Why Does My Ferret Lick Me

Ferrets, like many other animals, show affection by licking each other. Your pet might try to spoil you as well, especially if you two have managed to form a close bond. It can also obviously happen if your hand smells or tastes like food, which is usually the case after you handled food and forgot to wash properly. Ferrets can’t speak so they try their best to communicate with you in the only ways they know how.

Affectionate ferret on owners shoulder
Source: Adobe Stock

In this article, we’ll talk about a ferret’s tendency to occasionally lick its owner and what it means.

Why Does My Ferret Lick Me – Top Reasons Why That Can Happen

Ferrets use what they have to try and communicate with you as best as they can. They show emotion by various behaviors and some might take a bit to understand. Every ferret is different so make sure you’re interpreting the signs right. If it’s angry and keeps biting the cage bars, it might mean that it’s sick and wants your attention, not just to get out to play. The same thing goes with licking you. They have their reasons and you should try to understand them.

One thing you should keep in mind is that ferrets are very clean animals. Their smell is simply from their coat oils or anal glands and it’s very important to them for marking their territory. But other than that, they are very clean. Unlike cats, they won’t even keep pooping in the same litter tray if it’s too full. This is why constant cleaning is something you have to get used to.

When a ferret licks, it might think you’re dirty on that spot and chooses to it upon itself to groom you. They groom each other all the time. You might have accidentally taught it to lick you if it wants a few pats on the head as well. It can happen when you find the licking as a sweet gesture and you pet their head to thank them without paying much attention. They are extremely intelligent and will realize what it needs to do to get the attention they want.

Ferrets also love salts and our skin is sometimes salty. Try washing your hands if it keeps bothering you. But you should keep in mind that it could be because of the lotion you’re wearing as well. They might either really love how it tastes, which is bad and you shouldn’t let them lick too much, or they can find it annoying and they’re trying to get it off you.

These little balls of fur also have a game of “lick-lick-chomp” which means that it will try to mess with you by gaining your trust and licking you, then immediately bite you. This can also be a cry for attention, especially if it doesn’t have a partner to play around with all day.

They might also lick your hair if you recently changed your shampoo and they don’t seem to like it. There are numerous reasons why a ferret can lick you and it all depends on what kind of bond you have with it.

How About When It Licks Itself?

As mentioned before, ferrets are very big about grooming. They like keeping themselves clean and will spend quite a long time grooming each other. If you let your ferret outside, it might try to clean itself from fleas or other things that it picked on while being outside. Fleas cause them to itch a lot around the shoulders, where it’s easier to see them. If your ferret has fleas, you will quickly notice some red patches and you need to be ready to get rid of all the new occupants. A good bath with a flea killer should be all you need.

Your ferret will also try to lick any area that itches in hopes that will go away, even if the itching is an allergy caused by inappropriate or old food and water. It’s very important to pinpoint the cause of the allergy as they can get one from the carpet as well.

Cats lick themselves after a bath to get rid of all the water and dry themselves up. However, ferrets do it because of how itchy they become soon after the bath. This is because baths strip them of their natural oils which help keep the skin healthy and the coat shiny.

You will quickly notice that the first days after a bath, the ferret smells a lot worse. This is because its body panics and tries to secrete as much oil as possible to make up for the one lost.

Until the oils are back into the ferret’s coat and on the skin, it can become very itchy and dry, which is why they lick themselves to try and get rid of all that pain. Oatmeal shampoos followed by a cream rinse is the best way to bathe your ferret.

Don’t let your ferret lick itself if it has a wound. It may try to get rid of all the treatment it sees there and make the pain more acceptable. Keep the wound wrapped up and try to stop the ferret from tearing at it as much as you can.

If your ferret keeps licking itself excessively and you can’t figure out why take it to the vet and find out if there’s anything more than just over-grooming to it.