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When Ferrets Attack: Can a Ferret Kills a Snake?

Ferrets have become increasingly popular companion animals, while snakes remain a favoured pet among reptile enthusiasts. But what happens when these two types of animals come into contact? Can a ferret kill a snake? 

This is an important question to consider, as it can be a matter of safety for both the ferret and its keeper. This blog post will explore the potential danger of a ferret killing a snake and the conditions under which this may occur. 

We will also look at the strategies to prevent such an incident and the steps you can take to protect your pet from harm.

Ferret vs Snake

Ferrets and snakes are two very different animals, and it is important to understand their differences. Ferrets are small, domesticated mammals that are often kept as pets. 

They are playful, active, and very social creatures, requiring a lot of handling and attention. On the other hand, Snakes are reptiles and can be kept as pets, but they require a bit more specialized care and attention. 

They require specific temperature, humidity, and light requirements and can be quite demanding regarding their food. Unlike ferrets, snakes are not social creatures and prefer to be kept alone.

Can a Ferret Kill a Snake?

Ferrets are members of the weasel family and are known for their hunting prowess. Their diet usually consists of smaller animals, such as rodents and rabbits, but they have been known to tackle larger prey, including snakes.

To take down a snake, ferrets bite the head to disable it. After the snake is immobilized, the ferret will deliver a lethal bite to the neck or spine, resulting in death.

Though not all ferrets are inclined to hunt and kill snakes, those possess an innate ability to do so.

Why Do Ferrets Kill Snakes?

Ferrets possess natural predatory instincts, which can lead them to kill snakes as cats do. While not all ferrets will act on their instincts, male ferrets are especially prone to this behaviour, as they are the most territorial. 

Even female ferrets have been known to attack snakes in certain situations. Ultimately, this behaviour is instinctual and cannot be attributed to any other factor.

ferret kills a snake
ferret kills a snake | Photo Credit: Freepik

If you own a ferret, it is advisable to be vigilant when introducing it to a snake. However, as long as the ferret is not threatened or defending its territory, it is unlikely to attack

Will Snakes Eat Ferrets?

Ferrets are known to hunt and consume snakes; it is not uncommon for a ferret to catch a snake and feast on it. Reasons for this may include an instinctive need for hunting or a feeling of territoriality. 

You can observe this behaviour in the wild, where ferrets – also known as polecats – slowly stalk, seize, and kill their prey with a quick bite to the neck. 

The following video illustrates this point and may be disturbing to some viewers. It should be noted that ferrets are able to consume any animal they are able to catch and kill, including snakes.

Can Ferrets and Snakes Live Together?

Whether ferrets and snakes can live together has been widely discussed. While the two animals may be able to coexist within the same environment, there are some considerations to keep in mind. 

First, it is important to recognize that ferrets are more active than snakes and may be more likely to disturb the snake during its rest periods. Ferrets are carnivores and may attempt to hunt the snake if it is small enough. 

Furthermore, both animals require different temperatures and humidity levels, making it difficult to provide the proper environment for both species. For these reasons, keeping ferrets and snakes in separate enclosures is best.

What Should You Do if A Snake Bites Your Ferret?

Snakes may be divided into two main categories: 

  1. Venomous and 
  2. Non-venomous. 

If a non-venomous snake bites your ferret, there is typically no need for treatment, though it is prudent to monitor your pet for any serious symptoms.

Keep a Cool and Calm Mind

As a ferret owner, it is important to remain composed and take prompt action if a snake bites your ferret. Keeping a level head will allow you to assess the situation and determine the proper course of action to ensure the safety and health of your pet.

Try to Identify the Snake

This may be challenging. However, if applicable, you should attempt to ascertain the snake species. Knowing the species of snake will be beneficial in deciding whether or not your pet requires anti-venom therapy.

Provide Pain Relief Medication

It is advisable to offer pain relief medication prescribed by a veterinarian for a dry bite. 

However, if you observe your ferret struggling to breathe or has lost consciousness, it is strongly recommended to seek urgent veterinarian care, skipping the step with the pain relief medication.

Take Your Ferret to a Veterinarian

The most common symptom of a snake bite is swelling of tissues. To effectively reduce the pain, it is best to administer painkillers in injectable form. 

If you have already administered some medication at home, inform the vet. In more serious cases, such as seizures or collapsing, your ferret may require anti-vom, which not all vets carry due to its limited shelf life. 

Therefore, keeping a list of centres that provide anti-venom if you live in a neighbourhood with snakes or if a snake and ferret are living together is recommended.

Final Thoughts:

Ferrets can kill snakes, especially if they defend their territory or are young. However, it’s important to remember that even though ferrets are predators, they can be just as vulnerable to a snake’s venom as any other animal. 

Owners should take care to keep their ferrets safe and take all of the necessary precautions when they are dealing with a snake.

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