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Ferret Digs Food Out Of Bowl Sometimes

Is it normal for a ferret to dig food out of its bowl?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: November 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Q: Our pet ferret, Peanut, has an unusual behavior. Sometimes when I put fresh food in her bowl, she goes to her bowl and digs most of the food out and into the bottom of her cage. I feed her the food she was raised on. Why does she dig at her food?

A: Wild animals that are “cousins” to pet ferrets hunt animals that live underground, such as rabbits and prairie dogs. Because of this, these animals are designed for the dark, and to tunnel and dig. This is also why they are so flexible.

So, the behavior you describe is not all that unusual for a ferret. It is probably an instinctive behavior that is being used in the wrong circumstances.

Try giving your ferret a digging pit where she can dig to her heart’s content. This might stop or minimize her digging in her food dish.

See all Ferret FAQ questions and answers>>

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Ferret Digs Food Out Of Bowl Sometimes

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Reader Comments
I have a young ferret who liked to dig into the bowl. I put out 3 bowls and just cover the bottom of the bowls with his food. this has eliminated his digging since there is no depth to the food in the bowl
tom, willard, OH
Posted: 6/14/2012 4:00:18 PM
I noticed how they like to hide while they eat so I tried using a large cocoa can tipped on it's side. They can put their whole head inside to eat and the digging has stopped!!! The can has a small lip and no sharp edge so it's working well in the bottom of their cage nestled in blankets for stabilization.
Nan, Spring Hill, TN
Posted: 3/19/2010 6:55:12 AM
I have 2 ferrets- one male one female. My female likes to dig a little food out of her bowl and find the particular piece she wants and carries each kibble one at a time to another part of the room to eat lol. My boy will hang his head in the bowl and eat just like that, never moving.

Even tho they have a place to dig, i think she it just quirky with how she likes to eat. I used to have a cage where the food would fall right thru to the bottom and be wasted. So i took the top of a shoe box and shoved it under the bowl so when she dug it would fall on the cardboard instead of on the floor to waste.
Jennifer, Hillside, NJ
Posted: 11/9/2009 4:16:23 PM
I use an inverted plastic food container lid as a tray to place the food and water bowl on, because my ferret likes to have a little water mixed with his food. He digs his food and water from the bowls onto the tray to eat.
Susie, Fort Worth, TX
Posted: 11/2/2009 7:19:23 AM
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