What Is the Ferret War Dance?

ferret-war-dance Credit: Wendy Shattil and Bob Rozinski/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

The ferret war dance consists of a series of backwards and sideways hops, often with an arched back and a bushy tail, while emitting a series of clucking vocalizations. Also known as the weasel war dance, it's common to several members of the weasel family, including stoats and polecats.

Among wild animals, the dance is probably used to confuse and disorient the animal's prey. Among domestic animals, the behavior usually follows play or the successful capture of a toy, and it's a sign of enjoyment. The dance usually begins and ends with the animal placing its forepaws on the ground, head up and mouth open.