Rucus Replies : ferret behaviour

Two is company, five is even better
Tail wagging
Drinking of urine
War Dance & Playing

Two is company, five is even better

Dear Rucus,

Why are five ferrets crammed into the small sleep sack meant for one ferret, when there is only one ferret asleep in the large sleep sack meant for five?  

Love, Dianne.

Dear Dianne,

To understand the answer to this question would take a thorough understanding of quantum physics as well as the space/time linear theory. Suffice it to say that ferrets understand these things and leave it at that, shall we?

Love, Dooks and E=mc2

Tail wagging

Dear Rucus,

One of my ferrets wags his tail sometimes. I don't remember any of my other ferrets doing it. Do ferrets wag their tails? Shep wags his tail when I pick him up or he is happy to see me.  

Regards, Stephen Thompson.

Dear Stephen,

Ferret tails are wonderful things and some ferrets are real tail-waggers. When highly excited, our tails can vibrate at a great rate of knots. My Mum sees it most when we are all playing in the see-through tunnels. We sometimes see it too, when we all gang up on the cats and want to make them run and jump onto places we can't reach. If we tease the cats too much though, they wack us on the head with their paws and make our tails turn into bottle brushes, so we pretend we're not interested and go and play another game.

At this time of the year some ferrets have rather bald tails. This is because they have been a bit too hot over summer and the hair falls out. But don't worry, when the weather cools down and their winter coat begins to grow, so will the hair on their wonderful tails.

Tail-Wags and Dooks from Rucus.  

Drinking of Urine

Dear Rucus,
My name is Pip Squick and I live with my much bigger brother Sniffels. My Mom is very worried about me; she thinks there is something wrong because I keep drinking my pee. She told me she had read the article about Gus and his love for soap, so she was wondering if it had anything to do with diet. My other toilets are okay and I eat well. I also play lots so I think I'm fine. Can you please let Mum know what's wrong.
Worried Pip Squick.

Dear Pip Squick,
Stop worrying! I don't exactly know why you drink your pee, but I do know of a few ferrets that do have this habit and come to no harm. It appears to be a "comfort thing". Perhaps the smell of the pee reminds you of your mother or sibling or something. If your Mum wants to break you of this habit, it may be a bit difficult. She could try distracting you with a game or a special treat like "Nutrigel" (available from Ferret Necessities), whenever she sees you doing it, but I'm not sure if this will work. In the meantime, your Mum can take comfort from the fact that you are otherwise very well and that there a lot worse habits that a ferret can have.

Dooks from Rucus who prefers milk.  


Dear Rucus,

My ferret, Ivory, just vomited after a big dinner and a lot of running around. Should I be worried?
Love from Ivory's Mum.

Dear Ivory's Mum,

Ferrets rarely vomit, thank goodness, but a once only event after a big meal and big play may not be anything to worry about. However, do keep watching Ivory carefully for the next few days to make sure that she is eating, weeing and pooing o.k. Intestinal blockages are always a concern, and if you suspect that ivory is not well at all, take her straight to the vet. With ferrets you sometimes don't have a lot of time before their condition worsens beyond help.

Love and Dooks from Rucus.


Dear Rucus,

I am at my wits end; No matter how hard I try to stop her, "Werrity" has scratched her way through the carpet to the concrete in front of the upstairs bedroom and I have had to "mow" the carpet in an effort to make it look presentable. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Michelle,

I would have to take a bet here that you were keeping the bedroom door closed to keep Werrity out! Unfortunately, because us ferrets are soooo inquisitive (nosey), we absolutely must find out what is behind any door, open or closed, and will use any method we can to do so. I'm afraid, 'cos us ferrets just hate closed doors, the only way any of my Mum's friends have been able to do away with "mowing" their carpets is to replace them with hard tiles or wooden floors.

Luckily our mums love us,  

Dooks from Rucus.  

Note: you could also buy a plastic hall runner or a small piece of vinyl flooring and slide it under the door, covering an area about 20cm out from the door, securing it to the skirting (so the door can still open over it). This will protect the carpet underneath.  

War Dancing & Playing

Dear Rucus,

I have a new ferret called "Bilbo". At least once a day he has a type of fit and jumps up and down. Sometimes he bumps into the wall and he even falls off the lounge. He lunges after me so that I get frightened and run away. During his fit, he often goes backwards with his mouth open, waving his head from side to side.
I took him to the vet, but because "Bilbo" didn't have a fit while we were there, the vet couldn't find anything wrong with him.
"Bilbo" is eating, drinking and going to the toilet normally and I don't use any poisons in the house for cleaning or killing insects.
Do you think he could have a brain tumour?
Love from Bilbo's Mum.  

Dear Bilbo's Mum,
No, I don't think "Bilbo" has a brain tumour, or is even having a fit.
What "Bilbo" is doing, is PLAYING. Not only that, he is inviting you to join in the fun.
The symptoms you describe are normal for a healthy ferret and are commonly called the "Weasel War Dance". If you don't think that term is politically correct, you could call it that "Dance of Joy". This is a time when a ferret is feeling very playful and wants to let off steam and is often accompanied by a clucking sound called dooking. When this is happening, it's a good time to offer "Bilbo" toys to play with, give him rides on a towel dragged along the floor, open a plastic shopping bag for him to get into, or, best of all, get him another ferret to play with!
Some of the people on the Committee have had a lot of phone calls from worried first-time ferret owners who see a Weasel War Dance for the first time and don't know what it is, so don't feel alone.

Love, Dooks and Happy Dances
From Rucus.