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Stopping A Thieving Ferret

Can ferrets be stopped from stealing things?

By Ailigh Vanderbush
Posted: September 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: Is there any way to stop a ferret from stealing things? Any little thing around the house seems to be fair game for my ferret. I can’t lock up everything, and I don’t want to lock up my ferret all day. What can I do?

A: The scientific name for ferrets means thief, so caching (or what we call stealing) is both a common and a natural behavior for them. In the wild, ferrets would "save" some of what they kill to eat later. We see this behavior in our homes when they "save" something interesting for later.

Try to make sure that nothing valuable is left around for your ferret. Place ferret-safe items around for your ferret to steal, instead of other items.

It also helps if you know where your ferret’s cache (or stash) is located, so you can retrieve the items later.

See all Ferret FAQ questions and answers>>

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Reader Comments
Find something they like that isn't expensive for them to hoard or steal. Mine like socks and my shoes, so I bring out a pair of old socks and some old slippers, and they go crazy. They will drag it away and I will drag it out again, and they will swipe it again. They will even do this with their treats; they will take one and then scurry off to eat it. Keep objects them might take out of reach or high up on a wooden shelf (where they can't climb) so they won't be tempted.
D, Sanford, FL
Posted: 11/10/2011 8:28:50 AM
I left four of my ferrets unsupervised for 10-15 minutes tops while I was in the shower and when I came out, my one shoe was missing. I found it the next day stashed way under the couch. I guess I learned my lesson about letting them run wild!
Lisa, Rochester, NY
Posted: 1/7/2011 11:17:36 AM
I've found wiping remotes, car keys, etc with something the ferrets don't like -- vinegar, linament, bitter apple deters them from swiping stuff. You get sed to the smell and it's worth it to be able to watch TV. So what if the house smells like a salad.
Jules, Arlington Heights, IL
Posted: 10/28/2010 12:43:34 PM
My Bandit constantly steals the nail scissors. No matter where I put them he finds them and stashes - last time he put them in a different place that I only accidentially found when looking for something in my closet. He looks so innocent, it's hard to get mad at him!
Lisa, Rochester, NY
Posted: 10/22/2010 3:37:18 AM
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