Petkeen advocates for adopting before shopping. We understand there are many reasons for seeking a breeder or purchasing from a store, though, so we encourage it to be done the right way. Learn more.
Ferrets weren’t always the cuddly mustelids we enjoy as pets. They served more utilitarian roles as hunting companions for over 2,000 years at the start of our relationship. Getting a dog or cat is undoubtedly easier than finding a ferret. However, the same options are available, albeit from different sources.
Getting a pet is a serious decision. Any animal is going to make demands on your time and money. Therefore, you should consider the matter carefully to ensure it’s the right choice for you, your family, and your lifestyle. It’s also the best thing for a ferret so that it goes to the right home.
Ferrets as Pets: What to Know Before Welcoming One Into Your Home
Ferrets present one challenge that many pet owners may never have faced before: an animal that can get lost inside your home. They burrow in the wild, helped by their sleek bodies, peripheral vision, and whiskers. While they need daily interaction, you must supervise them outside their cage. You must also ferret-proof the room in which you let them roam.
You’ll often see ferrets described as “de-scented,” which is a misnomer. That term refers to the removal of the animal’s anal glands. They can emit a strong odor if the ferret is startled. However, their distinctive musky scent also comes from oil produced by the sebaceous glands in their skin. A ferret will always have a smell, although it lessens when the animal is neutered or spayed.
It’s also worth noting that ferrets aren’t legal everywhere. California and Georgia ban them. Other states, such as Virginia and Rhode Island, require a permit to own one. Some municipalities may have additional regulations. Remember that getting caught without this documentation may also result in a fine. It pays to make a simple phone call to find out.
Where to Adopt Ferrets
You’ll find several rescue organizations that adopt ferrets and provide a safe place for owners to relinquish them. They offer the best option. You’re benefiting a group that genuinely cares for these animals and their welfare. They typically charge a fee to cover their expenses and any veterinary services the ferrets may have received at a reduced cost.
Most will screen potential owners before letting you adopt a ferret. It’s in the animal’s best interest to ensure new homes are a good fit. It’s the humane thing to do. You can also contact animal shelters to find a pet. Some restrictions may exist as to where the organizations can ship ferrets. Here are some examples of places to adopt ferrets:
1. Kindness Matters Ferret Rescue, Acworth, GA
2. Texico Ferret Rescue, Texico, NM
3. West Michigan Ferret Connection, Grand Rapids, MI
Where to Buy Ferrets Online
Buying a ferret online is an excellent option if you can’t find one locally. The advantage is variety and choice. We strongly urge you to ask about the animal’s medical history and source. Most offer a health guarantee of varying lengths. Some states may restrict sales of these animals. We suggest discussing your sale with a live person before hitting “Buy Now” online.
1. Compound Exotics, Richmond, VA
2. S&S Exotic Animals, Houston, TX
How Much Does Ferrets Cost Online?
Prices vary and typically run a bit more expensive than adoption agencies. You will have to pay for shipping, which can be pricey since it’s for a live animal. Someone must be home to sign for the delivery. Availability is often limited. They may also sell quickly. Our research found most pets sell for around $200.
Pet Stores That Sell Ferrets
Most pet stores that sell ferrets require in-store purchases. That’s beneficial for the animal since it doesn’t have to go through the stress of airline travel. You won’t have to deal with going through any additional hoops. It also gives you an opportunity to connect personally with a ferret. It’s worth mentioning that PetSmart doesn’t sell live animals but holds adoption events instead.
1. Petco, Various Locations
Not all stores carry ferrets. The website has a handy search function to help you find a location near you. The animals are sold neutered and socialized. The selection may also be limited. However, many stores have an animal clinic on-site that provides additional reassurance of the health of any live pets they sell.
2. Independently Owned Pet Stores, Various Locations
Many chains have phased out selling live animals. However, your local pet store may offer live ferrets. The owners often have a business relationship with breeders. You’re also likely to get an animal that has been handled and socialized when dealing with a small business.
How Much Does Ferrets Cost in the Store?
These pets are often more expensive to cover the business’s expenses. After all, they’re in it to make money. You’ll likely get a health guarantee. You’ll also have an opportunity to talk to an educated sales associate to answer any questions you may have. It’s a good chance to get all the supplies you need for one-stop shopping. Ferrets often cost $399 or more.
Ferrets Breeder Information
Buying a ferret from a breeder offers many benefits. The animals have undoubtedly received quality care and early socialization. That can translate into a better pet, a boon for first-time owners. Breeders often show their ferrets, so you’ll likely find animals of varying lineages, from pet to champion quality. The price you pay will reflect this trait.
Breeders will likely screen potential pet owners like rescue organizations. Their best interest lies with the ferrets. A good place to look for sellers in your area is the American Ferret Association. The site also has a list of veterinarians specializing in ferrets.
Tips for Adopting or Buying a Ferret
Researching ferrets is the best advice we can offer when considering adopting or buying a ferret, especially if you are new to the hobby. We also suggest connecting with other pet owners on social media or other venues. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to get the intel.
Understand the time commitment that owning a ferret entails. It is not an animal that should stay in a cage all day long. They are social creatures and need this interaction to remain mentally healthy. You can get a second ferret for some company if you anticipate being pressed for time. However, frequent handling is essential to ensure your pet stays tame.
Getting any pet requires thought before diving into ownership. Caring for a ferret rests somewhere between a dog and a cat in terms of time dedicated to them. The former is quite hands-on, while the latter is known for its independence. A ferret requires interaction to provide vital mental stimulation. It’s just as important as paying attention to the animal’s physical needs. It is also what makes pet ownership so rewarding.
Featured Image Credit: Couperfield, Shutterstock