Skip to Content

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. The most common you must have seen would probably be in dogs.

This is an apparent behavior in all dogs and can have different meanings attached to it depending on the situation. Ferrets too wag their tails, but not all of them do.

Sometimes when the adrenaline is triggered, they exhibit certain behaviors, which include tail wagging. Ferret owners mainly misinterpret tail wagging among ferrets.

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

But first, let us get it cleared up a little bit before we dive-in. Why do ferrets really wag their tails? Tag wagging is another of your ferrets telling you of their mood. It is either they are excited or scared about something. If the tail is puffy with no other sign of distress, it means the ferret is happy or excited about seeing something or playing with her fellow.

Why Ferrets Wag Their Tails?

Tail wagging among ferrets is rare, but when that 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? You notice their tail wag when your ferrets play around with mate, and they seem to have succeeded or be a winner in their own little space.

As the tail moves majestically and rapidly To and Fro against the surface, it becomes fuzzy and making the tip of the tail to vibrate. Sometimes most people tag this behavior as tail beating. 

Your ferret having a puffy tail can also signify fear. If your ferret is chirping at you and withdrawing, you must know that she is frightened.

When this happens, your ferret makes some puffy tail waggling. At this point, you do not need to do anything.

Instead, whisper some soft word and leave the ferret alone to get back to his/her self with time. 

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

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 exploring a new environment. Some just prefer their usual environment. 

In as much as ferrets are rare tail wagers, 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.

Interesting READ  How To Make Your Ferret Cuddle With You

Tail Wagging As A Form of Communication

understand ferrets body languages

Ferrets are not like humans but have some behavioral characteristics similar to dogs, which is tail wagging. They communicate in various ways using body language and signs.  This has been the only way they communicate their feelings.

The rarest sign you may not have taken note of is the tail wagging sign. However, they are lots of signs you still need to look out for if you own a ferret. So, as a pet owner need to understand these signs and respond quickly. 

Tail wagging can mean a lot to so many people. Personally, I believe the response your ferret gives you through tail wagging depends on how he or she is brought up.

Apart from tail wagging resulting from being happy or sad, your ferret could also be telling you other things via tail wagging. In fact, if your ferret wags his or her tail when happy, it does not stop there.

She could also be happy and as well as trying to tell you something different. Either they want to feel cuddled or play around.

They are many behaviors that can result in tail wagging, but if you have been with your ferret for long, you would be able to get along and understand what they are trying to communicate whenever they wag their tails. 

When Do Ferrets Wag Their Tails

What other ways have you seen your ferret wag his or her tails? Common occasions you must have seen could probably be when they are playing games with each other.

There are other ways your ferrets exhibit tail-wagging behavior. If you are keen on your ferret, you should be able to notice tail wagging on one of these occasions.

Let us take it down to understand the different occasions you would probably see your buddy wagging her tail.

Wrestling: 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 would see them wag their tail. They could be no concrete meaning attach 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 win a game with other ferrets.

Whenever you hear this sound, it could be either be saying many things such as o “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.

Interesting READ  Why Is My Ferret Freaking Out After A Bath? (3 reasons!)

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, they will like to pour it out to free themselves.

dancing ferrets

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

Whenever you see your ferret showing off some acrobatic styles, hoping, bumping into things, and wagging her tail alongside, you should know she is happy. A tail-wagging always accompanies it, and it is a major sign to show off their happy mood.


Barking Ferrets: Upset ferrets will bark loudly or whimpers quietly to scare off predators or show off some level of intolerance in your character. When they bark in such a manner, 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, social bully.

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 their own 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.

He could also see her trying to help you with works, hoping 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 A Fluffy Tail 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 a 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 of such is their tail wagging. It could be hard at first, but close monitoring will give you a heads-up to what meaning is attached to their tail wagging.

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 just expect your ferret to be happily wagging tail at first adoption. You would need to pay close attention to learn as much as possible as you can.

Because most of this period, she will be frightened and has not gotten used to the new environment. Give it some time to get used to you and the environment.