Why Do Ferrets Yawn When You Scruff Them ?

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

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Hey! M. Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More

Why do ferrets yawn when you scruff them ?

Ferrets yawn when you scruff them because scruffing causes the brain to release endorphins so that the scruffed animal relaxes and avoids wiggling too much. It’s a natural mechanism that helps moms safely carry their young (kits) and put them back in their place when they get into mischief too.

why do ferrets yawn when you scruff them ?

What is Scruffing in ferrets and other animals?

Scruffing is a gesture generally made by the mothers of some animals for their newborns, it is the fact of seizing a baby animal by the skin at the back of its neck and carrying it.

Scruffing is also a sign of dominance and will quickly make your ferret understand that you are the boss like his mom was and that he better stay quiet if he doesn’t want to go in a cage without his toys or his food!

When usually scruffed ferrets go immediately limp and may even start yawning. 

Some animals don’t like being scruffed as they grow up, kittens for example will hate it if you scruff them after they are over 6 weeks old, while ferrets generally don’t mind being scruffed all their lives and love it!

When scruffing my ferrets ?

What is the purpose of scuffing in the ferret world? Scruffing a ferret will usually make him instantly calm and submissive. Scruffing will help you when you wanna have a look at something on your ferret but he’s not holding still.

Scruffing is very useful when your ferret is a little aggressive towards you or another ferret, scruffing him will quickly calm him down if he is biting, he will let go, this will help you nipping your ferret biting behavior…etc

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Scruffing is also useful when you want to clean or check the health of your ferret, vets often use this technique to calm ferrets.

For a good grooming session, you will also need to scruff your ferret to keep him calm when you trim his nails, clean his ears, etc.

Is Scruffing a sign of dominance?

We often notice when ferrets play with each other, they scruff each other, they bite each other on the neck, and we can interpret this scruffing by a duel that will dominate the other!

Some ferrets do not like to be scruffed and they even simulate yawning so that you lower your guard and it would only take a second of inattention for the ferret to turn his head and bite your hand to explain that he does not accept to submit to your authority.

How to Scruff a Ferret the right way ?

It’s not just enough to get your ferret anything she or he needs , you must also learn to take care of it, and learning the right way of scruffing a ferret is also very important to interact with your pet throughout its life, here with screenshots how to correctly scruff your ferret:

Make sure your nails are trimmed properly so that you don’t hurt your ferret’s neck.

First, bring your hand up to the front of your ferret so that you don’t startle it and it doesn’t bite you.

Then take him with both hands, put your left hand under his belly and hold him, just behind his two front legs without squeezing him too much.

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With your right hand, grasp him at the back of the neck. There’s that loose skin at the back of his neck as I said, just grasp him and hold him.

At the same time, you can support thots bottom with your left hand if it’s heavier, so you won’t hurt him at all!

You will notice that your ferret is quickly relaxed, he will usually start yawning quickly, but don’t let your guard down, he may not like it and turn around and bite you if he is not used to being scruffed.

You can then turn him over as you wish, on his back for example by passing your left hand under his back, while keeping scruffing him with your right hand, and this if you want to check their belly or even trim their nails, clean their ears, apply an ointment, clean a stain, disinfect a wound ….etc

My Ferret doesn’t let me Scruff her/him !

Using its favorite treats, you can train your ferret to stay still without scruffing but it is easier to train it to accept scruffing because you will often need your ferret to stay still when you want to take care of him, same for the vet, he will also need it during consultations and you will not like your ferret to turn around and crash his finger!

Training your ferret to accept being scruffed may take a little time and will require a little patience and some treats, but it works and you will surely succeed after a few sessions.

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Place your ferret on your lap, some treats in your left hand, scruff your ferret, release him and immediately give him a treat.

Repeat this exercise until your ferret associates the fact that you’re scruffing him to getting delicious treats.

Avoid releasing your ferret if he turns around and bites you!!! you have to be careful and if it happens, you have to resist the temptation to release him.always reinforce with gentle touch, treats and oil if you want to get quick results.

How to make my ferret Yawn ?

It’s easy when you teach him to accept being scruffed, just hold him by his scruff (its a loose patch of skin behind his neck called his scruff), he will quickly go into a state of extreme and instant relaxation and will usually start to yawn after just a few seconds.

Does Scruffing Ferrets hurt them ?

No, scruffing correctly your ferret will not hurt him, just make sure you trim your nails, detect the loose skin behind their neck and if your ferret is a little heavy, it’s good to support it from behind with your other hand as shown in the previous screenshots .

Final thought:

Scruffing is a natural act, in some animals its effect disappears when they become adults, but in ferrets, scruffing puts them even once adult in a state of relaxation and submission, which makes their handling easier especially knowing that their jaws can do damage if they bite you!