When Ferrets Attack

My friend Clark is the principal for a rural Illinois school district, and he sent me this story. Enjoy.

One of our fourth grade classes returned from lunch today and proceeded to do what they always do – sit down and listen to a story read by the teacher.  This teacher has several classroom pets – hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, and a ferret.  Students who have completed about each animal are allowed to hold the animals during story time.  One youngster liberated a hamster from the cage and was petting it and carrying it around.  Another student was holding the ferret, and the first student approached the second to say something.

During that moment, the ferret realized that its need for a REAL lunch was right there and strikes.  The ferret gets the hamster by the neck and sinks in its teeth.  The hamster chomps down on finger of the child holding it.  Chaos ensues.  The teacher has to wrench the jaws of the dying hamster to get the child out of the bite.  Nothing could convince the ferret to let go of the hamster, and it ends up with a large chunk of hamster flesh in its bloody maw.  The maimed hamster makes a final trip out of the room for a coup de’grace and the child goes to the doctor.

Needless to say, the social worker had to visit the classroom.

I can only imagine the tears and screaming that must have ensued. The only thing that would have made this better is if the class was currently doing a unit on Charles Darwin.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. susie says:

    Ferrets are not appropriate pets for children at any age, much less in a classroom! Ferret are carnivores and have been used for centuries for rodent extermination and rabbit hunting. Ferret will attack any rodent because of natural instincts. Ferrets do not like to be restrained. I sent an email to person wanting a ferret for a DAY CARE, explaining why they are not appropriate for kids – She wrote back “I didn’t know that about ferrets” Any teacher should have done research on any animal in a classroom or have owned one. DON’T BLAME THE FERRET – it’s the teachers fault

  2. Mikey says:

    Gosh, Mike. I left a reply to this one some time ago…am I being censored? Just because I made animal cruelty and zombie rodent jokes? Oh the humanity!!

    Lemme guess…the previous commentor is either a teacher or a parent at your school. Right?


  3. Veronica says:

    I never heard of anyone keeping ferrets and RODENTS, ferrets eat the same things as a cat, just like you wouldnt hold a cat up to a hamster you wouldnt do it with a ferret either obviously. Ferrets just happen to be less domesticated than cats and have less controll over their instincts

  4. Mike says:

    Susie — I don’t think anyone’s blaming the ferret. They’re mostly calling the teacher an idiot because obviously she didn’t think things through.

    Mikey — You left your original comment on another post. :) Don’t know who Susie is, but she must be a ferret enthusiast judging by her blog link.

    Veronica — A friend of mine owned 2 ferrets and their experiences ran the same way.


  5. Mikey says:

    Just another indicator that I’m a dork…like *that’s* really necessary.

    Any chance you could migrate it, or is proof that I’m simply a walking, talking brainstem left alone in a cold and irrelevant thread necessary? Or, on the third hand, is moving it not an option? On the fifth tentacle, maybe it was never posted?


    PS: Don’t ask about the fourth pelapod…it’s busy right no……………eh!! Whoo!! That’s better. Now…what were we talking about?

  6. Mike says:

    WordPress doesn’t have a way to move them around. I thought about deleting it, but then realized it would be more fun to point and laugh. ;)

  7. Bradleigh says:

    I have a trained ferret and she has never bit me. She is a very nice ferret. I am in sixth Grade and I am Doing a project on them. Thats just one insident in the world… Show me more to convince me!!!

  8. public school teacher says:

    I totally disagree in generalizing that ferrets are poor pet choices for the classroom! Obviously, in the case mentioned, the teacher did not do her homework and chose to have the ferret”s “lunch” in the same room. However, my gentle ferret has been in my classroom daily for 2 years and has brought nothing but joy to my elementary students. If I had an aggressive ferret, it would not be in the classroom. Hogwash to the statement that they are not good for the classroom. Mine is gentle and the kids love her! Never bit anyone-possibly because I trained her well.

    • Another public school teacher says:

      I completely agree with your above comment, PST. :)
      I teach a grade 1-2 classroom and have 3 ferrets that have visited 3-4 days a week for the past 4 years. I have not had a single episode in the entire time with my ferrets either at school or at home (I have 5 children). BUT…..that is with some good education, SUPERVISION and respect for the animals and children.

      The classroom in question above needed to impliment some simple rules. The teacher could start with: restricting access to ferrets by kids, no carrying them around, clean floor AT ALL TIMES, walking slowly when ferrets are strolling, giving the ferrets “break time” away from the kids at my home, etc.

      Common sense, I think.

  9. Jezz says:

    A well trained ferret that’s been given a lot of attention is not a threat to the students. The teacher wasn’t too bright to let the ferret and hamster out of their cages at the same time, so the accident is really all on her.

    For the record, I have kids, as well as 4 ferrets, and they are the only pets I’ve ever had that not only tolerate, but enjoy the high energy antics of my youngest child. A well cared for ferret is no more a threat to children than cats or dogs. They are far more gentle than many realize. I fully believe trained ferrets are an excellent addition to the classroom! I wouldn’t trade mine for the world!

    • Mike says:

      We were just at the City Museum in St Louis, and they had several points in the aquarium where people were welcome to reach in and touch the animals. One of those was a pair of ferrets. They’re obviously used to human contact because one had no problem with my kids reaching in and stroking its back and tail, and the other slept right through all the noise everyone was making around us.

  10. john says:

    i have a 2 ferrets and 1 is not trained yet but the other is nicest thing ever (the other 1 i got like 4 days ago so havnt had much time)but i think ferrets are great pets (when trained)

  11. Liza says:

    Dogs and cats are carnivores as well as Ferrets, it’s not a classification unique to ferrets (look it up). And they are ALL predators with claws and sharp teeth, and they all have their own distinct temperments and personaliies. I agree that ferrets are not appropriate for young children, but all animal pets have their risks. Dogs attack children, cats, small animals, and even other dogs, all the time, but I guarantee you that if you suggested that a dog was not appropriate in an environment with children, people would be up in arms.