Can Ferret Bites Be Dangerous?
Ferrets are playful and entertaining animals that enjoy being with their owners. But, just like any pet, ferrets can bite when they are playing, startled, scared, or trying to protect themselves. So, can ferret bites be dangerous?
Risks of Ferret Bites
Ferrets typically bite due to fear or a feeling of being threatened. While most ferret bites are minor, any bite that breaks the skin can carry the risk of infection. If you are bitten by a ferret, you should:
- Clean any wound with soap and water
- Apply an antiseptic such as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol
- Apply a topical antibiotic ointment
- Watch for signs of infection (e.g. redness, swelling, pain, drainage)
- See a doctor if the bite is deep or if you notice any signs of infection
Other Health Risks
The biggest concern with a ferret bite is the risk of infection, as ferrets are prone to certain virus and bacterial infections that can be transmitted to humans.
- Rabies is a serious, potentially life-threatening virus that can be transmitted by a ferret bite.
- The bacterial disease, “pasteurellosis,” is another potential health risk from a ferret bite. This bacterial infection can cause skin infections and, in extreme cases, even organ damage.
- The virus, “Cryptococcus neoformans,” can also be transmitted through a ferret bite, and can cause serious lung and brain infections.
In order to prevent ferret bites, it is important to understand the signs of a ferret feeling scared or threatened. Some of the common signs of fear in ferrets include:
- Raised fur
- Scratching or biting
If you recognize any of these signs, it is important to step back and give the ferret some space. Additionally, it is important to supervise ferrets around children to prevent any bites or scratches, as ferrets can become scared or startled very easily.
Ferret bites can be dangerous, but with proper prevention and care, the risk of serious infection can be minimized.