Ferrets Licking Owners: What Does It Mean? 9 min read

Most people think that ferrets lick their owners to show affection, but that’s not always the case. Ferrets actually sometimes lick as a warning before biting. It’s important to understand the reasons behind ferret behavior in order to make sure your ferret is being affectionate rather than aggressive. 

Within this article, we explain the various reasons why ferrets lick and what it means. 

Here’s Why Your Ferret Licks You

Ferrets can lick you to show affection. Licking likely indicates your ferret feels comfortable and safe around you. However, in some cases, your ferret might be licking you to taste your skin or to warn you because it’s about to bite you. 

When a Ferret Licks, Is It Really a Sign of Affection?

When a ferret licks you, it could be a sign of affection. This can be the ferret’s way to show you that it loves you. 

A ferret will love you if you’re kind, take care of it, feed it, and play with it. When it licks you, it’ll be trying to tell you that it enjoys your presence. 

Although ferrets are low-maintenance pets, you can actually strengthen the bond between you and your pet by doing a few things. 

  • Give your pet ferret toys to play with. Make sure that the toys you choose aren’t too small or contain small parts that the animal can accidentally swallow and change them regularly to keep it engaged and entertained. 
  • Set up an appropriate cage or container to give your pet ferret free playtime. Ferrets like to run around and explore, so you can set up stairs and other structures that the animal can climb to exercise. 
  • Hold your ferret close to your chest and rub its belly and head. Pet ferrets love belly rubs and soft scratches, but if you feel that the ferret is pushing your hand away, then it’s best to leave it alone until it’s ready to interact with you. 

Why Else Do Ferrets Lick Their Owners?

Ferrets and other pets use their bodies to express their emotions, and kisses are common among pet ferrets and not just to show emotions. Ferrets can actually kiss you on the face, nose, or mouth for several reasons. 

  • Your ferret might be trying to clean your face off food. If you’ve recently had a meal that the ferret likes, it’ll be able to smell its scent and will try to clean up any scraps left on your mouth. 
  • The ferret might like the scent or taste of your toothpaste, so it’ll try to lick any remains.
  • Ferrets lick their bodies to groom themselves, so your ferret will lick and kiss you because it’s trying to groom you. If your ferret thinks that you’re dirty, it’ll try to lick different parts of your body for grooming. It might get this idea because you haven’t washed your hands well after eating or because you’re using a lotion that it likes. 
  • A ferret might kiss you to prompt you to play with it. This can be the ferret’s way to grab your attention, so you can hold it and give it a few scratches. 
  • Your ferret might be trying to grab your attention. For example, if you’re focusing on a book or watching TV, instead of looking at it and playing with it, it’ll kiss your face and hands so you can play with it or look at it. 
  • Your ferret might be kissing you because it’s irritated. As a matter of fact, in this case, this interaction won’t be considered kissing. It’s usually the ferret’s way of warning you that it might bite you. 
A ferret could lick to show it’s aggression

Can It Be Bad When Ferrets Lick Their Owners?

When a ferret licks its owner, it can be a sign of affection, or it can be a warning sign. 

A ferret can lick its owner for various reasons, and it’s your job to try to understand what the ferret is trying to tell you.

For example, if you’ve been playing with your pet ferret, it’ll most likely lick you to show happiness and affection. However, if you have two pet ferrets and they’re acting aggressively, one of them might try to lick you to mark you as their territory. 

A ferret might also lick you because you smell like food or because your body is sweaty. It can also warn you because you haven’t fed it for quite some time, so it’ll lick you as a warning before it actually bites you. 

In some cases, excessive licking can lead to health problems. The germs on the ferret’s lips and tongues can actually make you sick, so you need to be careful about your pet ferret kissing and licking your lips. 

What About When a Ferret Licks Your Face?

Ferrets lick themselves for grooming, but they might lick your face to groom you, warn you, or taste you

  • A ferret might lick your face because it actually likes you. This will be the ferrets’ way to show their affection. 
  • The ferret might be trying to groom you as a sign of love and care. 
  • If your face is sweaty, the ferret might be attracted to the scent and will try to lick your face. Ferrets have strong noses that they use to locate their prey because of their poor eyesight, so they’ll be attracted to your sweat. 
  • A cream or lotion you’re using on your face can attract the ferret’s attention. It might be licking your face to taste the product you’re using on your skin. 
  • Your ferret might be curious and simply trying to taste you to better understand you. These animals have poor eyesight and will try to identify you by licking your face. 
  • Your ferret might have missed you. Ferrets might suffer from separation anxiety, and if you leave the house for extended periods, it’ll probably lick you the moment it sees you. 
  • Your ferret might be excited about a new toy, so it’ll try to show its happiness by licking you. 
  • Ferrets are territorial animals, so they might try to lick you to show that you belong to them. 
  • Your pet ferret might be hungry, so it’ll try to lick you to tell you that it’s feeding time. 

What are Ferret Kisses?

Animals lack verbal means of communication, so they’ll use movements and gestures to show you how they feel. 

Just like humans, a ferret will kiss you because it likes you. As a matter of fact, it might be imitating you when you kiss it to show your love and affection. So, if you tend to kiss your ferret often, it’ll most likely kiss you back.

Ferrets are lovable pets, and they’ll appreciate the attention you’re giving them. When you spend a lot of time taking care of your pet, playing with it, and making sure that it’s safe and warm, it’ll love you and try to show its affection. 

How Else Do Ferrets Show Affection?

Ferrets are smart and affectionate animals, and they use their body to express their emotions. Here are some ways ferrets show their affection. 

  • When the ferret is happy and excited to see you, it will try to jump on you or do the weasel war dance. Then, it’ll hop around you in circles to show its happiness. 
  • The ferret will try to lick you to express that it has missed you or that it actually likes to spend time with you. 
  • A ferret will try to kiss you on the face and hands to show that it likes you. 
  • Your pet ferret will enjoy sitting in your lap, pushing its body against yours to show that it actually feels safe around you. 

Why Won’t My Ferret Stop Licking Me?!

Having a friendly ferret is enjoyable because these little animals are fun to have around. But in some cases, your pet ferret can be obsessive about licking you. This can happen for several reasons. 

  • You might just have an affectionate pet that actually likes to lick and kiss you. In this case, the ferret might be trying to show you that it cares about you by grooming you or kissing your face the same way you kiss it. 
  • Your ferret might actually love the scent of the food you’re eating. If you don’t clean your mouth and hands well after eating, your ferret might be trying to taste your food by licking your face.
  • Your pet ferret might be licking you non-stop because you’re encouraging this behavior. Unfortunately, reinforcing bad behavior is quite common among pet owners because they don’t know how to train their pets. If you let your pet ferret kiss and lick you all the time, it’ll understand that this is acceptable behavior, and it won’t stop. 

How to Get Your Ferret to Stop Licking You!

One of the reasons why ferrets make great pets is that they’re easy to train. So, if you don’t like that your ferret is licking you all the time, you can actually train it to stop

  • Stop kissing your pet ferret all the time. Instead, rub its belly and hold it to show your love. 
  • Ignore bad behavior. If your ferret licks you to grab your attention, don’t respond or play with it. 
  • Reinforce good behavior by playing more often with your ferret when it stops licking you. 
  • Use treats and toys to keep your pet ferret occupied. 
  • Make sure that everyone in the family follows the same routine. 


A ferret might be licking you to show its affection and love. But ferrets kiss and lick their owners for several reasons. 

Spending time with your pet ferret is fun, but if you don’t like it licking you all the time, you can teach it to stop by ignoring this bad behavior and keeping it occupied.