Why Do Ferrets Steal – [How To Prevent It]

Sometimes, your beloved pet ferret turns into a sneaky thief that may leave you baffled and bemused. Ferrets have a playful character, but this sneaky behavior is wondering, and you may be thinking, why do ferrets steal?

Living with ferrets means being full of excitement. But they can steal anything and everything that is set in their little paws. Typically, ferrets naturally have a strong impulse to steal when there is no obvious motivation. They are used to play with this stuff and enjoy it.

Why Do Ferrets Steal?

Why Do Ferrets Steal

Ferrets are known for their mischievous and playful nature, but the tendency to steal is not a welcoming behavior. There are a few possible reasons for this behavior.

1. Natural Behavior

Ferrets are born with a kleptos nature. In the wild, they are skilled hunters and opportunistic scavengers. This instinct has been passed down through generations. Their wild cousins needed to be resourceful to survive. They hunt and gather food and then stash it away for later consumption.

Ferrets tend to hoard and stash objects. Even though domesticated ferrets are provided with a steady supply of food, this instinct is still present. By stealing and stashing objects, ferrets try to fulfill their instinctual need to hoard and secure resources.

2. Stash Food

While it may not be accurate to claim that ferrets “steal” food, their tendency to stash it is a fascinating behavior rooted in their evolutionary history. It’s a legacy from their ancestors and sheds light on the unique way ferrets interact with their meals.

When it comes to mealtime, ferrets are typically sensible eaters. They won’t overindulge or overeat. They eat as per their capacity. If there is food left, they stash the leftovers somewhere in the home or in their cage.

Food-stashing isn’t driven by a fear of going hungry; it’s an instinct that harks back to the days when ferrets roamed the wild. In their natural habitat, ferrets couldn’t be certain when their next meal would be. So, they developed the habit of hiding away excess food as a survival tactic.

3. Possessive Nature

Inherent possessiveness is another reason ferrets are prone to pilfering and hiding objects. If your ferret has a favorite toy, they will love to hide somewhere safe. In their eyes, this isn’t just a plaything; it’s a possession. They are quite possessive of their favorite items and don’t want to share them with anyone, be it another pet or a human.

To safeguard their treasures, ferrets take it upon themselves to stash these items in hidden nooks and crannies. You might find that favorite toy hidden under the couch, behind the TV stand, or even in a kitchen cabinet.

4. Playfulness and Mischievousness

Ferrets are known for their playful and mischievous nature. Their boundless energy and insatiable curiosity make them perpetual adventurers in their own right. From darting through tunnels to engaging in friendly wrestling matches, they find joy in every moment.

Just like children enjoy playing with toys and exploring their environment, ferrets see stealing objects as a fun and engaging activity. They enjoy the challenge of sneaking around and “stealing” items from their environment.

For ferrets, stealing isn’t merely about acquiring possessions; it’s often a thrilling game. When they snatch an item – be it a sock, a shiny trinket, or your car keys, they’re engaging in an exciting game of “catch me if you can.”

5. Curiosity and Exploration

Ferrets are naturally curious creatures with an insatiable thirst for exploration. They are born explorers. Their boundless curiosity fuels their desire to investigate every nook and cranny, making them perpetual adventurers in their own right.

Ferrets are always seeking new experiences and stimuli. By stealing objects, they investigate and interact with their environment in a unique way.

What Things Ferrets Steal?

It’s a tricky question to answer as it depends on your ferret’s personality and preferences. Some owners say that they steal anything that they can move.

Ferrets can steal a wide range of items like socks, remote controls, balls, wallets, keys, small toys, etc. Actually, there are no specific things that encourage ferrets to steal. Anything shiny or reflective is like a magnet for ferrets. Jewelry, coins, or even reflective surfaces on appliances can captivate their attention.

However, there are items that you must never allow your ferret to steal, as they pose significant health risks. You should keep away makeup, lotions, shampoo bottles, medicine, etc. These can contain chemicals harmful to ferrets if ingested.

To safeguard your ferret’s well-being, ensure that potentially dangerous items are out of their reach. Keep the bathroom door close to avoid accidents.

Ferret-proofing your home is crucial to prevent accidental encounters with these forbidden items. If you suspect your ferret has ingested something harmful or is displaying signs of illness, seek immediate veterinary care. Being vigilant about what your ferret can access will help keep them safe and happy in their playful adventures.

Can You Prevent Ferrets From Stealing?

Ferret develops stealing nature due to their instincts and curiosity. It is a behavior deeply ingrained in these playful creatures. It is important for ferret owners to understand and manage this stealing behavior. While it may be amusing at times, it can also be frustrating if valuable or dangerous items are frequently stolen.

While it may not be wise to entirely prevent them from indulging in this quirky habit, there are ways to manage and guide their pilfering tendencies toward safer alternatives.

First and foremost, understand that ferrets steal not out of mischief but due to their instincts. Instead of trying to stop them, focus on channeling their behavior into more suitable directions.

For items your ferret loves to steal but are potentially harmful, provide safe substitutes. If makeup is a favorite target, offer empty makeup containers. But make sure the stuff is big enough for them to swallow.

Identify your ferret’s favorite stashing spots. These could be under the couch, behind furniture, or in dark corners. Regularly inspect and clean these areas, removing non-toy items to maintain a safe environment.

Consider crafting a designated stashing location for your ferret. Use an old box and fill it with soft blankets to make it inviting. Place this box in a hidden, safe corner of your home. With a little encouragement, your ferret may choose this spot for their treasure hoard.

It is recommended to provide plenty of appropriate toys and interactive activities for your ferret to keep them mentally stimulated and entertained. Additionally, training and redirecting their behavior towards more suitable play activities can help discourage stealing behavior.


The reasons behind ferret stealing behavior can vary, from the instinct to play and hoard to their natural curiosity and exploration. You have to understand your ferret’s natural instincts and tendencies. You can coexist harmoniously with their playful thievery.

Have patience and make your home ferret-proof to ensure a safe environment.