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Why Do Ferrets Wag Their Tails? Are They Happy Or Sad?

Tail wagging is common among animals, and different animals have different meanings attached to their wagging. Some ferrets too wag their tails.

Sometimes when their adrenaline is triggered, ferrets exhibit tail wagging. Tail wagging usually means a ferret is excited or scared about something. If their tail is puffy, it means they are happy.

Sometimes ferret owners misinterpret ferret tail wagging.

In this article, we will deeply explore all you need to know about your beautiful buddy wagging her tail.

Why do ferrets wag their tails?

Tail wagging among ferrets is rare, but when it happens, it is something worth watching. Many people see it as weird.

But if you have ever trained a ferret, you would have noticed the unexpected demonstration of a frenzied tail wagging from your ferret. 

So, how does this happen?

They are happy.

You may notice their tail wag when your ferrets play around with mates.

As the tail moves majestically and rapidly to and fro against the surface, it becomes fuzzy and makes the tip of the tail vibrate. This behavior is called tail beating. This usually occurs when your ferret has won the play fight.

They are afraid.

Your ferret can also have a puffy tail when they are afraid. If your ferret is chirping at you and withdrawing, she is telling you she is frightened.

When this happens,  whisper some soft words and leave the ferret alone. This will give her time to calm down.

They are adventurous.

You may see your ferret wagging her tail when she is exploring a new environment or going out for the first time. This is not the usual behavior in all ferrets.

I once led my ferret out of his regular cage to a new place; he took off like a rocket and ran back to his cage. Not all ferret finds it fun to explore a new environment. Some just prefer their usual environment. 

In as much as ferrets are rare tail-waggers, this attribute can be found in ferrets with unique and dominant personalities. And most of their tail wagging is done when they are having a joyful moment with themselves by playing games with other ferrets.

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Tail Wagging as a Form of Communication

understand ferrets body languages

Ferrets are not like humans but have some behavioral characteristics similar to dogs, like tail wagging. They communicate in various ways using body language and signs.  

As a pet owner, you need to understand these signs and respond quickly. 

Tail-wagging can mean different things based on the ferret’s personality. Personally, I believe the response your ferret gives you through tail-wagging depends on how he or she is brought up.

Apart from being happy or sad, your ferret could also be telling you other things via tail wagging. 

Many behaviors can result in tail wagging, but if you have been with your ferret for a long time, you should be able to understand what they are trying to communicate. 

When do ferrets wag their tails?

What other ways have you seen your ferret wag his or her tails?  Let us look at common occasions you can see your ferret wagging their tail. 


Wrestling is typical behavior among ferrets. This is what they do in the wild and domesticating them makes no difference.

Either they are aggressively wrestling or just wrestling for fun; you might see them wag their tail. They could be no concrete meaning attached to this.

However, the reason could be they are enjoying their wrestle or either of them seems to be winning.

Dooking and Jumping

Whenever ferrets are happy, they make a noise called dooking. You usually hear this noise whenever they are delighted, jumping, or successfully winning a game with other ferrets.

Whenever you hear this sound, they could be saying: “I’m super excited” or “Wow! I love this new place.” This noise is also accompanied by tail wagging showing their happy mood.

Even when they chase others in the process, you also see them exhibit their tail-wagging habit. It is fun to see them do that, and with excitement, they hop on your leg and use their tail to whip your body to tell you they are ready to play.

Dancing for Excitement

Another occasion you can see your ferret wag her tail is when they are dancing for excitement. Ferrets are animals that, when they are full of energy, like to express it. 

dancing ferrets

Some new pet owners find it challenging to understand when their ferret is dancing for joy. Here is what happens!

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Whenever you see your ferret showing off some acrobatic styles, hopping, bumping into things, and wagging her tail, you should know she is happy. 

Barking Ferrets

Upset ferrets will bark loudly or whimper quietly to scare off predators or show off some level of intolerance. When they bark, they also wag their tail.

This does not show they are happy; instead, it shows aggressiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is tail-wagging a good sign?

Tail wagging is a form of communication from your ferret. As much as some tail wagging can be a good sign that your ferret is happy, others could mean unhappiness, fear, or social bullying.

Sometimes it is a sign for you not to get closed else you will get bitten.

Do ferrets wag their tail when they love you?

Ferrets are incredibly loving animals and have a way of showing affection to their owners. So how do you know if your ferret loves you? Your ferrets will run to you to welcome you whenever you come home and wag their tail to show affection.

You could also see her trying to help you with work, hopping on you, licking, trying to kiss you, and fluffing her tail on your face.

Do Ferrets Wag Their Tail When They Love You?

Why do ferrets show off fluffy tails when they wag?

When your ferret fluffs their tail, it could either mean they are excited or frightened. If your ferret shows off a fluffy-wagging tail and she backs out and hisses, it means she is frightened and needs to be left alone.

If she is doing that during vigorous play, it means she is happy.


Your ferret is your best buddy when well-taken care of. You need to understand your ferret’s behavior to be able to interact well with her.

One such behavior is tail wagging. It could be hard to tell at first, but close monitoring will give you a heads-up to what your ferret is trying to tell you.

Remember that it might take a while for your ferret to get used to you after adoption. Most of their tail wagging could signify fear.

You should not expect your ferret to be happily wagging its tail at first adoption. Pay close attention to learn as much as you can. Give it some time to get used to you and the environment.