Ferrets are becoming increasingly popular housepets. When strange ferrets are introduced to each other, fights often occur. This study was designed to identify factors associated with aggression and to test a method for reducing aggression. Ferrets were tested in pairs to evaluate factors of familiarity, time of year, sex, and neutering status. Pairs of cage-mate ferrets did not fight, but 60% of pairs of strangers did fight. Pairings of two intact male ferrets resulted in fights in 100% of cases. Pairings of an intact male and a neutered female resulted in no fights. Females were generally not less aggressive than males-all seven pairings of neutered females resulted in fighting. Pairs of neutered males were no less likely to fight than intact males. Caging ferrets next to each other for 2 weeks did not reduce aggression when the ferrets were introduced.

COMMENTARY: The best advice for owners who want to acquire more than one ferret is to buy or adopt ferrets in pairs, not singly. Any time ferrets are introduced, they should be monitored carefully. Fights not stopped in time could result in serious injury.

Factors associated with aggression between pairs of domestic ferrets. Staton VW, Crowell-Davis SL. JAVMA 222:1709-1712, 2003.