Are Ferrets Exotic Pets? (Everything You Need to Know!)

  • By: Fabrizio
  • Date: November 28, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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Ferrets have been kept as pets for hundreds of years. Despite the fact that they aren’t as popular as cats and dogs, they are excellent companions. If you’re considering adding a ferret to your family, you may have asked yourself if ferrets are exotic pets.

Here is what I’ve discovered:

Ferrets are exotic pets since they are not native to the United States and are less common than other domesticated animals. Ferrets are also high-maintenance pets, requiring a significant amount of time and effort from their owners, which is why they are viewed as unique pets.

While ferrets are not for everyone, those who are willing to put in the work will find that these intelligent and playful creatures make wonderful companions.

But there is a lot more to know about these exotic pets before you make the commitment to bring one home. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about these exotic pets, from their origins to their care needs.

Let’s get started!

What makes a pet exotic?

An ‘exotic pet’ is any animal that is not commonly considered a traditional pet. In the United States, common pets include dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, and rabbits. Exotic pets may include ferrets, sugar gliders, iguanas, snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas.

Some people even keep chickens or goats as pets! Anyway.

There are a few things that make an animal considered “exotic.”

  • Exotic animals are often not native to the country where they are being kept as pets.
  • Exotic animals are often quite rare. In other words, they are not commonly found in any pet store.
  • Lastly, exotic animals are often high-maintenance pets that require special care and attention.

For example, a boa constrictor would be considered an exotic pet in America because it is not native to this country.

But of course, ferrets aren’t the only popular exotic pet in the US

What is the most common exotic pet in the US?

Sugar Gliders are the most common exotic pet. They are engaging, social creatures that enjoy snuggling up with their human companions. They are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and they have a reputation for being very docile and affectionate pets.

When most people think of exotic pets, they imagine lions, tigers, and other large animals. But the truth is, the most popular exotic pets are actually small animals that can be easily cared for in a home environment.

Ferrets are another type of small animal that is becoming increasingly popular as an exotic pet.

Why are ferrets in demand?

Ferrets have been kept as pets for centuries, and their popularity has only increased in recent years.

One reason for their popularity is that they are very intelligent and can be trained to perform a variety of tricks. 

They are also playful and curious by nature, making them entertaining companions. 

Are ferrets expensive pets?

You can generally expect to spend around $100-$200 per month on your pet ferret. This includes the cost of food, a clean litter box, toys, and other supplies. It also covers any necessary exotic animal vet care, such as vaccinations and routine check-ups.

But the cost of owning a ferret doesn’t end there. Ferrets require more attention than other animals, so you should be prepared to dedicate time each day to playing and interacting with your pet.

That said, here’s a breakdown of some of the main expenses you can expect:

  • Initial purchase price. Ferrets typically cost between $50 and $200, depending on their age, gender, and whether they are purebred or mixed-breed. Some pet stores or breeders may charge extra for certain colorations or markings.
  • Veterinary care. Like all pets, ferrets must see a vet for routine checkups and vaccinations. You should also budget for emergency care if your ferret gets sick or injured. Overall, veterinary care for a ferret can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 per year.
  • Food and litter. A healthy diet is crucial for any pet, and ferrets are no exception. They require a high-protein diet specifically designed for their unique nutritional needs. Good quality ferret food can cost between $20 and $50 per month. Additionally, you will need to purchase litter for your ferret’s cage. This can cost around $15 per month.
  • Toys and accessories. Ferrets are active, playful creatures, and they need a variety of toys to keep them entertained. Expect to spend around $30 per month on things like climbing structures, chew toys, and balls.

You will also need to purchase a cage, bedding, and other accessories. This can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 upfront, depending on the size and style of the cage you choose.

These costs can easily add up if your ferret starts to chew on wires, which can be common behavior for ferrets.

I’ve written an article about it that you should check out if you are considering getting a ferret!

Ultimately, the cost of owning a ferret depends on your lifestyle and how much you’re willing to invest in your pet. In fact, some people spend thousands of dollars a year on their ferrets.

In addition to the financial commitment, owning an exotic pet also requires a lot of dedication and responsibility. Ferrets require a lot of attention and need a safe, clean, and stimulating environment.

So if you’re considering adding a ferret to your family, be sure you understand the commitment that comes with owning an exotic animal.

What do you need for a ferret?

Ferrets are lovely little creatures that make great pets. However, they do require some specific care in order to stay healthy and happy.

ferret polecat wash water white background

Here are a few things you need to know about ferret care:

  • Ferrets need plenty of exercise. A good rule of thumb is at least four hours of playtime each day. This can be broken up into multiple sessions or one long one throughout the day. Either way, your ferret will appreciate the opportunity to burn off some energy!
  • Ferrets are curious creatures. It is important to provide them with a stimulating environment full of toys and things to explore. Otherwise, they may become bored and sad.
  • Ferrets are carnivores. meaning their bodies are designed to digest and use only animal-based proteins. This is why a diet of high-quality ferret food is essential to keeping your ferret healthy.

How many ferrets are currently owned in the US?

In general, it is estimated that there are approximately ten million ferrets currently being kept as pets in the US.

This number has been steadily increasing in recent years as more people discover the joys of ferret ownership. Ferrets are intelligent, playful creatures that quickly bond with their owners. They are relatively low-maintenance pets requiring only a few hours of exercise daily.

In addition, they are relatively long-lived animals, with a lifespan of 6-8 years (on average). As a result, it’s not surprising that ferrets have become one of the most popular small animals in the US.


Are ferrets illegal in some states?

Yes, ferrets are actually illegal in some states!

A few states have placed bans on ferrets, including California, Hawaii, and New York.

In a recent article, I explain why they have been banned and the risks involved in owning a ferret in one of these states.

Just click that link to read it.

The reason behind these bans is that ferrets are considered a ‘threat’ and pose a danger to the local wildlife.

There are also concerns that ferrets may be able to transmit rabies to humans, although the likelihood that a vaccinated ferret can transmit rabies is very low.

Despite these bans, ferrets are still widely available as pets in the majority of the US states.


Where do ferrets originate from?

Ferrets originate from Europe and Asia. The first domesticated ferrets were found in the European Stone Age. They were used as hunting partners because of their ability to flush out prey from their burrows. Ferrets are still used for hunting in some parts of the world today.

The ferrets that are kept as pets in the US are descended from the European polecat. They were first introduced to America by European settlers in the 1800s.

Since then, ferrets have become increasingly popular as pets. In fact, they are now the third most popular small animals in the US!


How many exotic pets are owned in the US?

In the United States, it is estimated that over 20 million households own at least one exotic pet. These pets can include anything from reptiles and amphibians to birds and small mammals. While the exact number of exotic pets owned in the US is unknown, it is clear that they are a popular choice for many people.

There are a number of reasons why someone might choose to own an exotic pet.

For some, the appeal lies in the fact that these animals are often seen as more unique or interesting than traditional pets such as dogs and cats.

Others may be drawn to the challenge of caring for an animal that requires special attention or care. Whatever the reason, it is clear that exotic pets are here to stay.


What are some of the most popular exotic pets?

Other popular exotic pets include

  • Hedgehogs
  • Chinchillas
  • Fennec fox
  • Degus

These creatures are all relatively small, and they are all known for being very high-maintenance pets due to the fact that they require a lot of care and attention.

What is the friendliest exotic pet?

Some of the most popular choices for friendly exotic pets include rabbits, sugar gliders, and hedgehogs. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the friendliest exotic pet, such as whether or not the animal is socialized and accustomed to human interaction.


Before we move on to the conclusion, we’ve summarized this article into a short list of key points for you to remember:

  • They are generally more expensive than common pets such as dogs and cats.
  • Ferrets can bite if provoked.
  • Ferrets are illegal in several states.
  • Ferrets were likely domesticated in Europe more than 2000 years ago.

Final thoughts

A ferret may be the perfect companion for you if you’re looking for a new pet that is different from the norm.

They are active and playful, and they love to cuddle. Ferrets have been kept as pets for hundreds of years, and there is a good reason why they make great companions!

Want to learn more about ferrets?

Ready to boost your knowledge about your furry friend? If so, check out our other articles below:

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