Message Number: SG4924 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2003-06-06 07:08:32 UTC
Subject: RE: Ferret Aggression - Deadly !
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one of our alumni killed his friend about a year and a half ago. sam underwent adrenal surgery during his stay at our shelter; shortly after he was adopted into a wonderful home, along with two other pals. the new three joined an existing male in the home. delilah passed from heart disease and shortly after sam's attitude changed a bit, but nothing too spectacular. he was definately more agressive with his two brothers after a spell of apparent depression. shortly after he started perking up a bit tragedy struck. mom was around the corner in the kitchen, listening to the normal sounds of ferrets playing together. all of the sudden she heard a horrible scream (long time ferret owner, knows when something isn't right) and in the perhaps 20 seconds it took her to get into the other room sam had killed bandit; he'd torn out his throat.

although anne loved sam dearly she was having a hard time dealing with him, so he came back to live with us. we weren't going to chance him around others, so he always had his own cage and playtime. most of our ferrets, even those who don't care for others one bit, will go up to the other cages to at least check out other ferrets, but sam never did. this formerly spunky and loveable boy was skittish and never again enjoyed playing. he became an old man at only about age 6 and would wake, make the rounds to check stuff out, then spend a short time wtih me and then it was back to bed. he was glum, sad...sigh...i really don't know...but he was easily spooked, that's for sure.

about 6 months after this happened sam, who had continued to have coat trouble after surgery, started showing more hair loss and started feeling punk. all of the sudden he lost the ability to urinate. two days of draning his bladder while we tried to determine if he was on his way out otherwise or what and he died on his own.

i'll never understand what happened with sam, but my gut feeling is, because he was so skittish after the incident, that perhaps his fear response had been out of whack, for whatever reason. when this happened i wrote to all sorts of fellow shelter operators and posted on various forums and so forth looking for a similiar incident; reading your message tonight marks the first time i've ever heard of another ferret (fixed ferrets, of course) doing the same thing.

nowadays i'm sure i'm less likely to tolerate "normal" spats and the working out of pecking order. although i do try to get critters with as many friends as possible to make finding a new home that much easier (since most people are looking to add 1 to an existing business), when a critter either attacks or freaks out over an actual or perceived attack i call it quits and that's where the critter's status gels.

sorry to hear of this situation...brought back all sorts of sad memories for me. :(