7 Key Considerations Why Ferrets Might Not Be Your Ideal Pet


Today, we are exploring a pet species that differs from your typical cats and dogs—ferrets.

You may have seen some adorable ferret videos online showcasing their playful nature and unique movements, but does that mean they are the perfect pet for everyone?

To help answer the question, “Why ferrets are bad pets,” we delve into what makes ferrets a challenging choice for some pet owners.

While ferrets are fascinating, owning them might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Whether it’s their high maintenance requirements, potential health issues, or the legal restrictions in some areas, there are a few reasons that might make them less than ideal pets for some households.

Understanding Ferrets: Background and Basics

With their inquisitive eyes and playful behavior, ferrets are truly captivating creatures. But before you get charmed by their antics, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of these furry companions.

Ferrets are domesticated animals belonging to the weasel family. They have been human companions for thousands of years, initially used for hunting rabbits.

Today, they are cherished for their vibrant personalities and unique charm.

However, they are not your typical household pets like cats or dogs. Ferrets have specific needs requiring significant time, dedication, and patience.

They are known for their boundless energy, intelligence, and often mischievous behavior.

A standard day in a ferret’s life involves a lot of sleeping (up to 16 hours!) interspersed with highly active periods of exploration and play. Their diet primarily consists of meat, as they are obligate carnivores.

Fun Fact: Ferretvite is a nutritional supplement for ferrets that contains essential vitamins, minerals, and taurine. Taurine is crucial for their heart, vision, and reproductive system, as ferrets cannot produce it naturally,

Reasons Not To Own A Pet Ferret

Here are the seven (7) reasons you should consider carefully;

Reason 1: High Maintenance Requirements

Let’s get down to the specifics. Some people might consider ferrets challenging pets because of their high maintenance requirements.

Ferrets are incredibly energetic and curious creatures that require lots of stimulation and exercise. They love to play, explore, and even cause some mischief.

As an owner, you must provide plenty of toys, a safe and secure play area, and, most importantly, your time.

They are not animals you can leave to their own devices for long periods. They need supervision, especially during their active hours, to prevent them from getting into trouble.

You’ll need to ferret-proof your home, covering any small gaps or holes they could squeeze into and securing cupboards or areas with potential hazards.

Their cages need regular cleaning, and their litter boxes need frequent changing. Unlike dogs, ferrets cannot be trained to relieve themselves outside, so expect a little mess.

Their diet is also something that requires attention. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means they need a diet high in protein and fat, primarily from meat.

Commercial ferret food is available, but some owners opt for a raw diet, which can be more time-consuming to prepare.

Fun Fact: It is generally recommended to own at least two ferrets as they are social animals that thrive in the company of others. Having a companion can prevent loneliness and provide mental stimulation for these energetic and playful creatures.

Reason 2: Potential Health Issues

Another reason ferrets might not be ideal for everyone is their susceptibility to certain health issues. Like any other pet, ferrets require regular veterinary care and can be prone to specific diseases.

One common health problem in ferrets is adrenal disease, which can cause symptoms like hair loss, itching, and aggression. Another is insulinoma, a condition involving tumors in the pancreas that can cause low blood sugar.

Both conditions require ongoing medical treatment and can significantly impact a ferret’s quality of life.

Ferrets are also susceptible to influenza, catching it from humans. That’s right – if you have the flu, you could pass it on to your ferret!

Moreover, ferrets need regular vaccinations and preventive treatments for parasites, just like cats and dogs. They also have unique dental needs.

Due to their carnivorous diet, ferrets are prone to plaque buildup and periodontal disease, necessitating regular dental check-ups.

In short, owning a ferret can mean more vet visits compared to some other pets, and not all vets are trained in ferret care. You’ll need to make sure you have a vet near you who knows about ferrets and can provide the right treatments when needed.

Reason 3: Behavioral Challenges

The third reason why ferrets can be challenging pets relates to their unique behavioral traits. Don’t get us wrong; ferrets are delightful and entertaining creatures with their playful antics and curious nature.

However, these traits can sometimes lead to behaviors that not all pet owners are prepared to handle.

Ferrets are notorious for their mischievous behavior. Their curious and inquisitive nature means they love to explore every nook and cranny of your home.

They can get into small spaces and have a habit of hiding or hoarding items. So, if your favorite pair of socks goes missing, you know who the culprit might be!

They can also be quite nippy. While ferrets can be trained not to bite, they have a natural inclination to do so, especially when they’re young or feel threatened.

They also have a strong prey drive, so they might not be the best choice if you have other small pets at home.

Ferrets are incredibly active and require mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Without enough playtime, they can become bored and potentially destructive.

It’s also worth noting that ferrets can be quite vocal, making various sounds from squeaks to hisses, which can be a source of amusement or annoyance, depending on your perspective!

Reason 4: Legal Restrictions

While ferrets make fascinating and engaging pets, they are unfortunately not legal to own everywhere. This is an important consideration that potential ferret owners must face.

In certain states in the U.S. and some countries, ferrets are banned or their ownership is heavily regulated.

The restrictions are usually due to concerns that escaped or released ferrets could establish feral populations and threaten local wildlife or agriculture.

For example, ferrets are currently illegal in California, Hawaii, and New York City. In other areas, they may be legal but require a permit.

Before bringing a ferret into your home, you must check your local and state laws regarding ferret ownership.

Violating these laws can lead to fines and even the removal of the pet from your home, which can be distressing for both you and the ferret.

Reason 5: Nocturnal Habits

The next reason ferrets might not be the best pet for everyone is their nocturnal habits. To be precise, ferrets are crepuscular, which means they’re most active during dawn and dusk.

This can create a mismatch between the active hours of the ferret and those of a potential owner.

During their active hours, ferrets need plenty of playtime and interaction. However, these hours might coincide when you’re usually busy with work or other commitments or simply when you’re trying to catch some sleep!

While it’s true that ferrets spend a significant amount of their day sleeping (up to 16 hours!), they are energetic and demand attention when they’re awake.

This can be disruptive, especially if you have a tight schedule or their playtime is during your sleep.

Reason 6: Long-Term Commitment

Owning a pet is always a long-term commitment, and ferrets are no exception. They may require an even longer commitment than some other pets. Ferrets have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years, and some can even live up to 12 years with proper care.

This longevity means deciding to bring a ferret into your home should not be taken lightly. Over this time, your life circumstances might change – jobs, relationships, living situations, etc.

You must be prepared to provide a stable and loving home for your ferret through all these potential changes.

The time commitment is not just about the number of years, though. As we’ve mentioned before, ferrets require daily interaction, playtime, and care.

They’re not a pet that can be left alone for extended periods. This is a crucial aspect before bringing a ferret into your home.

Reason 7: Challenges with Ferret Reproduction

The final reason on our list relates to the unique reproductive challenges of owning ferrets. If you’re considering owning more than one ferret of opposite sexes, you must be aware of these challenges.

Female ferrets, or jills, can be quite unique in the animal kingdom. They go into heat in the spring and stay in heat until they mate. If a female ferret does not mate, she can develop aplastic anemia, a potentially life-threatening condition.

For this reason, it’s typically recommended to spay female ferrets if you’re not planning on breeding them.

Male ferrets, or hobs, also pose their own challenges. When they are in their mating season, they can become more aggressive and give off a stronger odor. Neutering them can help manage these issues.

These reproductive characteristics mean owning a mix of male and female ferrets can be challenging unless they’re spayed and neutered. But even then, surgeries can pose risks and require aftercare.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Now, let’s look at some of the most commonly asked questions about ferrets as pets and provide quick, helpful answers.

Q1: What are the bad things about owning a ferret?

A: Several challenges come with owning a ferret, such as potential health issues, unique behavior, legal restrictions, nocturnal habits, long-term commitment, and reproductive challenges.

Q2: What is the problem with ferrets?

A: Ferrets are not problematic pets, but they do have specific needs that can be challenging for some owners. This includes their need for interaction and mental stimulation, susceptibility to certain health issues, and the unique considerations related to their reproductive behaviors.

Q3: Are ferrets high maintenance?

A: Yes, ferrets can be considered high-maintenance pets. They require a lot of time, attention, and interaction. They also require a specialized diet and can have unique health and behavioral needs. Check out our comprehensive guide on Are Ferrets High Maintenance? for more detailed information.

Q4: Why are ferrets bad pets?

A: Ferrets are not inherently bad pets, but they are not suitable for everyone. Their unique needs and challenges, as outlined in this article, require an owner who is prepared to invest time, energy, and resources into their care.


Ferrets are undeniably endearing and entertaining pets with their playful antics and inquisitiveness. However, as we’ve discussed, there are several reasons why they might not be the right pet for everyone.

Their potential health issues, unique behavior, legal restrictions, nocturnal habits, long-term commitment, and reproductive challenges make ferrets a pet that requires careful consideration and preparation.

While these challenges do not make ferrets bad pets, they are unsuitable for some lifestyles or circumstances.

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