Are Ferrets Exotic Pets

Are Ferrets Exotic Pets? What Classifies as Exotic?

Many pet stores tend to advertise ferrets as under exotic pets when looking for potential pet owners. Ferrets are excellent companions, and they come in handy as rodent managers in a home.

Their scientific name is Mustela Purtorius Furo, and they are a carnivorous breed. They are part of the Mustelidae, along with minks, otters, and skunks. 

You may be wondering whether ferrets are exotic pets before adopting one. There is no black and white answer to the question. It depends on who you are asking and the reason for asking whether a ferret is an exotic animal. Here is information you should know about ferrets before adopting one.

What Qualifies Pets as Exotic?

Scientifically, an exotic pet is an animal that is available in the wild. Any animal without a wild counterpart isn’t considered an exotic animal.

For example, dogs and cats are not exotic animals because they are domesticated, and there are no wild breeds but rabbits are exotic.

There are no exotic ferrets because they have been domesticated for centuries before cats and dogs. Ferrets were pets domesticated as early as 4 b.c, and there is proof in ancient Egypt.

There are drawings of ferrets as pets in discovered locations that were part of ancient Egypt. There are known colonies of ferrets that live in the wild, making ferrets domestic animals. 

Therefore, your veterinarian will not classify your pet ferret as an exotic animal during a check-up. However, the government may view your pet ferret as an exotic animal and expect you to fill in the necessary paperwork for your pet.  

How Do Governments Classify Ferrets?

Some governments classify ferrets as pets, while others classify them as exotic animals. Most governments classify anything that isn’t a farm animal as exotic.

However, you need to confirm the necessary animal protection bodies to know the classification of ferrets in your country.

If it is classified as an exotic animal, you may have to ensure that your pet gets the necessary shots and has a suitable habitat. Rules governing exotic animals as pets vary from country to country, and you need to consult the appropriate compliance bodies. 

Why Aren’t There Wild Ferrets?

Since the domestication of ferrets began a long time ago, the existing ferrets were born in a domestic setting. Humans adapt ferrets as pets, and most ferret owners have two or more.

Therefore, there are no wild ferrets because of the systematic adoption of ferrets into households centuries ago. The remaining wild ones were extinct a long time ago.

Can Ferrets Survive in the Wild?

No. Ferrets do not have survival instincts because they are domestic animals. Unlike a cat or dog, a ferret can’t last more than 5-days in the wild. They don’t know how to find food or shelter in the wild.

Even ferrets that live on farms to control rodents cannot survive in the wild. Therefore, don’t ever let your ferret go into the wild because it is a death sentence. 

One reason ferrets can’t survive in the wild is that they are fearless and trust quickly. The two traits make it hard to identify allies from predators in the wild.

A predator can easily capture and kill a ferret in the wild without much of a chase. The two traits are also the reason why ferrets make excellent pets and companions.

How Did Ferrets End Up As Pets Worldwide?

You may wonder how “exotic ferrets” became domestic pets worldwide. The earliest evidence of adopting ferrets as pets are in ancient Egypt. Drawings on walls show humans with pet ferrets as ancient Egyptians recorded history. 

After Egypt, Europe is well known for adopting ferrets as pets to keep rodents in check. Ferrets used to hunt rats in a household, and they kept the rodent population in a household low.

Ferrets were popular pets in England, and even Queen Elizabeth I has an albino pet ferret. It was fashionable to have a ferret as a pet. 

Most ferrets were spread from England on cargo ships as a way to manage the rodent population. They ended up in America as explorers from England visited the continent and continued using ferrets as pets. 

Nowadays, ferrets are adopted as pets to keep people company. It is rare to see ferret owners using them to keep rodents to a minimum.

They are excellent pets because they are not afraid of humans and like to be petted. You can get a ferret from a pet store or rescue organizations seeking to find a lovely home for their rescues.

Are Ferrets Hard to Maintain?

Many people think that ferrets are easy to take care of because they are tiny creatures and don’t take up much space. However, it would be best if you learned about the care that ferrets need before adopting one.

Although ferrets tend to sleep 18-20 hours a day, they require special care compared to cats and dogs. 

It would help if you created a balanced diet for your pet ferret to ensure that they play healthy. Diet plays an essential role in the health of a ferret.

Most pet owners feed ferrets cat food, but you need to avoid anything that contains fish. It would be best to talk to a veterinarian who can advise a diet with adequate amounts of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. 

Most ferret pet owners do not know that they may require more vet visits than your dog or cats. Ferrets can transmit diseases specific to their species, like the Aleutian flu, and you may not know that your pet is contagious.

It would help if you took your ferret for check-ups and recommended vet visits to keep it healthy.

Are There Ferret Vets?

Find veterinary clinics that focus on small pets, including rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, minks, etc. It would be best if you found a vet near you who works with ferrets so that you have tests carried out to find out the health status of your pet.

Ferrets can have deadly diseases dormant in their bodies until something activates them. It would be best to be aware when your pet has dormant infections in its system. 

For most small pets, a condition is severe when you see the symptoms and call a vet. The best course of action is to be active in ensuring your ferret stays healthy. Feed them well, take them for check-ups, create a friendly home environment, and ensure your ferrets get regular exercise.

What is a Ferret’s Lifespan?

The average lifespan is about 5-6 years, but some of them can live for 10-years. Ferrets love company, so you should consider adopting two or more ferrets.

Overall, they are intelligent creatures that like to bond with their owners. Don’t let the bad reputation of them being aggressive hinder you from adopting one. You will be surprised how fast ferrets bond with their owners.


If you are wondering, “are ferrets exotic pets?” you know that they are not exotic pets. However, most governments and pet shops call them exotic ferrets because they do not fall into the farm animals categories.

You should check to see whether your government classifies ferrets as exotics and what rules apply to the adoption of ferrets. 

Some states do not allow the adoption of ferrets because they are exotic pets according to their animal classification. Understanding the laws that govern the adoption of ferrets ensures that you comply with all of them.

Also, learn more about ferrets and their care requirements before deciding to adopt one or two of them. 

You will need to take them for testing at a vet’s clinic specializing in ferrets to ensure your new pet is in top-notch condition. Also, attend all the annual check-ups to ensure that your pet doesn’t get any diseases specific to their species.

Overall, ferrets are excellent companions for owners who want a quiet household.

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