10 Things to Know Before Buying a Ferret


Ferrets are small, slinky, long-bodied animals that are easy to love. They are playful, curious and affectionate and have such great spirit that it can be hard to find another animal to compare it to.

It can be hard to be depressed and to not believe in life if you have such a cute, little, curious creature dashing about around you nonstop. Ferrets truly make wonderful pets. Yet, before you buy a ferret, you need to make sure that it is the right kind of pet for you.

1. Ensure that ferrets are allowed by law in your area

The regulations to do with ferret ownership can be complex. Even if your state and city do allow ferret ownership, your county may outlaw it.

In California, the laws of the state allow you to only own neutered males. The state of Nevada has no rules to do with ferret ownership. Carson City in Nevada, though, makes it illegal to keep a ferret in your home if you also have a child there. The best way to determine if it is legal to own a ferret where you live would be to consult your vet or the Wildlife department.

2. Ferrets are not cheap to buy

Ferrets can cost as much as $200 to buy (though some breeds sell for less than $100). If you are planning on buying a ferret, you need to set aside up to $500 for vaccinations, preliminary medical examinations and neutering. Once you bring your ferret home, you will need to spend on a cage, over-the-counter medicines, toys, food, shampoos, leashes and so on.

3. You need to give some of you time to your pet

Ferrets love company. They love to play active games, interact with their owners and to be petted. They are also capable of considerable mischief. They can be uncontrollably active at certain times of the day. This means that they need supervision.

They also need regular visits to the vet. In other words, ferrets are high-maintenance pets. You should not get them unless you have the time and patience. In general, ferrets are not a good idea as first pets.

4. Make sure that it would be a good fit for the other members of your household

It is not a good idea to leave a ferret alone at home with a child under ten. Ferrets need more space – they are not as easily approached as dogs or cats are. Children who do not recognize this may get into trouble by being overly familiar too soon. Ferrets can cause serious bite injuries when they feel threatened.

With some training, ferrets can learn to get along with cats and dogs. Since they are natural hunters, though, they can’t be taught to live in peace with other pets like fish, rabbits, hamsters, or birds.

5. Ferrets are naturally aggressive

Dogs and cats are naturally aggressive – they have it trained out of them over time when they are domesticated. Ferrets do have it in them to be viciously aggressive. They can respond to noises and sudden movements by biting.

They are also full of friendliness, though. They can be taught that biting hurts and that it is not acceptable. Since ferret housebreaking services are uncommon, you will need to learn how to housebreak and train your ferret yourself. It can take you a great deal of time.

6. You could have an easier time with more than one ferret

If you do not want to be your ferret’s sole playmate forever, you should consider getting two or three ferrets. Once you manage to housebreak all of them, you will have practically no work to do. All you will need to do is to sit back and watch them whizz around your home, playing together.

7. Should you get male ferrets or female ferrets?

Male ferrets are called hobs and female ferrets are called jills. Assuming that the location you live in has nothing against either gender, either should be equally easy to raise, provided that they are spayed or neutered. Unaltered ferrets can be aggressive or uncontrollable. They can also put out mating scents that can get difficult to take after a while.

8. You may need to de-scent your ferret

Ferrets put out a mild, musky scent. With ferrets that live indoors, the scent can build up over time. Altered ferrets rarely use their scent glands, though. Nevertheless, some ferret owners still try to get their ferrets de-scented by having their scent glands surgically removed. This is not a good idea, though – it can lead to many health problems. Simply altering your ferret should be all that is needed.

9. Litter-training your ferret can be difficult

Ferrets certainly can be trained to use a litter box. They are not naturally inclined to learn, the way cats are, though. You will need to be patient and use a great deal of positive reinforcement.

10. It is easy to buy an older ferret

It is not difficult to find an older ferret for sale in the classifieds. As ferrets are wild creatures that need a great deal of love, care and time, they are unsuitable for most families.

Many people who buy ferrets soon get exasperated with them and try to sell them or give them away. If you have the time and energy to train a ferret with patience and love, you should be able to get an older one for free.