It’s important to learn a ferret’s language as soon as you bring the animal home. Some can be quite chatty while others only vocalize when they’re trying to say something important. You should also learn their body language as that’s their main way of communicating.
In this article, we’ll talk about ferret noises and what they mean so you can understand your little furry friend a little better.
Types of ferret noises
There are quite a few noises a ferret can make. They can “bark” similar to the way a dog does and hiss almost exactly like a cat. Some noises are made to express excitement while others are used to let you know they are in pain. You should be able to figure out what they’re trying to tell you by looking at their body language as well.
If your ferret starts making a new noise out of a sudden you should contact the vet just to be sure there’s nothing to worry about. Some ferrets start screaming in their sleep when they’re having a seizure so it’s better to go to a pointless vet visit than ignore something that could harm your pet.
Ferret Dooking – What is it?
The most common noise can be heard when ferrets are playing and it’s called “dooking”. It’s a noise very similar to a chicken clocking or chuckling. Generally, they’re using this noise to let you and other ferrets know it’s playtime. If you have two or a whole business of ferrets, you might be already very familiar with this sound. They always make it while they wrestle.
Many people in the ferret community refer to this noise as “ferret babble”. But you should keep in mind that all ferrets are different and yours might not make the same noises as other ferrets.
Similar to dogs, ferrets “bark” as a warning signal. They typically bark when they get stuck somewhere and they feel vulnerable and trapped. But some ferrets use barking to show how excited they are as well. You just have to read the environment to understand 100% what your ferret is saying.
Bath time is another situation in which you might find your ferret barking if they don’t like baths. They will either bark at you when they realize you’re about to place them in the water or to try to let you know the water is too cold. Removing the food bowl before they’re done eating can also make them bark.
Similar to cats, ferrets use hissing as a warning noise. It’s not exactly like a cat’s hiss, it’s more of a mix between “hee hee” and “chattering”. This can happen when the ferret is pissed off and wants to be left alone, or simply because he is upset, confused, or overstimulated.
Don’t panic when you hear the ferret hissing as it’s a very normal sound to make. The hissing can be long and continuous or it may come in short spats.
Unlike the dooking noise, which is adorable to hear, the screeching is very high-pitched and it’s a sound made in hell. Ferrets use this intimidating sound when they are angry and are trying to attack something, but they can also use it when they are in a lot of pain or very frightened. Along with this noise, you will also notice the puffed tail and the arched back.
If a ferret starts screeching while playing with other ferrets, you should immediately rescue it and calm it down. This is why supervising during playtime is important. Ferrets can bully each other and they’re quite aggressive. If the ferret is scared and in full defense mode, approach with caution and make no sudden movements.
Sneezing is pretty normal as well, especially if it only happens occasionally. Ferrets have very sensitive noses and an amazing sense of smell. This can make them sensitive to a wide range of smells. You can hear them sneezing a lot when they enter a room someone used perfume in.
It becomes concerning when the ferret keeps sneezing all the time. This can be a sign that you used a washing detergent with fragrance for its hammock or that it has a respiratory infection.
Whining (or wheezing) is very concerning and you need to take your pet to the vet as fast as possible. The ferret can have a respiratory problem or be in pain because of other issues. You should only go to an exotic vet as they are specifically trained in taking care of exotic animals. Typical dog and cat vets are not as experienced when it comes to unusual pets but they’re still a good option if the exotic vet is too far or can’t be reached.
A vet consultation should include listening to the ferret’s heart and lungs and check for parasites in the pet’s abdomen.
Ferrets tend to snore quite a bit as their noses are sensitive and anything can cause them to have a minor breathing problem. But if the snoring is out of control and unexpected, a visit to the vet is recommended. You should record the worst snoring episodes if you can so the vet can listen to the recording.
Typically, snoring is perfectly normal and is very adorable to listen to, especially when the ferret falls asleep in your arms.
If you notice that your ferret started grinding its teeth, you should run to the vet. While some ferrets only grind their teeth when they are under a bit of stress, they usually do it when they are in pain. More than that, teeth grinding is a very big sign of diminishing health. Their teeth are very sensitive and need brushing pretty much every single day.
Teeth grinding can come from a chronic stomach problem as well and it can be a very serious condition. Take the ferret to the vet before its health becomes worse and worse.
How do I stop a ferret from making noise?
Stopping a ferret from making a specific noise requires you to understand why the ferret is making that noise in the first place. Ferrets don’t vocalize just because they have nothing better to do. If they’re screeching out of fear, find what frightens the ferret and dispose of it.
If the ferret is continuously making a worrying noise, it might be in the middle of a seizure and you need to pet it and try to calm it down while calling the vet.