Do you want to add another ferret to your family?
How can you introduce two ferrets without trouble?
Introducing two ferrets is my topic for today. I will explain everything you need to know about ferret interaction with one another. Can you introduce a new ferret to your old one and what are the things you should consider? Is this an easy task or not? These are only a couple of questions I will answer in this post, so let’s start.
Can You Have Two Ferrets Together?
Yes, you can put two ferrets together. You can even put more than two ferrets together. Ferrets are social animals and they love company. That is why there are so many pictures of ferrets cuddling next to each other online.
Are Ferrets Be Kept In Pairs?
You can easily keep ferrets in pairs, no matter if we are talking about the same gender or the opposite. If ferrets get along, they will get along no matter the gender.
But, generally speaking, opposite gender ferrets are usually getting along better than same-gender ferrets. Female ferrets are more challenging to introduce than male ferrets. Males are usually more laid back and relaxed.
Introducing Two Ferrets
There are two possible situations you can encounter before ferret introduction.
Unfamiliar ferret is if a lone ferret that hasn’t had a chance to meet another ferret since he was a kit. That situation is familiar to people who don’t have many ferrets around them, new owners, and people who want to adopt just one ferret.
A familiar ferret is a ferret that has met different ferrets in his life, probably lived with them but, life happened and he is now alone. That situation is familiar to people who have ferrets around them, new owners, experienced owners who have ferrets, and people who want to adopt a ferret but already have one or more.
Which One Is More Challenging?
Depends on the ferret personality. But, generally speaking, it is more challenging to introduce two ferrets if one of the ferrets doesn’t have experience. In that situation, you don’t know how will both ferrets act, not just one – the one you plan to bring home.
You can tell how the introduction will be with a ferret who has had a companion because you have seen him interact with other ferrets.
Should I Get Another Ferret For My Ferret?
If you already have a ferret who has had a companion but was left alone, then you should get another ferret. Especially if those two you had were close. A new ferret will mean comfort to your ferret because he isn’t used to being alone.
If you have a ferret who didn’t meet other ferrets then you can bring another ferret home. That can only be a positive thing for your ferret, meeting another ferret.
You have got another ferret but don’t introduce him to your ferret yet. Keep him in the other room for at least a week so you can be sure he is 100% healthy and make sure the ferret doesn’t have fleas. If it has, get rid of them first. How to do that? Read in my post about ferret flea treatments.
Where Should I Introduce Two Ferrets?
The best solution is to do it on neutral ground, not on your ferret’s territory. Ferrets are territorial animals and they may think that another ferret is trespassing so they will not welcome him with open paws. You can do that in another room of your home, preferably once where no ferret has entered. That way both ferrets will be in the unknown area so no one will trespass on others’ territory.
If you have a friend with ferrets, you can try to organize a playdate. A new territory is a great distraction for your ferrets and they won’t meet just one ferret, they will meet more. The third option is to do it outside, but make sure all your ferrets are on a leash. Also, make sure it is not too cold or too hot. Rainy and snowy days are not an option either. – I wouldn’t recommend this option so I have put it as the last resort.
Prepare The Surroundings
If you can, remove as much furniture and tunnels as you can. When your ferrets start to fight (they probably will) you can quickly catch them and separate them. Otherwise, they can run under the bed or in the tunnel and you won’t be able to separate them.
Switch The Beddings
Now that you know the other ferret is healthy and flea-free, you can switch their beddings so they get used to the smell. That way they will get used to the smell and it won’t hit them for the first time during the introduction.
How To Introduce Two Ferrets?
Introducing two ferrets can have different outcomes. They can ignore each other, play, fight and fight to the blood. Of course, the first option is the best one, but what if it doesn’t happen. How can you tell when it is OK to continue the introduction and where you should stop it?
Poop, Smell & Blood
If there is poop or smell, you can continue the introduction. Fights like these are a normal way of establishing dominance, but they aren’t a rule. Introducing two ferrets can be without a fight too.
If besides smell or poop you see blood too, then you have to stop the introduction. Let them have a break because that is stressful for at least one of them. If they are aggressive, make their introduction short, about 10 to 15 minutes, and repeat every few hours.
If they are biting but there is no blood/poop you don’t have to separate them because they are probably just playing. If bitten ferret comes back to your bully ferret, that means they are just playing ruff, not hurting each other.
How To Separate Fighting Ferrets?
On the other hand, what if ferrets won’t stop biting to blood? There are a few options you can do to make that introduction as smooth as possible. All options are good, but they don’t work 100% on every ferret. Some will work on your ferrets, others won’t. The good thing is that there are many methods so you can try until you find one that works.
Choose one option and try it for a few days. Don’t give up if the option you chose didn’t work immediately. These things take time so have patience.
OPTION 1: Use A Treat As Distraction
If one of your ferrets bites another on the same spot every time, try to put some oil or paste (whatever you have) he likes to lick on that spot. When your ferret comes near a new ferret with an intention to bite him AGAIN, he’ll smell that and start to lick instead of bite.
OPTION 2: Scruff and Hiss
You can always pretend to be his mother when he starts to bite another ferret, pick him up by the scruff of the neck and hiss at him. When they were little, their mother corrected them by hissing and grabbing. You can shake them but really gently!
OPTION 3: Time-out
For more stubborn ferrets there is always a time-out solution. The moment he starts to give biting treatment to other ferret take him and put him in the box for 3 minutes. Use a box you don’t normally use for a ferret. Don’t use a cage or transporter because your ferret might connect those to the punishment.
OPTION 4: Bath
Bathe your ferrets together. Their smell will be the same and if they don’t like water they can bond over the misfortunate action you are putting them through. They will be angry at you (for a while) but they will be angry together. A bath will be one thing that can bring them close. Bathing ferrets isn’t recommended too often. How to do it and when read in my post about ferrets and bath.
OPTION 5: Spray With Water
To make this other method work you need a bottle with spray and water. When ferrets start to fight, spray them with water. They will stop and look at you surprised. If they hate water this is the option to make them stop.
No matter which option you choose, make sure that both ferrets are OK. Don’t force their introduction if they are fighting too hard. Have patience and eventually they will learn to live with each other.
What If They Hate Each Other?
Don’t despair if you have ferrets that hate each other. That is also a possibility, just like with cats, dogs, even humans. If that happens, keep them in separate cages and try to let them out in the same time. If they fight then let them be, but don’t put them in the same cage.
If they hate each other that much they will fight the moment they see each other, you will have to let them out of the cage at different times.
My Two Ferrets Introduction
The first day Frida was mean to Yoda, she was biting him hard, there were poop and his skin was reddish (no blood) and she was charging towards him. The only time she was calm was when I held both of them in my hands.
That day I tried the option with paste on Yoda’s back, it worked only when the paste was fresh. I had short sessions with them about 3 times and every time Frida was biting very hard. Every session lasted about 15 minutes and every session she made him poop. When she was alone, she was normal, the same as Yoda.
The second day went better. The moment I let them out of the cages, I could see that Frida was better. She didn’t charge at Yoda, but she did bite. A lot. This time without poop. I decided to use method number 5 and that was a great decision!
Frida really doesn’t like water (or getting wet) so the first time she attacked Yoda I sprayed her, she was really surprised. The moment I saw in her walk that she is preparing to attack Yoda I sprayed her. Then, she relaxed.
Few times she tried to bite him Yoda fought back which showed Frida she needs to back off a little. That was the moment she went from looking at Yoda as prey to looking like a potential friend. On the second day, they started to play and I was so proud of them!
The third day went great, I had to interfere 5 times through the entire day and the rest was just playing. They aren’t sharing a water bowl and they aren’t sleeping together but they do play, almost all the time. I had my finger on the water bottle the entire day, prepared to jump and spray, but they were really good.
On the fourth day of our bonding period, I can say that they are good friends. They are playing I didn’t have to use my weapon once, they are chasing each other, wrestling and all I can hear is DOOK DOOK! through the entire room.
Yoda entered Frida’s cage, she was looking at him, hissing and he just went out. Important thing is that they understand each other. I am still monitoring them but without my weapon and I can proudly say that our bonding is almost over!
How Did I Feel?
Now, about us humans. I think that all this bonding process was more stressful for me than for Frida and Yoda.
The first day, when Frida start attacking Yoda it crossed my mind that they may never get along. Their fights look so aggressive to us, but they are not. Their normal behavior is to drag each other and bite and for us that looks too ruff.
Can Two Ferrets Live In The Same Cage?
Yes, if two ferrets get along they will live in the same cage. You can have two separate cages, but you will find them sleeping together curled up somewhere in the room. So, if they get along you can easily put them in the same cage, but make sure it is big enough. You can learn all about cages in my post How to pick the best ferret cage.
Do You Have More Ferrets?
If you have more than 2 ferrets introduce your new ferret with your business one at a time. First, introduce him to the calmest ferret in the group. When they introduce, send another who is higher in their hierarchy and then another, all the way to the top. Use the calmest one as a buffer so if they get along, probably others will too.
All I can say for all of you that patience is really the best solution. If it doesn’t work with methods 1,2,3, it will work with 4. All you have to remember that bonding two ferrets can take time, from days to weeks, even months. Just have patience and everything will work out. Don’t let your ferrets be unsupervised until you can see them sleeping together and grooming each other. When that happens, you know that they will be friends forever!