Photo Caption: Look at the sore spot on his nose! He constantly bites and shakes the cage, trying to get out, despite just being out to play. He just hates the cage.
Poor little Buddha is less than 6 months old and the shelter is his third home. He was purchased, then left in a cage in the basement because he bit. He is a gorgeous little thing, small for his age, and deaf as a stone. The reason why he bit was because he was frightened.
Photo Caption: Look closely, and you can see just the tip of his cute little tongue. I'm partial to "tongue" photos. He's very attentive.
He was left to languish in the basement with no positive attention, bad food and very little of it, and most likely someone poked at him through the bars of the cage (judging by his behavior).
Here, it looks like he's saying, "Bring on more Ferretone!" Actually, he's in mid-lick.
He was rescued by a neighbor and brought back to health, but although his biting got much better, he would still bite if you stuck your finger through the cage bars, probably due to being tormented at his previous house. Her young (poorly controlled) nephew visited one day, stuck his fingers into the cage and was promptly bitten. She had to surrender the ferret so the family wouldn't insist on it being put to sleep.
We got a lot of "tongue" photos because that was the only way to get him to stand still long enough for the camera to focus!
Since Buddha has arrived, he's come a long way. He used to lunge at your hands when you opened his cage. God forbid he should wake to find your hand inside his cage! You were guaranteed many, many holes in your hand if you did that. Now, he is very interested in people, and wants to be picked up. He was plied with a liberal dose of treats, and that always works wonders on the frightened ones.
Such a lovely blaze! It's a shame that a blaze that nice usually comes with total deafness. It's related to Wardenburg syndrome in people.
Now, he will come up to you and stare at you when he wants attention. He will still nip if you ignore him, but if you pick him up, cuddle him, maybe give him a treat, he's fine. He even gives kisses now.
Oh my! What a big tongue you have! "The better to taste my Ferretone!"
He's still not quite right, though. He doesn't know how to play. He will walk around and look at things, maybe let out a few dooks if he sees something interesting, will walk through the tubes, and follow you around, but he doesn't play like a ferret. He seems to think balls are completely irrelevant. He ignores them if you roll them past him, and if it rolls into him, he'll jerk and look at it, but walk away. He doesn't chase a towel and isn't interested in anything dangling. He watches the people closely and follows them around.
He seems developmentally delayed ... like because he was stuck in the basement with no stimulation and not enough food that his brain didn't develop right. His body certainly didn't. He's tiny for a male ferret, although that is part of his charm. He's so beautiful, and holds himself in striking poses.
The other problem he has is that he does NOT want to be in a cage. He has bitten and shaken the bars literally for hours. He has worn the fur off the top of his nose and now has a sore spot. He's going to ruin his teeth. He's actually spent so much energy trying to get out that he's underweight, despite plenty of good food.
He's terrified of other ferrets, and will attack viciously and immediately. I've been letting him out with my huge baby ferret for "attitude adjustments" and he will eventually stop attacking, but never will play with the other ferret and just hides. He doesn't even know how to play with another ferret! Geronimo won't hurt him, but will lay on top of him when he gets too rough. That's a very useful technique for teaching ferrets not to bite so hard -- ferrets don't mind giving corrections every 5 seconds, and usually it works wonders. It did Cooper a world of good (and now Cooper is a pretty darned nice ferret). Buddha will scream loudly as he attacks Geronimo, scream as he backs away, and scream louder than you would think could possible if Geronimo pins him down. Geronimo doesn't bite him, just hold him down in a dominance correction position. Buddha lies there on his back, his feet desperately wiggling in the air, his mouth wide open, and screaming like a woman auditioning for a B movie! OMG!
But Buddha doesn't seem to progress. He stops attacking a bit sooner now, but then he will retire to the "ferret catcher" (an opaque Rubbermaid box with a hole cut out for ferret access). He sits in the doorway of the box, shaking, watching the other ferret warily. If the other ferret comes to look, he will open his mouth and screech.
I think with time, he will be a wonderful pet. He already gives kisses, which is amazing. He's had ill treatment most of his tiny little life, yet knows kisses show affection. He sure does seem to like people -- he'll follow you around -- but it's difficult to clean with him out, as he wants your attention 100% of the time. He won't play with anything ... he doesn't seem to understand the concept of toys. He will just let a ball roll past him without looking at it. If the ball bumps him, he'll swing his head around to look at it, but then ignores it. He won't be inticed by dangling things and doesn't chase anything. He acts like he doesn't even see those things. All he does is focus on your face.
I think he has great potential. He's certainly focused! One would think that with a little time and effort he could be taught a lot of things. I feel terrible that I can't leave him out more at the shelter -- it's difficult to get all the ferrets out for a play time when you have many play groups who don't get along together.
I'm hoping to find a foster home for him who has a room they can devote to the little Buddha so he doesn't have to be in a cage. Wish me luck finding that home!