There is a video of a ferret biting on someone's hand, guiding it towards a shoebox filled with kits (baby ferrets). It tends to appear alongside the claim that the ferret wants its caregiver to meet her kits.

As adorable as that may sound, it also sounds unlikely (at least to me). I know pets learn to trust their caregiver to the point where they'll let them handle their offspring, but insisting on it?

I've seen some argue that the ferret mistakes the fingers for more kits (on one hand, their eyesight is relatively poor. on the other hand, their sense of smell is excellent).

I don't expect a conclusive answer as it pertains to ferrets, but I do wonder if a similar phenomenon has been explored in any other animal.

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    From the video you can also claim that a ferret attacked a finger which was approaching her babies. She tried to pull it away, but a person moved a finger with a ferret towards her babies :-). This also sounds counterintuitive to me because I know that even females of non-aggressive species become aggressive when they have babies Jul 15, 2017 at 11:28
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    @SalvadorDali judging by the body movement, it looks like the ferret was struggling to pull the finger (heh heh) towards the babies. Also, they may become more aggressive, but they don't just flat out turn aggressive towards everyone. I don't know if ferrets are as domesticated as dogs (I assume they're domesticated since I read somewhere they can't actually survive in the wild, but haven't looked into that claim), but a female dog, for example, won't show aggression towards her owner if he approached her babies if she was treated well by her owner. Jul 15, 2017 at 14:28
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    I can't give you a citation, but I can give an anecdote from my experience raising cats. I've had mom cats pick up her kittens and bring them to me, and I've had mom cats meow at me to follow and "force" me to find her kittens (then she follows me as I move them someplace safe). The ferret just looks like it's a bit more aggressive in showing her owner than the mother cats I've raised are.
    – Kevin Fee
    Jul 17, 2017 at 17:54
  • Could it be that the animal wants their offspring to be accepted into the pack, as they have been, by the Alpha Male/Female of the pack? You might expect that wild dogs and wolves do this sort of thing, but would cats and ferrets (I think they are lone animals) 'forced' to live in pack situations still have this behaviour imprinted in their brains? Jul 18, 2017 at 12:19


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