Why Does My Ferret Lick Me?


by Emily Wolfe


Have you ever noticed your ferret giving you lots of licks and wondering why they do it? You’re not alone. Many ferret owners have the same question. In this article, we’ll explore some possible reasons why ferrets lick their humans and what it could mean.

According to Dr. Rachel Barrack, a veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist, “Ferrets are very social animals and licking is a natural way for them to show affection and bond with their human caregivers.” Similarly, Dr. Laurie Bergman, a veterinarian and board-certified veterinary behaviorist, explains that “Licking is a way for ferrets to groom each other and demonstrate affection. It’s likely that your ferret is licking you as a sign of love and to bond with you.”

So, it seems that one of the main reasons your ferret might be licking you is simply to show you some love and affection. But there could be other reasons as well. Keep reading to learn more!

Why does my ferret lick me?

There are a few different theories as to why ferrets lick their owners.

1. To show affection 

One popular theory is that ferrets lick to show affection. When a ferret licks you, it might be trying to show you how much it cares about you.

Much like how we might kiss our loved ones on the cheek, ferrets will often lick the people or other animals that they’re closest to. This is as a way of showing their affection.

If your ferret starts licking you more frequently, it could be because they’ve developed a strong bond with you and see you as part of its family. 

2. Part of the grooming process

Another theory is that ferrets lick as part of their grooming routine. Ferrets are fastidious groomers and spend a large portion of their day licking their fur to keep themselves clean.

When ferrets groom themselves, they often end up ingesting a lot of hair which can lead to stomach problems if not regurgitated. Some experts believe that when ferrets lick people, they’re actually trying to help us get rid of excess hair! And as they groom themselves by licking their fur, they might extend this behavior to their owners as well. 

3. Stress

Another theory is that licking is a sign of stress in ferrets. When faced with stressful situations, some animals will engage in self-grooming behaviors as a way of coping with their anxiety. If your ferret seems to be licking you more often than usual, it could be a sign that they’re feeling stressed and are looking for comfort from you. 

4. Enjoy the taste of human skin

Enjoy the taste of human skin

Some people think that ferrets might lick their owners because they enjoy the taste of human skin. This theory is supported by the fact that ferrets have been known to lick other objects in their environment, such as furniture or clothing.

5. Investigating their surroundings

Ferrets are curious creatures and are known for exploring their environment by smell and taste. It’s possible that when ferrets lick people, they’re simply trying to learn more about them and their scent.

6. Excited


Ferrets can get very excited when they see their favorite people and might start licking them as a way of expressing their joy. If your ferret starts licking you when you come home or when you approach them, it’s probably because they’re happy to see you!

7. Out of sadness 

Ferrets can also become upset when their owners leave them alone for long periods of time. If your ferret seems to be licking you more often when you’re not around, it might be because they’re missing you and are trying to comfort themselves. 

8. Boredom

Ferrets are active creatures and need a lot of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If your ferret doesn’t have enough to do, it might start licking you as a way of passing the time.

9. Sickness

When your ferret starts licking you excessively and seems unwell, it’s imperative to get them to the vet right away. Excessive licking can be a sign of illness in ferrets and should be checked out by a professional.

Why does my ferret lick me then bite me?

It’s possible that your ferret is biting you after licking you as a form of play behavior. Ferrets are known for being playful and energetic animals, and they may nip or bite during play as a way to interact with their environment and companions. This type of biting is usually not aggressive or harmful, and it’s usually accompanied by other play behaviors such as hopping, running, and vocalizing.

If your ferret is biting you after licking you, it’s important to remember that this behavior is normal and not necessarily a sign of aggression or discomfort. However, if the biting is painful or if you’re concerned about your ferret’s behavior, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a ferret behavior specialist for further guidance. They can help you determine the underlying cause of the biting and provide you with strategies for addressing the behavior.

Ferrets licking: How to respond?

A. Don’t discourage licking: As we mentioned earlier, licking is a natural way for ferrets to show affection and bond with their caregivers. So, it’s important to not discourage this behavior. Instead, try to view your ferret’s licking as a sign of their affection for you and a way for them to express themselves.

B. Provide healthy snacks: One way to encourage your ferret’s positive behavior is to offer them healthy snacks as a reward. Ferrets are known to be food-motivated, so providing them with tasty treats can be a great way to reinforce their good behavior. Just be sure to choose snacks that are appropriate for ferrets and to monitor their intake to ensure they don’t become overweight.

C. Introduce new toys: Another way to keep your ferret entertained and engaged is to introduce them to new toys on a regular basis. Ferrets are intelligent and curious animals, and they enjoy exploring and playing with a variety of toys. Rotating their toys can help keep them mentally and physically stimulated, which can help prevent boredom and other behavior issues.


Ferrets are interesting and unique creatures that can make fascinating pets. However, it’s imperative to be aware of their natural behaviors, such as licking, biting, and grinding their teeth, so that you can provide the highest quality care possible.

Moreover, as we saw there is no definitive answer to the question of why ferrets lick their owners. While it might seem weird at first, there are actually a lot of reasons why your furry friend might be doing it! No matter what the reason is, it’s clear that in most cases ferrets enjoy licking their humans!

If you have questions or concerns about your ferret’s behavior, be sure to consult with a veterinarian or ferret expert.

Thanks for reading!


What does it mean when a ferret licks you?

A ferret’s lick can mean a few different things. It could be a sign of affection, as licking is often used as a gesture of love and care in the animal world. It could also be that your ferret is trying to get your attention or let you know that it wants to play.
Licking can also be a sign of anxiety or stress in some animals. Therefore, it’s critical to pay attention to your ferret’s body language and overall behavior to get a sense of what its lick might mean. If you’re not sure, ask your veterinarian for help in interpreting your ferret’s behavior.

What does it mean when a ferret grinds its teeth?

Grinding teeth, or “gumming,” is often a sign of excitement or happiness in ferrets. It may also be a way of getting your attention or letting you know that it wants to play. If you’re not sure what your ferret’s gumming means, it’s advisable to consult with a vet or animal behaviorist.

Why does my ferret lick my face?

There could be a few reasons why your ferret is licking your face. It could be that your ferret enjoys the taste of your skin, or it could be that your ferret is trying to show you affection. It’s also possible that your ferret is simply curious about your face and wants to explore it further.

What does it mean when a ferret bites you quite often?

It could mean that the ferret is playful, or it could be a sign of aggression. If the biting is accompanied by growling or hissing, it’s probably aggression.
If the ferret is generally friendly and doesn’t show any other aggressive behaviors, it’s likely just playing. Either way, it’s prudent to consult with a veterinarian or ferret expert to be sure.

What should I do if my ferret bites me frequently?

If your ferret bites you more frequently, it’s critical to take the situation seriously and consult with a veterinarian or ferret expert right away. It’s also imperative to keep an eye on the wound and make sure it doesn’t become infected. If the bite does become infected, you’ll need to see a doctor.

How can I stop my ferret from biting?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the right way to stop a ferret from biting will depend on the individual situation. However, some tips that may help include:
>Providing the ferret with plenty of toys and playtime
>Training the ferret with positive reinforcement
>Avoiding rough play or handling
>Consulting with a veterinarian or ferret expert if the biting persists or is accompanied by other aggressive behaviors.

Emily Wolfe

Emily is a lifelong animal lover and the founder of PETS CRAZIES. She started this blog after realizing the great need for quality pet information on the internet. Emily has two dogs, a cat, and two rabbits of her own.

She has a B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University and is a professional writer specializing in the pet industry. Learn More About Our Team!