Are Ferrets Banned in Your Country?

Updated on June 5, 2019
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Tanya is the owner of two feisty ferrets and one cat. She has studied animal health and dedicated volunteer time in many shelters.

Why Are Ferrets Banned in Some Areas?

It is believed that most domesticated ferrets came from the polecat in Western and Eastern Europe. Therefore, they are not native to many other countries. Canada has a native species of the Black-Footed Ferret, but these were not the type that became domesticated as pets.

Since domesticated ferrets were imported to most countries, they may be seen as pests. Unfortunately, many people would set them free and in some areas, ferrets did overpopulate. It is because of this that some areas decided that banning ferrets was the best option.

Other areas and cities feel that these are exotic pets that are potentially harmful and vicious. This is a misunderstanding of ferret behaviour. Yes, ferrets can bite, but so do cats and dogs. Many people have come together and are working on having these laws changed; they are hoping to educate people about ferrets.

Are Ferrets Exotic Pets?

Even though they are easily available, ferrets are considered exotic pets. An animal is considered exotic if they are not native to the location, regardless if they have been born and raised in captivity. However, the term is used loosely, as even some native species are considered exotic. The ferret can become a very popular pet for many people, but now countries, states and provinces feel that they should be kept as pets.

Pet ferrets can be found all over the world, but it is important to know whether you can legally keep them or not. This is an overview of some countries' laws, but please check your local laws before getting your fuzzy, little friend.

United States

In the United States, each state is allowed to govern their own laws about owning a ferret. The regulations are quite varied across all the states. It can range from no regulations to vaccine requirements to straight up banned.

Keep in mind that just because there are no regulations on ferrets in some states, they will likely still have regulations on cats, dogs and other pets.

Ferret Laws and Regulations by State

No Regulations
Minor Regulations
District of Columbia
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
Nevada .
New Hampshire
West Virgina
New York State
Rhode Island
South Dakota
This information is current as of 2009 and things could have changed by then. That is why it is important to check with your city and state before making a ferret purchase.

This information is current as of 2009 and things could have changed by then. That is why it is important to check with your city and state before making a ferret purchase.


The ferret is not native to the Australian and New Zealand countries, so their regulations are tight. Locations that allow ferrets have strict licensing requirement.

New Zealand is a bit different. It is now illegal to sell, buy or breed ferrets there. However, if you had ferrets before these laws went in, you are allowed to keep them.

Minor Regulations
Northern Territory
New South Wales
Western Australia
Australian Capital Territory
New Zealand
My ferret, Groot
My ferret, Groot

Around the World

It can be tough to find where ferrets are allowed in other countries. From my current research, I've been able to make this list of where ferrets are allowed:

  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • Venezuela

Good places to get more information about ferrets in your area are your local government and bylaw office or your local SPCA/Animal Rescue. These places should have or be able to point you in the direction of all the information you need.

Do You Have Any Information?

I ask my readers, if you know if any of this information is outdated and incorrect, let me know! Also, if you live in a country I haven't covered, let everyone know what your ferret laws are.

The more information we have, the more helpful we can be to everyone on the web.

What About You?

Do you live where ferrets are banned?

See results


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


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    • profile image


      9 months ago

      I don't see how they justify banning ferrets, but not cats that do more damage to wildlife.

    • profile image


      9 months ago


    • profile image


      15 months ago


    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      22 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Interesting. As I am in the U.K. I had not realsied ferrets were banned in some places.


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