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This article is about the general gathering and storing of goods. For other uses, see Hoarding (disambiguation).
A Thule culture food cache near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut Canada.

Hoarding is a general term for a behavior that leads people or animals to accumulate food or other items during periods of scarcity.

Animal behavior[edit]

Hoarding and caching are common behaviors in many bird species as well as in rodents. Most animal caches are of food. However, some birds will also stingily collect other items, especially if the birds are pets. Magpies are famous for hoarding items such as money and jewelry, although research suggests they are no more attracted to shiny things than other kinds of items. One theory suggests that human hoarding may be related to animal hoarding behavior, but at this time, substantial evidence is lacking.[1]

Human hoarding[edit]

Civil unrest or natural disaster may lead people to hoard foodstuffs, water, gasoline and other essentials which they believe, rightly or wrongly, will soon be in short supply. Survivalists, also known as preppers, often stockpile large supplies of these items in anticipation of a large-scale disaster event.

Anxiety Disorder and Hoarding[edit]

Main article: Compulsive hoarding
Apartment of a person with compulsive hoarding

Some hoarding in humans may be a form of an anxiety disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),[2] where the perceived importance of the hoarded items far exceeds their true value.[citation needed] Humans may lose the desire to throw away unneeded items because of a feeling of attachment to these items. In severe cases, houses belonging to such people may become a fire hazard (due to blocked exits and stacked papers) or a health hazard (due to vermin infestation, excreta and detritus from excessive pets, hoarded food and garbage or the risk of stacks of items collapsing on the occupants and blocking exit routes).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrews-McClymont, Jennifer G.; Lilienfeld, Scott O.; Duke, Marshall P. (Dec 2013). "Evaluating an animal model of compulsive hoarding in humans". Review of General Psychology 17 (4): 399–419. doi:10.1037/a0032261. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Mayo Clinic hoarding definition
  3. ^ "Hoarding", Mayo Clinic, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-19.

Further reading[edit]

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