Ferret Noises

Jul 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Behavior, Featured Articles

Ferrets general aren’t too noisy. So they make great apartment pets or for anyone who likes a quieter pet than say a barking dog. But they do have a few noises and after getting to know them, you’ll learn to discern what each noise means. Here’s a little guidance to help you figure them out:

Clucking or “Dooking”

This is my favorite sound they make. Generally, it indicates that they are excited or happy. It’s often coupled with the Weasel War Dance or maybe just checking out a new area. They also make this sound when they are playing with their ferret friend(s) or their favorite human.

Whimper or Whining

This is a sound you most often hear from kits when they are overwhelmed or excited. We would also hear it from the newbie when they lost a wrestling match with established dominant ferret. No need to intervene, they will work it out!

Screaming or Screeching

This is your cue to intervene. Most often, they only make this noise when they are hurt or extremely frightened. Some ferrets will live their entire life and never make the horrible noise. We only heard it a few times and it is quite startling. If your ferret makes this sound, quickly step in and rescue him from whatever is scaring or hurting him.


A ferret hiss is quite different from a cat hiss. Usually it means they are angry or simply frustrated by the situation they find themselves in. They will frequently hiss while in a play battle with other ferrets. It doesn’t mean you need to help them, just be aware of their state of mind and be cautious when handling an angry ferret. Sometimes I bite too when I’m angry!

Hopefully these descriptions will help you decipher your fuzzy’s language. Ferrets (like humans) are always happier when they are understood.  I’d love to hear your ferret experiences below!

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  1. My ferret whines in his sleep sometimes. Usually this wakes me up at night and I end up petting him a bit so he can go back to sleep peacefully. Poor Ricky! I hate it when he has little ferret nightmares. :(

  2. My ferret Julio is a 3 month old little boy and he has a fixation for a pair of mary jane flats i have, hes always nibling on the strap part and whenever i pull away and say “No Julio” he hisses…Do you think hes just frustrated that i pull my shoe/his toy away? Its the only time he hisses, he doesnt mind when i pull my vans away…hmm strange.
    I also wonder about the nipping, it only gets out of hand when we play rough or when he gets tired and cranky (i put him in his hammock and he falls right asleep) but with the roughplay ill scruff him and say NO quite firmly. Is it confusing to him that i let him nip me soflty and then punish him when he nips harder? should i just not allow any sort of nipping? Or will he eventually lear to gauge just how much nipping ill tolerate from him? Thanks a bunch!

  3. Hey I love ferrets! My neighbor just got a ferret and he is so cute. His name is Rebel! I keep looking up websites to find more information on ferrets to help them out

  4. I have a ferret that is making this horrible screeching noise. I have checked on him alot and he is not getting into anything. he keeps making this noise and I am afraid that he is dying. Has anyone else had this issue and if so what is some good advise?

  5. hi, i have just brought a ferret she is very cute and soft ,but when my 4 year old daughter put her hand near it she bit her ,the ferret is 7 weeks old and already making noises that i dont understand ???
    i like the ferret even tho she smells quiet alot !! does anyone no how to stop the ferret biting and how do i get rid of that over powering smell that she has thank you all very much !!!

  6. Hi Leanne,
    My guess is that your young ferret is just not used to the way your 4 year old acts around her and handles her. The biting is normal if it’s playful, but if it’s getting aggressive then you have two options:
    1) ignore the behaviour, so either put them in their cage alone as soon as they do it and ignore them for awhile
    2) punish the behaviour, when they bite out of aggression or if they bite very hard when playing you can either scruff them and say “no!” firmly, or turn them on their back and say “no!”
    I have had the most success with my ferret who had a biting problem by turning her on her back and saying no, but for a baby ferret the attention method may work better. It’s really whatever works for you and some ferrets nip playfully and harmlessly for their whole life.

    As for the smell… ferrets just smell. Fortunately there are a few things you can do. You can bath them, BUT you can’t do it too often. Once a month is as much as I do it, but every couple of weeks is probably okay. You just don’t want to remove the essential oils from their skin. Another thing you can use is called “daily spritz”… i think ‘marshall’ or someone makes it, basically just a spray to freshen up the smell of your ferret and it’s made specifically for ferrets. Another way to keep the smell down is to wash all the blankets in the cage regularly and pick out litter a couple of times a day (assuming that your ferret is already trained to use the litter box). Oh and I think there are certain things that you can avoid feeding them (mostly stuff they shouldn’t be fed anyways) like fish, that can make them produce a stronger “ferret stench”.

    I hope this was some help but also look around online for ferret sites, there are so many out there. There are also a ton of good books (the ferrets for dummies book is really good). You and your daughter will have a best friend in no time.

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