12 Ferret Strange Behavior Explained

Ferrets are fascinating animals with very distinctive social behavior and a remarkable variety of body gestures that might seem confusing to anyone.

On this occasion, I researched the most common and strange behaviors in ferrets and their significance.

1-Randomly lay down

When you see a ferret lying on the floor face down with its paws and arms open, commonly known as “sprawled”, it means that it is hot.

The main reason for this is that their fur coat gives them a lot of warmth especially in summer, the hottest time of the year, but also in winter because of the floor heating.

The purpose of this position is to absorb the cold coming from surfaces that are generally cool, for example, the floor. They can be sprayed with a little water at times like this.

2- Scratch the floor

Ferrets, like most rodents, scratch as a natural instinct, the real reason ferrets scratch the ground is because they are burrowing animals, it is their instinct to scratch surfaces. They try to tunnel.

It’s not because they are bored, it’s because it’s in their nature. Ferrets have always lived in hollows and dark spaces, their body, and instincts are adapted to create tunnels by scratching surfaces.

That is why a ferret, even a domestic one, will be constantly trying to scratch, it is ideal to keep them stimulated with different toys that simulate a tunnel.

You can get toys that simulate tunnels such as flexible tubes, that feeling of being in a hole will make the ferret feel less need to scratch to create holes.

3-Steal stuff

Ferrets in a domestic environment steal a lot of things, they just grab any random object which they grab with their teeth and drag them to their hiding place.

The reason why ferrets steal objects is due to their hunting instinct, ferrets are natural hunters, their hunting instinct is well known in the animal world, they usually hunt rodents smaller than themselves.

When a ferret hunts a rodent and cannot eat it whole, its hunting instinct motivates it to take it and hide it in its burrow to protect it from other predators.

A ferret in a domestic environment does not have the need to hunt for food, but its hunting instinct drives it to “steal” any object and take it to its hiding place.

4-Stick out their tongues

Sometimes it is common to see a ferret with its tongue out, sometimes when they sleep and sometimes when they are awake, if a ferret sticks out its tongue when sleeping this means that it is extremely relaxed, it is calm and very comfortable.

It happens in them because the muscles of the muzzle also relax and their tongue comes out of their mouth.

A ferret awake with his mouth open could be due to different things, it could be that he has a minor discomfort inside his mouth, or that he has tasted something he doesn’t like the taste of.

It is also known that ferrets are susceptible to heat shock, and one of the ways they release heat is through panting, similar to dogs, pay attention to the temperature of the environment if you notice your ferret panting with its tongue out.


If something happens that is not to the ferret’s liking, it starts hissing terribly. This noise is very disturbing and you can tell immediately that the ferret does not like something.

These vocalizations can also occur while playing and it is known that the ferret just wants to be left alone. Even when defending toys or sleeping places, some hissing may occur.

6- Puffy tail

A puffed-up tail on a ferret can express something positive, but it can also signal stress and fear, often the other body hair is also fluffed up to appear larger.

If a ferret is very excited or afraid, it raises all its fur, especially the fur on its tail, something called a “broom” because of its resemblance to a broom.

These “brooms” on the ferret’s tail are created especially when going for a walk, where there are many new smells.

When two ferrets meet, a broom bust is also made to show curiosity for the unknown animal.

7-Stare at people

Ferrets are very curious animals, and they have a very distinctive social system, a ferret can stare at a person if it notices something that calls its attention and arouses its curiosity.

Another reason why a ferret stares peacefully at a person is due to a sign of trust and comfort with the person, it can also be that the ferret wants to express the need for a nearby object.

8- Run sideways

It is not unusual to ever see a ferret running sideways, especially if they are puppies, this may be due to some difference between the dominance of their hind legs.

On the other hand, if the ferret is an adult and is constantly seen running sideways this could be a sign of a problem that merits attention, such as a structural imbalance or nutritional deficiency.

If the ferret shows other signs of weakness along with running sideways, you should consider taking it to a veterinarian.

9- Acting scared

There are several reasons why a ferret may suddenly act frightened. According to research, ferrets may hide pain or illness for a long time and then show fear when the pain becomes more noticeable.

Another reason for a ferret to become fearful is because of direct contact with people or other unfamiliar animals.

To notice what things may be causing a ferret to fear, be aware of small details in the environment that may cause stress or represent possible physical harm to the ferret.

10-They lick you

When a ferret licks you it is a gesture of appeasement on its part, the ferret recognizes its physical inferiority to a person, and will make a licking gesture.

Caution should be taken because when a ferret lick is because it feels intimidated in a certain way, it could bite in self-defense in case you make a very abrupt action.

11-Wags its tail

this is a sign of great tension. It can express both negative and positive tension, for example when playing.


It is normal for ferrets to shiver just after waking up, this “shivering” is done to regulate their body temperature.

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