Q: I operate a small ferret rescue, and some of the ferrets bite my daughter. All the ferrets are neutered. My daughter is over every day, and the ferrets all know her but some just come up and bite her for no reason. Some have been here quite long and know her well, but they bite her just the same as others that have been here for less than a year. It’s both male and female ferrets doing this. I don’t understand, because they don’t bite me, ever.
A: The bites could be happening for a number of reasons, but the most probable is related to the ferrets’ experience with her and her reaction to being bitten. We call this learned aggression (they have a history of biting her) or the reinforcement history (they get something out of it).
If your daughter becomes more exciting to the ferrets by yelping or moving quickly when they bite, the ferrets may see it as a game. She may also be uncomfortable around them, and the ferrets learn to bite her because they can or it is fun for them.