If you’re a pet owner, it’s likely that at some point you might’ve seen your furry buddy pick up a disgusting habit, that of poop eating. Does that happen with ferrets as well? Yes, it does, but it’s something that has a cause usually, and you can fix it by changing their diet.
The habbit of eating poop is called coprophagia. It’s common among a lot of different types of wild and domestic animals. Doing this, allows them to access the nutrients which they eliminated without fully digesting on the first go. Disgusting for a human, but it’s something that you can often see in the animal kingdom.
Do Ferrets Eat Their Own Poop? Why?
Yes, ferrets can sometimes eat their own poop. However, it’s not a common behavior for them, and you can typically fix it by changing their diet and giving them more of the substances they crave.
A few possible reasons why this may happen for animals in general, not just ferrets, below:
- Getting more nutrition: sometimes, the act of eating feces hides a lack of nutritional substances from the pet’s diet. It’s not common in ferrets, but if they don’t get enough nutrients from their current diet, you might find them eating their own poop. This can also happen when animals aren’t capable of digesting the food fully in the first go, and they try a second time.
- It’s tasty: sounds like a bad joke, but as a lot of commercial food will contain sugar in order to make it taste better, this can influence the poop taste as well. In some cases, dogs have been known to eat poop because of this, and it could be a possible reason for ferrets eating their own poop as well, though it’s not a likely one.
- Bacteria for a healthy gut: true for babies of certain animals especially, including those of hippos and elephants, where they would eeat the poop of their family/mother, in order to get a healthy bacteria in their gut. It helps them go from liquid to solid foods.
What Other Animals Do This?
As you’ve seen above, a lot of other animals have this behavior, and they end up eating their own poop. Herbivores may do it to get nutrients that they can’t get otherwise, while others will simply not process food properly the first time it goes through the system. A second go, even if this means eating the poop, will help them get the nutrients they crave.
Examples of animals that eat their own poop, include well-known pets like dogs, rodents (guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters, rats, mice, etc), lagomorphs (rabbits), but also other primates (rhesus monkeys, orangutans, gorillas) and babies of elephants or hippos.
As disgusting as this habbit may seem to us humans, there are a lot of animals with this particular habbit. You don’t need to be too worried about ferrets doing it, but it’s something you can work on as it indicates an issue with their diet usually.