What Are Ferrets and Can They Be Kept As Pets?

What Are Ferrets?

Ferrets are small mammals, members of the Weasel family (Mustelidae) – their closest relatives are pole cats, otters, mink, skunks, and fishers. The average ferret is about two feet long in total (including tail) and weighs anywhere from one to four pounds. Ferrets are known for having beautiful full coats ranging in color from white, brown, black, or any mixture of the above! While ferrets have an excellent sense of hearing and smell, their eyesight is known to be quite poor.

Can I Keep a Ferret as Pet Where I Live?

Before you completely set your heart on owning a ferret, it is always a good idea to check your local and state regulations. Why are ferrets legal in some areas but not others? Its hard to say for sure, but in many areas the greatest fear is that if released ferrets would escape into the wild and breed extremely large populations which would disturb the natural ecological balance.

This is a concern which has actually yet to be proven as ferrets, like most domesticated pets, tend to die not thrive when abandoned in the wild. Additionally, many people fear that ferrets are carriers for rabies and thus pose a threat to humans. This concern does not seem to be valid as there are rabies vaccines for ferrets and there are no documented cases where a ferret has passed rabies on to a human (unlike dogs, for example.)

Regulations tend to vary all the time, but at this time ferrets are not legal to keep as pets in parts of Australia (Queensland and the Northern Territory,) Iceland, New Zealand, and the following US states and cities – California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., New York City (and the surrounding five boroughs) and most military bases. Permits are required to keep ferrets in parts of Australia (ACT,) Portugal, and the state of Rhode Island.