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Are Ferrets Banned in Your Country?

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—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 of 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 has become a very popular pet for many people, but now countries, states and provinces feel that they shouldn't 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 its own laws about owning a ferret. The regulations are quite varied across all the states. These can range from no regulations to vaccine requirements to straight-up bans.

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.

Finally, New York City has banned ferrets as pets, even though New York allows them.

The states in green have no regulations on having ferrets as pets; the states in yellow have minor regulations; the states in red have banned them.

The states in green have no regulations on having ferrets as pets; the states in yellow have minor regulations; the states in red have banned them.

Ferret Laws and Regulations by State

This information is current as of 2021. It's always important to check with your city and state before making a ferret purchase.

No RegulationsMinor RegulationsBanned

Alabama

Colorado

California

Alaska

Florida

District of Columbia

Arizona

Georgia

Hawaii

Arkansas

Idaho

Connecticut

Illinois

Delaware

Indiana

Louisiana

Iowa

Mississippi

Kansas

Missouri

Kentucky

Montana

Maine

New Mexico

Maryland

North Carolina

Massachusetts

North Dakota

Michigan

Oregon

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Nebraska

South Carolina

Nevada .

Tennessee

New Hampshire

West Virgina

New York (excluding NYC, which has banned them as pets)

Ohio

Oklahoma

Rhode Island

South Dakota

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Australia

The ferret is not native to Australia and New Zealand, so their regulations are tight. Locations that allow ferrets have strict licensing requirements.

New Zealand is a bit different. It is now illegal to sell, buy or breed ferrets there. However, individuals who had ferrets before these laws went into place in 2002 were allowed to keep them. In addition, a select group of people is given a special permit that allows them to keep pet ferrets for hunting rabbits.

BannedMinor Regulations

Queensland

Victoria

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.

Want to Help Legalize Ferrets?

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?

Sources

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.

Comments

Cats on October 27, 2019:

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

ferret on October 23, 2019:

ferret

Adrian on May 17, 2019:

I LOVE FERRETS

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 15, 2018:

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

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