Ferret Making Noises – What Do Ferret Sounds Mean?

Q: I have read that if ferrets are happy they make a dooking sound. When my ferrets are playing, they’ll often make loud squeaky noises. Not dooking (they dook, too), and its rather startling. Do you think they are happy? They do a lot of jumping around and looking excited but I haven’t heard them “dook”.

Answer: Just like humans, ferrets make different noises for different emotions. They make a heavy breathing noise or a chattering squeak noise when they are excited or playing, they hiss like a cat when threatened or scared, and when in pain they make a mixed noise of the chattering and hissing.

Dooking 


Dooking is a clucking noise that comes from a happy woozel. It’s a sort of chattering noise when they’re excited. Sometimes dooking goes hand in hand with the “weezil war dance”, a crazy combination of jumps and twists and funny faces.

Some people including I think a dook resembles the sound of a clucking chicken.

Hissing 

 

Ferrets can hiss (long, low ‘heh’ sound). A hissing sound (sounds like that of a cat only not as scratchy) comes from an annoyed, mad, or a ferret that wants to play rough.

Ferrets usually hiss to show fear or anger. However, ferrets can sometimes hiss when engaging in play with one another.

If your ferret hisses while displaying an arched back and “bristled” fur, just speak softly to your ferret and leave your ferret alone. He or she is not a happy ferret and could bite. Only pick up your ferret after he or she has calmed down.

Squeaking


Ferrets squeak to tell the other ferret to let go and that they’re bringing the game too far, and usually the other ferret doesn’t listen. I typically split them up after a lot of squeaking because they’re obviously telling the other to STOP and they aren’t.

Squeak noises those ferrets are making are submissive and/or playful noises. They’re similar to dooks, but they show the other ferret that they are submissive to them.

Barking


A loud chirp that occurs in a very excited or frightened furball. It is like a dog growling. It is best to leave them alone during this time.

Barking can occur from surprise or to warn someone off of ‘their’ territory. But, this too can occur if a ferret is just over-stimulated.

I had one ferret named Goblin that would make a barking sound when he got overly excited, it was very cute!

Screeching/Screaming

 

A high-pitched sound accompanined or even replaced by rapid chattering. The Screech is a reaction to extreme pain, fright, or anger. If your fuzzy makes this noise, make sure you know why, if he is in danger assist him immediately.

Screaming usually occurs because of pain or extreme fear, but sometimes a ferret will scream because they have been surprised by an alligator roll or pounce from another ferret.

Squealing

 

When you hold her and she squeals, it could be:

a. She’s just excited to see you.
b. She doesn’t want to be held.
c. She wants some attention/wants to be played with.

When she’s sleeping and jumps up, it could be that:

a. She heard a noise.
b. She could have had a bad dream (I know this one sounds weird, but ferrets can also have dreams.)
c. She just wants to play or get some attention.
d. She’s just stretching from her nap and the squealing is just her form of yawning.

Whining


A low or high complaining crying sound. Ferrets really don’t have a true “whine.” They make squeaky, rolling clicks, and hiss type noises.

The young ones screech when they are upset. However, if the whine is more like squealing, he may have hurt himself somehow.

Your fuzzy will make this sound if he is injured, wanting attention, or scared. Baby ferrets do this. He’s crying for his mother. They stop after a few weeks old.

Honking


Honking is usually seen in kits (or adults who *think* they’re kits). It’s usually a sign that they are nervous or can’t find someone they are looking for (kits ‘honk’ so that the mother can locate them).

Hacking/Coughing Sound


Sounds like something is obstructing the breathing, which could be caused by any number of things, such as a respiratory infection or allergy.

Ferrets do make hacking sounds when they get dust in thier noses and when they get hair balls or other obstrucions in their tummies. This time of the year she may still be losing her winter coat and is having hair ball problems.

Snoring

Some ferrets snore. Yes, they really snore, just like humans do. Well, of course it doesn’t really sound the same, that’s obvious because ferrets’ noses are not nearly as large as our noses.

When a ferret snores, it sounds just like he is breathing hard. Nothing like when humans snore (yes, I do have experience!).

I used to own five ferrets – some snored so loud you could hear them in the other room. Others would whimper/squeak/twitch. I had one in particular, Bella, who commonly screamed and leaped up (I’m assuming nightmares.)

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