Fuzzwords: The ABCs of Ferret Lingo

Every group or organization has its own unique vocabulary and it’s no different with ferret lovers. It’s easy for newcomers to come face-to-face with strange words, phrases and acronyms and feel confused. The following is a list of some of the more frequently used phrases and/or acronyms.

Adrenal Disease


A common disease in ferrets where tumors grow on one or both of the adrenal glands. The most common indicator of adrenal disease is hair loss which normally begins on the tail or rear end and continues to the front shoulders. No complete cure is available, but it can be treated. Type of treatment recommended depends on age and overall health of the ferret.

Related articles: Adrenal Disease

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Alutian Disease Virusis is an auto-immune disease affecting ferrets which many refer to as being similar to HIV/AIDS in humans.

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An albino ferret has no pigment and is solid white with pink skin and red colored eyes.

See also: Fur Color & Markings

Alligator Roll

Refers to the cute way a ferret grabs on to an object and rolls much like an alligator would when taking down it’s prey. It’s also an action used to determine dominance between ferrets. The flipper is in control and dominant while the one always being flipped is submissive.

Alpha Ferret

The leader or “head ferret” of a group of ferrets. Dominance is determined as ferrets test each other to see who is the strongest or strongest-willed – and it’s not always the largest ferret.


Refers to fur color. Ferret is black in color. (Often with a white undercoat.)

See also: Fur Color & Markings

Black Sable

Refers to fur color. The fur is usually an ashy dark brown or black. Fur has a glossy shine and a white undercoat.

See also: Fur Color & Markings


Refers to a ferret’s coat markings. A blaze ferret has a white stripe that can go from its forehead to the back of the neck. Blaze ferrets are prone to deafness.

See also: Fur Color & Markings

Bottle Brush

When the hairs of a ferret’s tail stand on end and spread out resembling a bottle brush. Normally caused from extreme excitement and sometimes fear.


The correct term for a group of ferrets.

Carpet Shark

A nickname used to refer to ferrets. It refers to them suddenly lying flat on the floor.


Refers to fur color. Champagne ferrets are tan colored or a lighter version of a chocolate ferret.

See also: Fur Color & Markings


Refers to fur color. Chocolate colored ferrets have fur that is a chocolate brown. They usually have a white or cream colored undercoat.

See also: Fur Color & Markings


Refers to fur color. Cinnamon ferrets have a light reddish (cinnamon) color to their fur.

See also: Fur Color & Markings


Used to describe a sound that some ferrets make when they are excited or playing.

Dead Ferret Sleep

When a ferret goes into such a deep sleep that it appears to be dead.


Stands for “Dark Eyed White”. A DEW is not the same as an albino ferret.

See also: Fur Color & Markings

Dig Box

A box of things created by ferret owners for their ferret to play in and dig through. The box is normally made from a large plastic container with a hole cut for an opening and may contain shredded paper, non-instant rice, or starch (not regular) packing peanuts.


Refers to a common sound that ferrets make.

Duck Soup

A homemade food made especially for ferrets which is easily digested. It is often fed to ferrets who are ill, but because ferrets normally refuse new foods when given it is important to feed it before illness begins so they are familiar with it. The recipe does not contain duck meat. The word on the Internet is that the food was first made for a ferret named “Ducky” and given the name Duck Soup. Many different versions of the recipe exist today.

Recipes: Duck Soup


Epizootic Catarrhal Enteritis also known as “Green Slime Disease” because of the sudden onset of bright green or yellowish diarrhea which characterizes it. ECE is a highly contagious virus.


Made by the 8-in-1 company. It is a mixture of oils which keeps ferret fur and skin healthy.

Ferret Math

A cute way to say “you can’t have just one”. Many ferret owners who begin with just one ferret end up with many more.

Ferret Vet

Refers to a veterinarian who is experienced treating ferrets.


A word used to refer to ferrets.

Flat Ferret

See also: carpet shark.

Fur Color & Markings

Ferrets come in a range of colors and markings. The charts in the links below include pictures which explain it best.

External links:


A word used to refer to ferrets.


A word used to refer to ferrets.


A word used to refer to ferrets.


An altered male ferret.

Guard Hairs

Ferret fur consists of a downy soft undercoat and longer, stiffer hairs called guard hairs. The guard hairs in darker ferrets, usually are darker coloured on the tips.

See also: Fur Color & Markings


Another name for a ferret hammock. Hammocks are a very popular form of ferret bedding.

Hidey Hole

A place where ferrets store their treasures (aka items they’ve stolen).


A common ferret behavior. They are well-known for taking items which they find appealing and stashing them in their favorite out-of-the-way hole.


A hob is an unaltered male ferret.


A disease which is becoming more common in ferrets. Tumors form on the pancreas which cause an increased production of insulin.

Related articles: Ferret Insulinoma Diagnosis and Treatment

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An unaltered female ferret.


Refers to dry, packaged foods.


A baby ferret.


Refers to markings of the fur consisting of white paws which look like mittens. It often includes a white bib around the neck as well.

See also: Fur Color & Markings


Refers to markings of the fur where the ferret’s entire head is white in color, normally all the way down to the neck.

See also: Fur Color & Markings

Pez Head

A term used to describe the way deaf ferrets will tilt their heads back like a pez container when they are picked up.

Rainbow Bridge

Where ferrets and other pets go when they die. Thought of as a pet’s heaven. Many poems and stories have been written about this.

Rat Tail

Refers to the way a ferret’s tail looks when there is a loss of fur. Fur loss is sometimes a result of adrenal disease, but can also be caused by blackheads.


Refers to a ferret whose fur turns white over time. For example many silver ferret’s fur will turn white as they age.


Refers to fur color. This is the standard ferret color. Fur is a deep brown with a white or cream undercoat.

See also: Fur Color & Markings

Scruff or Scruffing

Picking a ferret up by the scruff (the back of) the neck much like a mother ferret would do. This is a method of discipline used by a mother ferret, but it works well for humans who are in the process of training their ferret as well. Scruffing is also useful when a ferret needs to be held still for such things as trimming nails and cleaning ears.

Scruff and Drag

Used in training ferrets, this discipline technique mimics what a mother ferret would do to scold her young when they’ve done something wrong. The ferret is scruffed and then gently drug across the floor.

Scruff and Hiss

Used in training ferrets, scruff and hiss directly in their face. It sounds strange, but what you’re doing is imitating ferret behavior. Trust me, it works better than “NO”, which they absolutely do not understand. 🙂


An altered female ferret.

SubQ Fluids

Used in cases of severe dehydration, subcutaneous fluids are injected under the skin.

Waardenburg’s Syndrome

A genetic defect common among ferrets with white, blaze, and panda markings. It is the leading cause of deafness in ferrets.

Related Posts: Waardenburg Syndrome

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War Dance

Refers to the funny dance that a ferret will do when excited, commonly seen as a sort of sideways or backwards bounce-all-across-the-room with mouth wide open as if in a big smile, and basically loosing all control.

Whole Prey

Refers to the practice of feeding small animals such as day old mice or chicks; believed to be a more natural diet.

Related Posts: Whole Prey