Message Number: YG778 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sukie Crandall
Date: 2001-03-05 20:42:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Re: Another Behavior Question (Bullying)

At 10:00 PM +0000 3/5/01, wrote:
>I take it you don't agree with Fara Shimbo's take on dominance issues?
>IIRC, she believes that ferrets have no dominance relationships at all,
>and that ferret fights are completely disconnected from issues such as
>who gets first access to food or desirable sleeping places. I got the
>impression she was trying to say that all ferret fights are exclusion
>fights. Or maybe I just misunderstood her. Comments?

Brett, like Bob we certainly have seen dominance fights.

We have noticed that poorly socialized individuals tend to mix
signals (Ex: surrender actions like screaming and going to the
bathroom mixed with aggressive postures or hissing), and that once
they are integrated into the group they still are the quickest to
cause disagreements and the least likely to be able to compromise.
They are often bad at recognizing body language, including surrenders
by others. Sometimes they have strange behaviors related to this, for
instance Seven of Six insisted on urinating on Sherman (sometimes
multiple times a day) after he had surrendered to her. She is the
only one we have encountered that behavior in, though we've certainly
seen fear or nervous urination by others. She'd let him surrender,
then pin him, and then soak him.

There are hierarchies, too, sometimes firm ones, but sometimes mixed
so that A may be dominant over B & C, and those dominant over D, but
D may be dominant over A. Some may be dominant only in specific
situations. There's a flow to it.

The best alphas we've had used gentle techniques rather than biting.
Meltdown was the absolute best and she knew how to flip any ferret
over, and used that. Everyone readily let her be the definite boss.
There was only one ferret toward whom she was relentlessly
aggressive and that individual had multiple deformities so we suspect
there may have been some sort of culling aspect to it.