Monday, May 10, 2010

Know your ferret - basic personality types

Adapted from Ferrets USA magazine v15, 2010 (Annual) description of ferret personality types.

This is for owners to determine what type of ferret they own, and what type of ferret personality would be compatible with their existing ferret(s).

Ferrets USA divided ferret personalities into 4 basic types. I have added my two cents to this, but overall, it is very much a summary of their descriptions.

1) THE BULLY. Most ferret groups have one, or even two of these. This ferret is your dominant ferret or ferrets (some groups have both a male and female bully). Bullies are generally very stubborn and clever. If the bully figures something out - how to get into a plant, room, couch etc. it will NEVER forget. When a bully makes a mess, it knows that what it did was wrong, but did it anyways. Bully ferrets are not always immediately obvious - you may not be aware that your ferret is a bully until it is introduced to other ferrets. Sometimes a bully will accept all existing pets in your home at the time that they are introduced and begin bullying any pets that you try to introduce at a later date. Bullies will do the bulk of the scruffing and determine whether or not any new ferrets can join the business, and, if they decide that a certain ferret should not be a part of their group, they will continue to harass the other ferret. Bullies are best matched with wired weasels and happy go lucky ferrets. Love bugs can get along with bullies so long as the bully is introduced after the love bug and is not too intent on beating him or her up.2) WIRED WEASEL. This is the extremely hyper ferret - the super ADHD ferret. Bouncing off of walls and getting into everything. Wired weasels will continuously show you how poorly your house is ferret proofed. If a wired weasel makes a mess, you can bet that they have no idea that what they've done is in any way wrong, or even how that cup ended up on the floor in pieces. When wired weasels are caged too much, they become bored, frustrated and destructive. Wired weasels are not good matches for love bugs or for families with older ferrets. These ferrets can be overwhelming for first time owners.Though most babies start out, to some degree, as wired weasels, not all stay this way. Wired weasels are just as hyper and trouble-causing when they are kits as when they are adults.

3) HAPPY GO LUCKY FERRETS. The happiest ferrets. These guys love everybody and don't seem to mind or notice if they are being picked on by a bully or a wired weasel. Not easily overwhelmed, these ferrets take everything in stride, are cheerful and playful, and are fine for first time owners. This personality type is described by some as the 'perfect ferret'; they even get along well with love bugs!

4) LOVE BUGS. These are the people pleasers. Love bugs LOVE to snooze on laps and cuddle. They are fine for single ferret homes and first time owners, but can be a bit demanding for your time. Love bugs can be easily overwhelmed by wired weasels and bullies.
These personality types can overlap - some ferrets are both wired and bullies, some are love bugs and happy go lucky. Personality types can even change a little over time, however, if you notice a dramatic personality shift such as your wired weasel morphing into a cuddle bug overnight, a trip to the vet to ensure that your ferret is not sick is a must.

** if your notice that your bully, when he or she becomes old, starts getting picked on, resist the urge to say "serves you right". Rescue the poor old guy or girl. Just because they are not as fast or strong as they once were, it does not mean that they deserve to be picked on in their old age.

Enjoy 'categorizing' your existing ferrets =)