Why Do Ferrets Steal?6 min read

Ferrets have a propensity for stealing. This quirk has developed over the centuries, and it has not gone unnoticed by humans. Why do ferrets steal?

You might be asking why your little fuzzy friend enjoys stealing items off counters, taking socks out of the dryer, or constantly grabbing your best pencils, keys, sponges, …

There are many guesses as to why ferrets steal, but none of them seem to be backed up with sound evidence and research.

Why Do Ferrets Steal Stuff?

The best guesses are that it is a nesting instinct or if it’s the food they are hiding away, they stash it up for bad times.

Because … you never know. This can happen, especially if they are not the only pets in your house. They’re making sure that they get their share of the food.

What do Ferrets Steal?

It’s mostly smaller items they steal. But it’s not uncommon to see your ferret dragging around a stuffed animal that is the same size as them.

Some ferrets like to steal rubber, plastic, and leather items. They make good toys as they can make squeaking noises that ferrets enjoy. Other ferrets have “special taste” for things such as children’s game cards or marbles, which are almost impossible to retrieve once stolen.

Ever wondered where your favorite pair of socks went? Well, if you have ferrets in your household, chances are they’re under your bed or up in the loft, or …

The ferret may have been watching you sleep and decided that it was an excellent time to look for an alternate hiding place for their loot.

Ferrets are just too damn cute not to steal from you, and they don’t want to be caught doing it. Other ferrets like to hoard shiny objects. They have been known to steal jewelry, watches, earrings…

Often, they don’t actually eat or destroy the things they take. They just hide them away.

Things to be Careful Not to Let Ferrets Steal

Be wary not to let them snatch items that could be harmful.

Keep Small Things Out of their Reach

Most ferrets have the tendency to pick up items that are small enough to fit in their mouths. Your best bet would be to keep all small things out of their reach.

Ferrets are very curious when it comes to, well… everything! They will try and chew on just about anything. So it’s a good idea to get them a nice, safe, solid toy for them to play with and relieve their curiosity with.

Dangerous things ferrets like to steal:

  • pencils
  • gloves (vinyl/rubber)
  • balloons
  • makeup
  • candles
  • styrofoam
  • erasers
  • sponges
  • pacifiers (rubber parts)
  • nipples from baby bottles
  • earplugs (foam/rubber)
  • buttons from remote controls
  • rubber feet on electronics
  • soft latex toys
  • …you name it 🙂

Basically, everything they could swallow and could cause a blockage should be kept out of reach…

Why Do Ferrets Like Shiny Things?

Many ferrets have specialties. Like master thieves, ferrets have a specialty in a particular rubric…

Sometimes rubbery things are the only things one particular ferret will steal and hide. Another loves stuffed animals. Some ferrets go bonkers over things that rattle or squeak.

Just assume that they will take and hide anything they can carry.

Some ferrets like shining things because they look good. Shiny things draw them in. They also tend to make a different noise than non-shiny items (I was looking for my car keys once, found them behind a drawer).

These noises may cause the ferret to want to investigate what is making these sounds.

If you find that your ferret is still stealing things even after you’ve taken all your valuables out of their reach, then there is only one thing you can do…

Put everything out of their reach that is valuable to you. Choose a few items you are ok with losing – and place those around your house.

Your ferret will be happy – and so will you. You’ll know where all your valuables are, and they can play with whatever it is they “stole” from you.

More than one pet? Feed-in separate rooms

Stealing food is more common in households with more than one pet. If your ferret is stealing for food… either you need to make sure their food bowl is always full or get separate feeding stations or, even better different rooms for each pet.

This is because ferrets like to take food from their hands. If you’re feeding two ferrets, one will steal from the other. Or if you have a cat or dog – very likely your ferret will try to snatch some of their food.

Sometimes ferrets will store treats that they don’t like under the couch or another place to hide them. If nothing better is offered, they may eventually return to their stash and eat whatever they stored there.

Or they may not, and one day you’ll notice a weird smell …

If you have more than one ferret, quite often, the other ferret will steal from the first one. Because if your ferret sees that his friend is eating something that they do not like, they will take it too.

Some people deal with this by putting all the food in different kinds of bowls, which means sometimes the food is shared and sometimes it’s separate.

The more separate areas there are for feeding each pet, the less likely stealing will happen.

Stealing Behavior

Although stealing behavior may be annoying, it is a natural behavior for ferrets. Ferrets are members of the weasel family and are predators by nature. They will steal food from other animals as well as humans and hoard their “loot.

Is it normal for ferrets to steal?

Yes – Ferrets don’t steal because they are mean or bad little critters. It’s most likely their nesting instinct kicking in. They want to make a nice and cozy nest.

So, they are not stealing. They are simply following ferrets’ natural inclinations.

What do I do if my ferret steals from me?

There is no need to panic if you find your ferret stealing items from around the house. That’s normal behavior. Often, they are doing this because they are bored and need something to do, or their nesting instincts are kicking in.

If you find that your ferret has taken something from around the house, try giving them a toy or treat to leave whatever it is in exchange. It may work … or not.

But other than that, there is not much you can do 🙂 Enjoy watching your little thieves dragging stuff to their secret hoard … I think it’s actually really cute when they are doing that.


Ferrets are not bad. They are just doing what ferrets do. It is their natural instinct to steal stuff from you. Either their nesting instincts are kicking in, or they are bored. But anything that your ferret steals is most likely because they want to. Sometimes they steal food – to save it for later, or because they don’t like it and wait for something better …

Other than that, their stealing is actually really sweet 🙂

I hope you’ve found this article on why do ferrets steal useful. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them – please leave them below.

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