Why Do Ferrets Lick Their Lips? 5 Genuine Facts

Ferrets often lick their owners out of affection. But sometimes, they also lick their lips. Their habitual lip licking is one peculiar practice that prompts many inquiries.

So, why do ferrets lick their lips? To sum up, grooming, unusual tastes and odors, reacting to stress or fear, health issues, and even communicating nonverbally can be a few of the reasons behind their lip licking.

We have given a broad thought to this. Let’s figure it out in brief!

Why Do Ferrets Lick Their Lips: 5 Different Reasons

Why Do Ferrets Lick Their Lips

Ferrets tend to lick their lips due to several reasons. Some of the most common reasons are given below.

As A Sign Of Their Submission

While they are feared or stressed, they tend to lick their lips. As a result, you can assume that this can be a form of gesture to let you know about the surrender in the situation.

When challenged with a dominating or scary presence, such as another ferret or a larger animal, they tend to lick their lips more. Therefore, they want to show that they are harmless to the potential aggressor.

Health Issues

Sometimes, ferrets may lick their lips more due to their health issues like dental problems, mouth pain, or stomach distress. Dental issues are commonly seen in ferrets. Thus, they might lick their lips more due to the distress.

New Smell Or Taste

Ferrets have a very strong sense of smell and taste. If they can smell something unusual, they tend to respond to it through gestures like lip licking.

Besides, their recent consumption of a particularly tasty dessert or snack can also introduce this behavior. Sometimes they do so when they come into contact with foreign objects. This is a way of responding to the environment.


Ferrets may communicate with other partners through lip licking. This is a form of nonverbal communication that they use to convey certain messages,

When dealing with more dominant ferrets or other animals, licking one’s lips might be a gesture of submission or appeasement. But it can also show that your ferret is stressed or triggered.


Ferrets like to stay clean. Like cats, they often lick themselves to clean their bodies. They use their tongue to clean their paws and cheeks, including their lips.

Therefore lip licking is an integral component of their grooming ritual. This is a crucial part of a ferret’s self-care routine since it keeps them smelling fresh and prevents any possible predators.

Health Concerns That Might Cause Ferrets Lip Licking

As we already mentioned, constant lip licking by your ferret may be an indication of a serious health problem. Constant lip licking in ferrets has been linked to several health problems, including the following:

  • Dental Issues: Tooth deterioration, gingivitis, and damaged or missing teeth can cause your ferret to constantly lick his/her lips. This is because when they feel uncomfortable in the mouth area, they try to lick their lips to reduce the distress. They might also do so if they have any infection or soreness in the mouth area.
  • Gastrointestinal Problem: Sometimes, ferrets also lick their lips when they are troubled by gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea or indigestion. This can be induced by several things, including poor nutrition or an infection. Lip licking is a form of healing attempt for them in such a case.
  • Foreign Object Consumption: Ferrets’ constant lip licking may occur when they consume something foreign and choke. The ferrets constantly lick their lips if they have consumed something foreign that is causing irritation or pain. Alongside, you might look for other symptoms.
  • Stress And Anxiety: Like humans, ferrets have specific behaviors that they show while they are stressed. Constant lip licking can be an indicator of stress or worry in ferrets. Housing conditions, social interactions with other ferrets and animals, and recent changes may cause this.

Why Do Ferrets Lick Their Lips While Sleeping?

You might notice your ferret licking their lips while sleeping. As this is one of their behavioral aspects, you shouldn’t be worried.

Ferrets may lick their lips during their sleep cycles. Like cats, dogs, and humans, they enter different sleep cycles, and they dream! Therefore, if they are dreaming of sensual experiences, such as tasting or smelling something delicious, or grooming actions, they might start licking their lips.

Besides, their sense of smell and taste remains active even when they are asleep. As a result, the surrounding sensory triggers may cause them to lick their lips while sleeping. This may also occur due to their natural habitat of grooming.

Where Does Ferret Like To Lick?

Apart from the lips, ferrets often lick other parts of their body being careful self-groomers. Mostly, they lick their paws to remove any dirt or foreign particles picked up while exploring.

Also, they can lick their face, the regions around their eyes, and lips to remain clean from dirt. Like cats, they tend to lick their tails too if they notice anything dirty.

Grooming is also frequently done on the stomach and chest. The cleanliness of these areas is maintained by the careful licking of ferrets.

Do Ferrets Lick Their Owners?

Yes, like other pets, ferrets also lick their owners to show a form of affection. Their licking means that they are kissing their owners. This is their way of expressing affection and trust to their human companions.

Final Words

Knowing why do ferrets lick their lips will save you from many untimely worries. But this might be a matter of concern if your ferret is licking lips due to any underlying health issues.

Therefore, it’s a must to check whether your ferret’s health is content or not while s/he is constantly showing such lip licking. Ferret owners should keep an eye out for symptoms of excessive licking, especially in one area.