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Ferret Vocalization: Noises and What They Mean

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Ferret Vocalizations: Noises and What they Mean
Some ferrets will go their whole lives making only a few noises, and other ferrets are very vocal. There are a number of different noises that ferrets make, and they can all mean different things. With this guide to ferret noises and sounds, you'll always know what your ferret is trying to tell you!

A "dook" is the most well-known ferret noise, and it's a sound that you will hear when your ferret is excited, playful, and happy. It sounds somewhat like a cross between a chuckle and a chattering noise. Some ferrets dook very softly or not at all, while others dook almost constantly when jumping around playing with you or his ferret friends. If your ferret dooks at you while jumping back and forth in front of you, he's trying to get you to play with him.

A hiss means different things depending on what the ferret is doing at the time. Some ferrets hiss regularly, and it's just their way of talking. In most cases, however, ferrets indicate that they are annoyed, by hissing. It's a warning, their way of telling someone to "back off," whether they're hissing at a person or another ferret. You may see two ferrets playing until one starts hissing. The hissing ferret is probably telling the other ferret that he has had enough.

Squeaking & Screeching
Many ferrets will squeak and screech while they play, and it doesn't always mean that they're losing the fight! Some vocal ferrets will jump on another ferret while squeaking or screeching. However, in some cases it does mean that the ferret vocalizing is the one losing and he is upset. As you get to know your ferrets, you will learn which are vocal and which will only make noise when they are angry or upset about something, and you can act on their noises accordingly.

Whining & Whimpering
A ferret that whines or whimpers is generally in some kind of discomfort, pain, or he is frightened. It is not a normal noise, and if you hear it, you need to investigate. If he is whimpering because of pain and it continues, you should contact your veterinarian. If he is making these noises while going to the bathroom, schedule a veterinary appointment immediately, as this can indicate a blockage.

When a ferret screams, it's never a good thing! A scream is generally a reaction to extreme pain or fear. In some cases, he may make it when he's extremely angry as well. Locate your ferret and find out what caused him to scream immediately - he may need your help.

This guide will help indicate your ferret's mood and communication.

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