Does your ferret bite during play? Nipping or play biting is natural when ferrets play together, especially among young kits. But when playing with humans (who have thinner skin), they don’t realize it can hurt.

Ferrets bite for various reasons: out of fear, to get attention, to initiate play or because they’re not socialized. It’s your job to train your ferret out of biting and socialization, good training and consistency are key. Use one or more of these methods to train your little friend.

Scruffing

This is the easiest way to show your displeasure. Pick him up by the scruff or skin on the back of the neck and say “no” firmly. This is how mother ferrets pick up their babies and it will show your dominance. There are few nerve endings in this area, but you should still be firm and gentle.

Distract with a Substitute

Another method is to use a toy to distract him when he starts biting. Get him to bite or wrestle the toy instead and help him learn the difference between toys and your fingers. A young kit will almost always bite while playing, but you can show him not to bite unless he’s just mouthing your skin or lightly nipping it.

Training Aids

Sprays of bitter apple and other training aids might also keep him from biting. You can spray a little on your hand (be sure not to get it near your mouth) and also on any furniture you want to protect. Never spray it on your ferret.

Time Out

If he continues to bite, scruff him firmly and place him in his carrier or somewhere fairly boring (not his regular cage) for a short 5 minute time out and then try again. Kits, especially, hate time out, so this may be the cure.

After a couple of weeks, your ferret should realize your hands aren’t play toys and biting them could mean losing playtime with you. For all your ferret care needs, visit your Pet Supermarket store!