Common Ferret Noises and Their Meanings Explained

Ferret lying in bed

This little critter is chatty, and there are different ferret noises all pet parents need to understand. Ferrets enjoy communicating with owners, and there are a few key noises this small pet uses to get his point across. Ferrets also use body language to communicate, but these pets are mostly quiet.

Ferret Noises

What is your ferret trying to tell you? Ferrets use vocalizations and subtle noises to send signals to you and other ferrets. Playtime is when you may hear the majority of the noises, but every ferret is an individual. Understanding ferret language is essential.

The Dook

The dook noise sounds like a chicken clucking or chuckling. This chirping noise is to tell pet parents it is time to play. An excited ferret may make this sound continuously, and it is adorable. Some ferret owners refer to this noise as ferret babble. If you live with two ferrets, you may hear dooking during a wrestling session. Grab a cat toy and play with your ferret to hear different dooking noises! Some ferrets do not dook a lot, so it is always important to remember each ferret is unique.

The Screech

This noise is the opposite of the dook noise, and a screech is high-pitched. Screeching is a common noise when a ferret is in pain, angry, or frightened. His tail may be puffed and back arched. Pet parents must rescue a ferret if this noise happens when two ferrets are playing, it is a good idea to watch and monitor to ensure one is not bullying the other. Don't make any sudden movements and approach your ferret carefully.

The Bark

Ferrets may bark when one gets stuck somewhere, so always consider this a warning noise. It sounds like one or two loud chirps or dooks. Typically, the ferret is excited or maybe scared. For example, small pets may not enjoy bath time, and a little bark is likely to let you know the water is too cold. If your ferret loves mealtime, you may also hear a bark if you try to remove a bowl too soon!

The Hiss

The hiss is another warning noise. Many ferret lovers describe this noise as a cross between a hee hee and chattering. It is similar to a cat hiss, and ferrets may do this during playtime when he's angry, confused, upset, or overstimulated. The noise may be a long burst of sound or short "hissy spats." A hiss is a perfectly normal noise for your ferret to make, so don't panic.

Speaking Ferret

Since a ferret's body language may be subtle when these critters do vocalize, all pet parents need to listen. If a ferret is hurt or startled, you may hear dooking or hissing. A journal may help you better understand ferret language. If you hear your ferret snore, this is normal and adorable.

Visit an Exotic Vet

If you hear whining or wheezing, you need to visit a vet specializing in exotic pets, including ferrets. A vet listens to your ferret's heart and lungs. It is also important during the exam for a vet to feel your small pet's abdomen and check for parasites.

  • Wheezing may indicate your small pet is experiencing respiratory issues, and this needs to be ruled out.
  • Whining may mean your little buddy is sick, so you also want to make sure he did not experience an injury during playtime.
  • Sneezing is perfectly normal but always watch for a runny nose.
  • A runny nose, eyes, and sneezing are reasons to schedule a vet appointment.

Ferret Vocalizations Are Adorable

Each unique vocalization is important communication. For example, your ferret may not feel well, or perhaps a screech tells you he's in big trouble or stuck. Ferrets are unpredictable, and if your small pet is in pain, handle them with care. Keep a journal and make notes when specific vocalizations happen so you can determine what your ferret is trying to tell you. Good luck!

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Common Ferret Noises and Their Meanings Explained