Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Ferrets > 4 Reasons Why Ferrets Steal & How to Stop Them

4 Reasons Why Ferrets Steal & How to Stop Them

holding ferret

As any ferret owner knows, these little critters love to steal your things. They will snatch up just about anything that they can get their little paws on. So, if you’re sick of digging your wallet out of their hammocks, you might want to know why they do this in the first place.

Stealing random objects around the house is a standard and totally instinctual behavior for ferrets! Let us explain why these little bandits like to rob you and how to appropriately stop them.


The 4 Main Reasons Ferret Steal

1. Hoarding Impulse

Young ferret examines the play box
Image By: Yasmins world, Shutterstock

Among many rodents and weasels, including ferrets, hoarding is a widespread practice. Typically, in nature, ferrets stash away food in their homes to preserve their health and keep alternate rations—kind of like a squirrel. A hoarding impulse is wholly expected in many similar animals.

2. Food Collection

Obviously, as pets, ferrets are fed by their owners and do not need to scavenge. Since wild ferrets never know where their next meal is coming from, hoarding food is a habit ingrained in their DNA. Domestication doesn’t take the urge away to stash food as often as they can.

3. Shiny Object Obsession

ferret on the background of a shiny garland is played and hides in the hood
Image By: Frunze Anton Nikolaevich, Shutterstock

If something catches your ferret’s eye that is big enough to fit in their paws, they’re probably going to snatch it. Ferrets will hide everything from shiny keys and valuables to other precious metals. They will guard these items with all their might!

4. Sticky Paws

In addition to their jewel heist, ferrets will take about any toy or small valuable that you have lying around your home. This is not limited to cat toys, dog toys, children’s toys, and even your wallet. Once they have it in their clutches, they will be very resistant to let it go.


How to Keep Your Ferret From Stealing

Hoarding is a natural impulse that can’t be trained away. This means you will have to come up with other deterrents to prevent or channel the behavior rather than stop it completely.

Get Your Ferrets Their Own Goodies

Trying to restrict their basic instincts can have negative impacts on your pet. Instead, try to offer them shiny objects that they are allowed to hoard. If you give alternatives, it can really turn the behavior around.

You can gather up various things that you don’t need anymore—like extra keys, faux jewelry, socks, and other ferret-friendly household items.

Image By: kemll, Pixabay

Remove Any Questionable Items Before Floor Time

Before you let your ferrets out to play, remove anything and everything that they may get their paws on. If there are no forbidden objects within their reach, they won’t do much damage.

Supervise, Supervise, Supervise

The best way to prevent your ferret from stealing is to eliminate the option. During out-of-cage time, interact with your pets. Play with a variety of toys with them so they burn their energy but stay out of mischief.

That said, always make sure to supervise any interactions outside of the enclosure.


Handling Ferret Object Aggression

Ferrets can get downright protective over what they have stolen, adopting a “finder’s keepers” mentality. Even though it might rightfully be your possession, they might think otherwise. If they feel threatened, they can become aggressive or even bite.

If you are concerned that your ferrets will bite or otherwise hurt you, you must handle them with caution.

Never try to pick up your ferret if they are:
  • Hissing
  • Vocalizing
  • Hovering over objects
  • Snapping

If it is something that you desperately need at the time (like car keys), try to distract them with a snack or another desirable object.

How to Ferret-Proof the House

The best way to make sure your ferret doesn’t steal your things is to ferret-proof your house as much as possible. When you’re getting your ferret out for playtime, put away anything that they might latch onto. You can also take the following actions.

  • Control the free-ranging area.
  • Close doors.
  • Put things out of reach.
  • Wall off designated play spaces.
  • Close cabinets and closets.
  • Discourage climbing.
  • Use a playpen or play enclosure.

We all know your ferrets rule the roost, but you can have a small amount of control—just don’t let them know about it.



Like all ferret owners, you’ve likely been the victim of your favorite furry companion swiping your goods. Don’t feel bad, though. There is no real solution other than taking a few precautions. Always protect yourself—arming for a potential attack—if you try to retrieve these items without their consent.

Ultimately, the only thing that you can do is make sure your ferret and valuables stay separated as much as you can.

Featured Image Credit: Nadezhda Manakhova, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets