Why Your Pet Ferret Is Eating Own Poop [Causes & Solutions]


In today’s post, we’re diving into an unusual behavior some ferret owners have noticed: their furry friends eating poop. Yep, you read that right.

You might be thinking, “Why is my ferret eating her poop? Is this normal?

We get it – this can be quite concerning. But don’t worry; we’re here to shed light on this issue, so keep reading to discover what might be causing this behavior and what you can do about it.

Quick Answer

In short, your ferret might be eating her poop due to a condition known as coprophagy. Factors such as nutritional deficiencies, health issues, or curiosity could drive this.

However, monitoring this behavior is important as it can lead to potential health risks. If you notice this happening frequently, it’s time to contact your vet.

Understanding Coprophagy in Ferrets

Coprophagy is the term used to describe the act of consuming feces. It sounds pretty gross to us humans, but this behavior can occur for various reasons in the animal kingdom.

In ferrets, it’s not as common, but it does happen. Let’s dive into why.

  • Nutritional Need: Your ferret might eat her poop if her diet lacks certain nutrients. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, requiring a diet high in animal protein. They might eat their feces as a misguided attempt to extract additional nutrients if they’re not getting enough. This emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet in ferret care.

  • Digestive Issues: If your ferret is having trouble digesting food properly, she might eat her poop. This is because undigested food might still be present in the feces.

  • Boredom or Curiosity: Ferrets are naturally inquisitive creatures. Sometimes, this curiosity might lead them to taste their own poop, especially if they lack other forms of stimulation in their environment.

If your ferret appears unusually skinny despite eating normally, it could be due to dietary issues or other underlying health conditions. It’s crucial to get her checked out by a vet.

For more on this topic, check out our other blog post on why ferrets get skinny.

Is Coprophagy Normal in Ferrets?

Well, it’s a bit of a gray area. In the grand scheme of things, occasional coprophagy, especially in young, curious ferrets, might not cause major concern.

Pups are still exploring their world and may taste things out of curiosity – yes, even their own poop!

However, if you notice that your adult ferret has suddenly developed this habit or is indulging in it regularly, it’s worth paying attention.

Persistent coprophagy in ferrets is not considered typical behavior and may point to underlying health issues or unmet dietary needs.

One important note: even though occasional coprophagy might not be alarming, keeping your ferret’s living space clean is still essential. Regular cleaning helps curb this behavior and keeps your ferret healthy.

Remember, their poop can carry bacteria that might be harmful if ingested, which brings us to the question: “How toxic is ferret poop?” While it’s usually not lethal, it can be harmful if it contains parasites or harmful bacteria.

If you’re concerned about your ferret’s health or behaviors, never hesitate to consult with a vet. You can also read about unusual ferret behaviors in our post on why ferrets wag their tails.

Health Implications

As mentioned before, while occasional coprophagy in ferrets might not be cause for alarm, it’s vital to keep a close eye on this behavior due to its potential health risks.

  • Bacterial Infections: Ferret feces can contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella. Consuming poop might lead to these bacteria being ingested, which can cause gastrointestinal infections. Symptoms might include diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy.

  • Parasitic Infections: Ferret poop can also harbor parasites. If your ferret eats her poop, she could potentially ingest these parasites, leading to parasitic infections. Watch out for signs like weight loss, poor coat condition, or changes in poop consistency.

  • Possible Blockages: If your ferret consumes large amounts of feces, there’s a risk of blockages in her digestive tract. This is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.
Fun Fact: It is common for ferrets to whine or make noises while they sleep. This behavior is thought to result from their active dream states, where they may reenact hunting or playing scenarios.

How to Stop Your Ferret from Eating Poop

Now that we’ve delved into why your ferret might be eating her poop and the potential health implications, let’s explore some practical strategies to nip this behavior in the bud.

  • Maintain a Clean Environment: The easiest way to prevent coprophagy is to ensure no poop for your ferret to eat. Regularly clean your ferret’s litter box to ensure she doesn’t have the opportunity to indulge in this behavior.

  • Provide a Balanced Diet: Nutritional deficiencies can sometimes cause ferrets to eat their poop. Feed your ferret a high-quality, protein-rich diet and monitor her eating habits. If you’re unsure what to feed your ferret, consult your vet or read up on some of our nutrition-related posts.

  • Enrichment Activities: Ferrets are intelligent and curious creatures who need mental and physical stimulation. Provide plenty of toys, invest time in play, and ensure your ferret has enough to explore to keep boredom at bay.

  • Consult a Vet: If the behavior continues despite your best efforts, it’s time to involve a professional. Your vet can rule out any underlying health issues and provide advice tailored to your ferret’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Given the nature of this topic, we’ve received a number of related queries from our readers. Let’s address some of the most common ones:

Q1: Why is my ferret eating her poop?

A1: Your ferret might be eating her poop due to nutritional needs, digestive issues, or simply out of curiosity. If you notice this behavior happening frequently, it’s best to consult your vet.

Q2: How toxic is ferret poop?

A2: Ferret poop itself is not toxic. However, it can contain bacteria or parasites, which can be harmful if ingested. Consistently eating feces can lead to infections or digestive issues.

Q3: How many times a day should a ferret poop?

A3: Due to their rapid metabolism, ferrets poop quite frequently. Typically, a healthy ferret may poop between 3 to 8 times a day.

Q4: Can coprophagy in ferrets be prevented?

A4: Yes, maintaining a clean environment, providing a balanced diet, offering plenty of enrichment activities, and seeking regular vet consultation can help prevent this behavior.


It’s important to remember that while ferrets eating their poop might raise a few eyebrows, it doesn’t necessarily mean your ferret is sick.

This behavior, known as coprophagy, can be due to a few reasons, including nutritional deficiencies, digestive issues, or just simple curiosity.

However, persistent coprophagy is abnormal and could be a sign of underlying health problems. It’s crucial to keep a close eye on this behavior and consult with a vet if it continues.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top