Are ferrets dangerous pets? Boy loses 7 fingers to a pet ferret.

Are ferrets dangerous pets?

Are ferrets dangerous pets?

Ferret owners everywhere are cringing. Ferrets reputation worsens yet again with the tragic story of an infant who lost 7 of his fingers, bitten off by the family pet.

This is a hard blow to both ferrets and ferret owners everywhere who are trying to convince others of the kind and (mostly) innocent nature of their beloved companions.

This is a tragic story from both the ferret’s and infant’s perspective and most would agree that the parents are responsible.

The parents say that they slept through the ordeal and finally woke up to the infants screams…when the ferret was chomping on the 7th finger. Really? I mean…really? Let me get this straight…so the parents are that sound asleep that:

  1. They don’t even realize that the little carpet shark is out of its cage? (Was the ferret even caged, like it should have been, particularly when there is an infant in the house)
  2. They sleep through the infants cries (from what I know about babies…they tend to cry pretty easily, they don’t normally hold back either. Also, from what I know they don’t have a very high pain tolerance! Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in the comments below)

Now, everyone on the planet knows that ferrets have a pretty bad reputation already mainly for nipping and biting (if not properly handled!) and…everyone on the planet knows that they are not easy pets to keep or train…sooooo…..why the hell did these people get a ferret in the first place? And why was it not in a cage?

There are cases where people take in animals if they are found on the street or if someone gives one to them and they feel obliged to keep it. If this was the case then it is very unfortunate. However, is it not pretty stupid to not do at least a little bit of research on an animal you have taken into your care beforehand or while it is in your house playing around your child?

What kind of a parent are you to let an animal,you really do not know much about, be in the house with your baby (and apparently running around freely?)

Another question that has to be raised here is why was the ferret munching on a human being? Yes, ferrets can bite (if scared or feeling threatened they can bite very viciously too) but I have never, EVER heard of a ferret actually eating a human?! This is not normal ferret behavior at all!

Was this ferret starved? Did it not have any other option? What possessed it to eat a baby?

It is a shame the father killed it straight away before anyone could examine the ferret and do a behavior test on it to find out if it actually was aggressive or not. I guess this is something that we will never find out, but hopefully they will dissect the animal to find out whether it was the culprit or not…

In an article written by BethAnn Mayberry from the Examiner (please read the article, it is very interesting) she interviews Dr. Bruce Williams, DVM who enlightens us with some interesting facts:

  • “Statistics on ferrets show that a ferret is about a thousand times *less* likely to cause injury than a dog. Indeed, every year there are hundreds of very serious or fatal dog attacks in the US alone. “
  • “Worst case statistics show approximately 12 ferret attacks ever recorded in the US.”

So dogs and cats are more dangerous then ferrets? Yep.

Ferret bite

Bad ferret bite (this is normally as bad as it can get, this is even fairly rare)

This is such a tragic story, however more investigation needs to be done into the parenting (or lack of) to explain why this happened in the first place. A child and an animal are clearly the responsibility of parents. If the parents decided to bring an animal into the household they just simply should have known better (eg. do more research, make sure the baby was at all times safe, supervise the ferret while out, feeding it, actually keeping it in a cage it would not be able to get out of etc.).

Hopefully people will only see this as a once off freak event which was possibly caused through neglect of the parents, rather then just blaming the poor ferret (D.I.P little fellow) and using it as a stereotype for all ferrets and their owners.

Ferrets when properly handled make great pets and ferret owners tend to be  educated, responsible and well informed people.

Please let us know what you think about this situation in the comments section below.

If you would like to find out some more information about ferrets then please visit my website at


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Karla said,

    I thought long and hard about the decision of acquiring a ferret. I spent at least 3 months checking it out on the internet, bought magazines, went to the pet shop, saw the fuzzies, and had the privilege of bringing two awesome ferrets home. Now I have three.

    This incident bothers me a lot, I have to say, because it shows a complete disregard to attention and prevention from this family. It is HIGHLY probable that this could have happened.

    When I did my research, the most COMMON AND EMPHASIZED WARNING FROM OTHER FERRET OWNERS WHAT TO KEEP FERRETS AWAY FROM CHILDREN! I can promise you, every single website, article and comment from another ferret owner told me if I was pregnant or had an infant, I would probably NOT WANT TO HAVE A FERRET in the event that the ferret could harm the child.

    AND IT’S COMMON SENSE TO MAINTAIN AN ANIMAL LIKE THAT AWAY FROM A DEFENSELESS CHILD. They may look cute, but some ferrets are totally vicious. It’s is a tragedy that he killed that ferret out of anger, especially if the ferret was mistreated and obviously, he wanted to defend his child, but this was a mistake on their behalf. It’s unfortunate and sad.

  2. 2

    Mel said,

    This is just so heartbreaking. It’s the children and the pets that suffer when ignorant parents make ignorant decisions. People need to do their research. Would they have left their baby unattended with a puppy roaming free in the house? No. But if a puppy bit off this poor baby’s fingers, people wouldn’t question the safety of dogs as pets.

  3. 3

    Celina Warren said,

    I think it is UNFAIR to make that ALL ferrets are violent based on this one account! We as ferret owner knows, as well as ANY responsible pet owner that you DO NOT leave an animal unattended or in this case unsecured around children or infants.This is obviously neglect of the parents for not only the child but the ferret itself. Also, consider the fact that ferrets have poor eye sight and babies have not much motor control. When they grab something they clutch it as hard as they can! thus a ferret would feel VERY threatened and bite and KEEP BITING if it was in pain and gripped so tightly it couldn’t get away (easily.) A SCREAMING crying baby wouldn’t have made the poor ferret any calmer but rather caused the ferret to lash out in defense!

    As you can see in the ABOVE bit picture, THAT is a picture I personally took of my ex’s foot. It was due to an unhandled, unsocialized, abused 4 month old ferret we acquired from a breeder (UNKNOWING of it’s upbringing.) Of every ferret I have owned over a 10 year span, HE has been the ONLY one to have drawn blood from ANYONE! BUT that was due to the fact we got them while they were perhaps 8-10 weeks old and we handled them from DAY ONE! A ferret that KNOWS it is a ferret (with TEETH) can be a hazard yet it must LEARN that human skin is NOT as tough as a ferrets and thus cannot take the abuse. In fact, ferret skin will even DULL a syringe.

    With all this said, if one does not have the acumen to properly keep and secure a ferret (or ANY pet for that matter), they should not have one in a home with children period. In addition, if a parent cannot take care of a ferret, they shouldn’t have a child either.

  4. 4

    Jasmine said,

    I disagree with some of the statements made in regards to children and ferrets. Yes it is fine to own ferrets if you have children, but make sure that they are caged when YOU aren’t supervising, as I am sure some of you have seen how kids handle animals in general.

    As for ferret bites, I have some pretty nasty bites on my wrist due to a friends ferret, but she also told me that he would bite as she is the only one that is able to handly him (he was a pet shop ferret). That was my own fault though. And I probably will attempt to hold him again at some point. From this experience, I can believe that a ferret did chomp on a baby, BUT, only if it was mishandled to begin with and if it had a big head (like a male ferret).

    If it was mishandled, then it is the parents fault for continuing to own a known mishandled ferret in the house that a baby is in. Seriously, would you keep a vicious dog in a house where there are kids? No? Though so.

    Some people obviously lack commonsense and need to stop blaming animals for doing what is in their nature.

  5. 5

    Cherie said,

    I think the fault here definitely belongs to the parents! No child or baby should be left alone unsupervised with ANY family pet! The parents should be charged with neglect and abuse!

  6. 6

    melinda said,

    this is so disheartening… was there something on the baby’s fingers that attracted the furry furry?? i just can’t imagine how this could happen! i wholey agree the parents are at fault. and that poor fuzzbutt killed right away how tragic!! i too wonder if no ffod was available for the ferret…. and why would they let Any animal be loose with such a tiny baby in the house?!?

  7. 7

    Janice said,

    it is tragic. From someone who has had 8 PET STORE ferrets…I can tell you that some can have an owner preference. However they can be trained to not bit hard. Like even children, they must be controlled and disciplined with consistency. I’ve had more scratches than anything else from mine. In the years of dealing with ferrets I have had, no ferret I have ever seen would deliberately bite a finger off unless seriously provoked or scared. What it comes down to is RESPONSIBILITY be it ferret or child. It doesn’t matter how big the head is however being male and especially one who has not been neutered or has been a late neuter since they would tend to be MORE aggressive to start with. Anyone is STUPID for keeping a vicious dog around KNOWINGLY but these people did not seem to know this alleged “pet” they had and obviously didn’t care about it enough to NOT kill it immediately. Just that alone tells me a lot about the owners…

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