Why Your Ferret Licks You [And Why It’s Not Always Good News]

Pets and their unconditional love, right? There’s nothing more heartwarming than receiving an overwhelming abundance of affection from our little fur-balls after a hard day at the office. Sure, maybe some ferret’s don’t quite fit into that category, but come on, when a ferret licks you, it’s just so damn adorable…ouch! What the f…? You bit me you little…!

Yes, what the hell was that all about, right?

That’s the thing about ferrets; you always have to be on guard. Expect the unexpected. When a dog licks you, you pretty much know the reason why. When a ferret licks you, it could be good news, bad news or no news.

So, the first rule is this: when your ferret licks you, don’t always assume that their is some positive bonding happening. There might be other agendas at play here. In fact, there are a few reasons why this is happening, so lets dive deeper, shall we.

Your Ferret Is Grooming You

This is probably one of the main reasons why your ferret is lick you. Your little critter sees you as part of the family, and this means that you get the same treatment as all the other ferrets in the business. Ferrets, like many other animals, groom each other. Welcome to the family! In a way, you could say that this is your ferret’s way of showing some indirect affection. They are bonding with you during this activity.

Your Ferret Is Licking You To Get Salt

Ferrets seem to love the taste of salt. When you sweat, even just a little, some of the salt sediments remain on your skin; something no ferret can resist. So, don’t get too jealous if someone else gets more licks from your ferret than you. It might be that they just sweat more. If you want to compete, just run around the block a few times to built up your own supply; your ferret will “love” you more for it!

You need to be careful here. Ferrets don’t need much salt in their diet, so it can be bad for them if they take in more salt than they need. If your ferret is obsessively licking you to get the salt from your skin, you need to put a stop to it, and it is a good idea to pay a visit to the vet.

The Lick Is a Chomp Warning

This is where things get a little “dark” in the relationship. Your furry buddy is kindly telling you that he is going to bite you in a few seconds. Or maybe, your ferret is softening your flesh up a bit to make it easier to bite. Then again, maybe, your ferret doesn’t really want to bite you, but if you don’t stop whatever it is you’re doing to your critter, then the bite is the only solution. So in a way, your little friend does love you, otherwise, why warn you in the first place, right?

However, don’t judge too quick here. The lick, lick chomp behaviors could also be due to your ferret’s inability to control his/her emotions when they are happy to see you. Sometimes, what you think is bitting is their way of trying to pull you along with them to move to another location, or to simply play with them. Normally, though, you can tell when between the warning and excited behavior if you pay close attention.

They’re Happy To See you

Sometimes, ferrets will lick you simply because they really are just showing some direct affection. Remember, you’re part of the business, and ferrets are naturally social animals. So, if you happen to disappear for a while, this will cause some stress for your ferret, which means that when you return, they are going to be ecstatic to see you again. What better way to show you this than with an overwhelming amount of licks all over your face.

Typical Areas Ferrets Like To Lick

The most common areas on your body that ferrets like to lick are the hands, feet, nose and lips. But really, other areas such as the arms, legs, neck and ears can also be good targets. The most common reasons for these areas is because you normally make direct contact with food, lotions and other nice items that ferrets find tasty.

Other Reasons why Ferrets Like To Lick You

Really, there could be more reasons than mentioned in this article, but the most common, aside from the reasons mentioned above, are:

  • Your ferret likes the taste of your lotion
  • Your ferret likes the taste of your toothpaste and the salty or sweet food you have just eaten, hence the reasons for licking your lips

To sum up, their are numerous reasons why your ferret is licking you, and sometimes the outcome is heartwarming, while other times, it is a way for your ferret to help you understand the boundaries in this amazing relationship you both have together. Other times, your ferret just likes the taste of whatever is being licked off your skin. Regardless, pay close attention to your critter’s behavior so that you don’t have a nasty surprise.

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