Ferret Behavior Explained in One Post

One of the reasons people love having ferrets as pets are their fun and ecstatic behaviour. Ferrets are very fun to play with and have around the house. Here we will discuss some common ferret behaviour and why you need to know about it.

Ferrets are really deep sleepers. In fact, sometimes they may sleep so soundly that you’ll think they’re dead. Don’t worry if you see this though, your ferret most likely needs to just rest. This dire need for sleep in ferrets come from the fact that they expend a lot of energy throughout the day. Because of their fast metabolism, they digest food quickly. They’re very energetic and play around during the day, which leads to another common type of ferret behaviour.

Here is some peculiar behaviour that ferrets engage in when they’re being playful: flipping other ferrets upside down. It may sound crazy, and look even crazier, but ferrets do this to establish dominance while playing with other ferrets. Thankfully, ferrets don’t get badly injured by this because they have tougher skin than other animals. A ferret may also try to flip you over by biting at your toes, so be careful!

Another playful behaviour is that a ferret will sometimes try to dig towards something, whether its sand, a litter box, or its food. It comes from the nature of ferrets, as they have always been good at digging and have often been used for that purpose. Another behaviour, going back to the origin of the ferret’s name, it tends to steal some items. Ferrets might steal several small items in your houses, such as keys, glasses, phones, toys, cups, and even some clothes. It can be pretty funny to watch, but once again be careful about your delicate or important items. Ferrets also like stealing food. They see it as a survival instinct to keep food stored at all times, particularly because they need to eat food so frequently, because of their short digestive tract.

What do the ferrets do when stealing these items? This brings us to another curious and distinct ferret behaviour: hoarding. Ferrets hoard items as a natural instinct. Ferrets want to build nests as well as keep prey/food hoarded for times when they’re hungry.

Here is a funny compilation of ferrets stealing stuff. As you will see, they steal anything; from fish to bra, you name it. Ferrets also clearly think they’re clever as they think they’re getting away with the theft even when someone else can see them. They particularly like stealing stuffed animals, maybe because they like having pretended playmates!

Let’s talk about the more eccentric behaviour of ferrets. When ferrets are angry or scared, they tend to make a hissing noise. It’s a good idea not to further annoy a ferret that’s hissing because they can get aggressive and try to bite. Another reason why ferrets are much tougher than they look! Also, when the ferret is threatened or very scared, the fur on its back will stand up, and it will jut out its tail.

On the other hand, if a ferret is happy, then it will wag its tail, much like a dog. Ferrets’ pupils also usually dilate when they’re happy and excited. Often you’ll find that your ferret is wagging its tail when you feed him. Another cute behaviour of ferrets is that they will drag their butt across the floor after eating food. This is done as a signal to let others know that the ferret is there and that this is his territory.

As you probably figured out by now, ferrets tend to be very aggressive at times. They will wrestle with other ferrets or even animals other than ferrets. This is to establish dominance. The ferret will often flip the other ferret as mentioned before. Another similar behaviour that might seem aggressive is when a ferret bites another ferret on the neck and then shakes him again and again. Ferrets usually don’t get hurt by this as they have tougher skin and are used to this kind of behaviour. Here is a ferret fight in action.

One really fun and delightful ferret behaviour is called the Weasel Wardance. This is an enthusiastic and joyful dance that ferrets often do because they’re so full of energy. It’s difficult to explain it in words, so there is a video of that dance.

We’re almost finished with describing the different and idiosyncratic ferret behaviour. If you’re already a ferret owner, you might notice that your ferret sometimes backs into a corner. If the ferret is backing into a corner and has its tail jutted out and is not frightened, then it needs to relieve himself and go to the bathroom. In that case, try to put the ferret in a litter box soon before he makes a mess on your floor. If the ferret is backing into a corner and looks frightened, then he’s feeling exactly how he looks. In this case, it’s a good idea not to startle the ferret, but to gently try to calm it down or leave it alone to calm down.

Sometimes, a ferret might dunk his head in his water bowl and cover its ears. It’s doing that to relax and/or look for food. In the wild, ferrets would often search for food in rivers and ponds. Another strange ferret behaviour is when they bite themselves. They do this because they have an itch on their skin.

Lastly, my favourite ferret behaviour is when they chase their owners! Ferrets love to chase, and you will often find yourself being playfully chased by this ferocious yet cute animal. Usually, it’s boring and is trying to initiate some kind of game. To finish this section, here is a compilation video of ferrets doing funny things.

Further Reading:

Last Updated on February 7, 2023

About Leanne

Leanne is a writer with an intense love for animals. She’s always had this drive to work with them in some way, but unfortunately her passion doesn’t lie in the sciences. So now she spends her days researching and writing about all sorts of animals while playing with her naughty ferret, Rosa. Leanne will hopefully be adding to her family soon – maybe another cat and dog!