dictate how ferrets may interact with each other which includes the following:

  • Genetics can play a key role on a ferret's nature and personality
  • The size of their housing will have an impact on how they interact with each other
  • The number of ferrets in a group will have a bearing on how they cope with each other
  • Previous experiences will have a bearing on how they interact with other ferrets

It's really important to introduce ferrets to each other carefully and these introductions have to be well supervised because if a fight breaks out they might injure each other which could result in an expensive trip to the vet and very unhappy and wounded pets.

Setting up Two Cages is a Great Option

If you have two ferrets that you keep as indoor pets and they generally get on pretty well together, but occasionally a fight breaks out, there's no reason why you can't set up two separate environments for them to live in. It means each of your pets has their own “space” during the day when they are typically tucked away in a cosy pouch or soft bedding sleeping the daylight hours away.

You can let both ferrets out when you are at home so they get to stretch their legs, interact with one another keeping you amused with their silly antics for hours. As long as ferrets have plenty of room to get away from each other there is less chance of a fight happening. You may find they play very nicely together around your living room floor, but if they don't it's easy for a less dominant ferret to get away to another part of the room or allowed to run around in different “ferret-proofed” room altogether.

Ferrets Kept in Groups

As previously mentioned, ferrets can quite happily live in groups but only if they have been carefully introduced and matched first. You may find they bicker a lot, but this is not usually something you have to be unduly worried about. These little arguments are more than likely over a tasty treat or morsel. With this said, it's important to recognise when “things” are okay and when they are not. There's a distinct difference between play fighting, bickering and out and out war where ferrets are concerned.

The trouble really happens when one ferret manages to corner another one and because the more subservient ferret can't get away, a pretty vicious fight might well ensue. Most ferrets will sort out a pecking order and will eventually get on with one another, but sadly this doesn't always happen with one or more of them getting injured if things escalate too much.

Play Fighting is Fine

Ferrets are real comedians and love to frolic around when they wake up in the evening. Play fighting can be extremely amusing to watch. They dance around each other, hissing and arching their backs, it involves rolling around together and biting at one another with lots of pouncing and nipping to boot, but nobody ends up getting hurt!

Dominance

Sometimes a play fight might escalate to something that often looks a little more serious, but in actual fact is just one ferret's way of making sure everyone knows who is “boss. This type of dominance fighting is their way of establishing they are the “alpha ferret” in the household. The dominant character will intimidate another one by fluffing up their fur and then hissing at them. They will bump them while at the same time shoving and screaming at them. It can all be quite frightening, but in actual fact, this display of dominance is “performed” so that there's less chance of anyone getting injured.

It's a ferret's way of proving they should be “top dog” and that they are stronger which in ferret talk means “don’t mess with them”. Very often the more dominant ferret will drag the “loser” around the floor by their necks which results in quite a bit of loud screeching, but more often than not this is not because the one being dragged is in pain, but rather they scream out of indignation. Although, dominance fighting might get you worried, it does not normally end up with the less dominant ferret getting seriously injured, but you still need to keep an eye on things, just in case.

Get Me Out of Here Fighting

If a less dominant ferret cannot get away, there is a good chance they will bite the more dominant character first and then quickly run away. However, this typically leads to them being chased. Although, running away is always a ferret's first option, if they can't put any distance between their aggressor, they will turn and stand their ground. This is when injuries might happen which means you need to separate the pair quickly and safely to avoid them being hurt.

Get Lost Fighting

When a dominant ferret wants to get rid of another one forever, the fighting that ensues can be very dramatic and quite aggressive. The focus of an attack would be around the neck and face although wounds are seldom life threatening, you still need to treat them with a veterinary antibiotic cream and one that's specifically formulated for use on ferrets prescribed by a vet.

Conclusion

In general ferrets love the company of another ferret, but this is not always the case which is why if you do decide to get another pet, you need to introduce them to each other very carefully. If you can afford to set up two separate environments for them to live, but where they can still see each other all the better. You can let them out together when you are at home keeping an eye on how their interact and if all is well, they will frolic and play fight keeping you amused for hours.

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