How to Scruff a Ferret The Right Way [And When To Do It]

Scruffing a ferret can be a great way to calm an overly excited ferret. However, there are a few things to consider. Are you scruffing your ferret for the right reasons, and if so, are you using the right technique? Let’s dive deeper into this topic!

How Do You Scruff A Ferret Properly?

The best way to scruff a ferret is by using both hands. It may be tempting to use one hand because of how light and small ferrets are, but you can still potentially hurt a ferret if you accidentally scruff them the wrong way. So, by using both hands, one to do the actual scruffing and the other to rest your ferret on, as a type of support, you are ensuring that your ferret always feels comfortable. Plus, it is a great way to bond with them as there is a lot of direct contact.

Now, with that out the way, here is a step by step guide on scruffing your ferret the right way:

First of all, gently pull your ferret closer to you with both hands. Once your ferret is by your side, use your dominant hand to grasp your ferret’s skin at the back of the neck, a little lower than the height of the ears. While doing this, you’re going to use your other hand to support the front part of your ferret’s body between his front legs just by his chest.

Once you have your ferret firmly grasped in the right place, you can then shift your other hand that was previously supporting your ferret by its chest so that now the ferret is resting his buttocks and back legs on the palm of your hands so that you are completely supporting his weight.

If you’ve done this correctly, within a few seconds your ferret will then begin to yawn. This is a sign that you are now calming him down, and he’ll normally stay in this state as long as you keep him scruffed.

Be careful not to scratch your ferret with your nails, especially if there long.

Now that you have your ferret in this position, if you want to inspect his belly or maybe have him rest on his back during the nail clipping session, you can simply use your non-dominant hand as a way to support your ferret’s back while still keeping him in a scruffed position. Make sure you have someone to help you clip your ferret’s nails because you should stay focus on holding your furry friend. The last thing you want to do is to scruff your ferret and still attempt to cut his nails. This is a sure way to injure your fuzzball because you only have two hands.

If you still need a more visual guide, check out this video:

Dealing With Squirmy Ferrets

Some ferrets seem to make it impossible for their owners to scruff them. They normally do this by squirming around frantically, which is sometimes followed up with some clawing, and in some cases, they might even bite, all in the hopes of getting their owners to release them. Don’t panic.

One reason this could be happening is because you are not firm enough. The idea is to do it firmly but without hurting them in any way, so don’t be afraid to grab a little harder on the skin. Just be careful that you’re not grabbing the actual neck, which could be the reason why your ferret is objecting so aggressively to your actions. If you try to grab your ferret by the neck and he is not used to it, this might hurt him or make him feel very uncomfortable.

If your ferret still continues to wriggle, claw or bite you, then you might need to do a little behavior training. However, first try to see if you’re doing it correctly, because in most cases, ferrets really should calm down completely when you scruff them the right way.

What happens When You Scruff a Ferret?

Something very interesting and adorable happens with your ferret when scruffed. They become almost instantaneously relaxed and submissive. Normally, within a few seconds of picking them up this way, they yawn. When this happens, you know that you have done it correctly.

Is Scruffing A Ferret Bad?

There is nothing wrong with scruffing a ferret if it is for the sole purpose of calming them. However, I think it isn’t a good idea to use scruffing as a way to discipline your ferret. Some would argue that mother ferrets use this method to discipline their kits, so it is the most natural way to do it. My take on this is that while it might be true to some degree, it doesn’t mean that a mother ferret would use this method as the sole means of disciplining her kits.

And normally, when she does do it, it is usually out of reaction. Maybe the kit accidentally hurts the mother, etc. In fact, mother ferrets only scruff their kits at a very young age. Once they get a little older, they use other ways to discipline them such as nipping or completely ignoring them. Obviously, you’re not going to nip your ferret, so you will be using other ways in which to discipline them.

When Is It Required To Scruff A Ferret?

Scruffing should be used for calming down a ferret. For example, if you need to cut their nails or do any type of activity that requires them to be still for a while. That way, they associate scruffing with a type of parental bond and see it as something positive.

Also, you should use scruffing as a way to medicate your ferret or to do very delicate work like cutting the nails. During this time, they have to be kept really still, and scruffing is a great way to achieve this. So imagine if you’re using this method as a way to discipline your ferrets. In the end, they can associate medication and nail clipping as something negative because every time you scruff them, it means that you are disciplining them.

Does Scruffing A Ferret Hurt Them?

If you do it correctly, it won’t hurt your ferret. And to take it one step further, when I say correctly, it’s not just what you do with the actual hand that you are using to scruff your ferret. Where is your other hand? If it is not supporting your ferret, and your little fuzzball is heavy, then you could be hurting him. So my rule of thumb is to always use the other hand to support the ferret while he is being scruffed to prevent this.


Scruffing is definitely a great way to calm your ferret down. When done correctly, your ferret won’t get any negative experience from it.

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