Where should I get my ferrets?

If you have decided you would like to have ferret companions in your life, are confident you can provide for their mental and physical needs long term, and are sure it is legal to own a ferret where you live, the next step is to set up everything at home ready for your new pets, and then find suitable ferrets.

You should always try to make sure that you are getting your ferrets from a reputable source – whether that be from a breeder, pet store, or a rescue organisation. The seller should be upfront with you about the pros and cons of owning a ferret – they should be more interested in their ferrets going to a good home, rather than the sale itself.

Things to do if you are buying ferrets from a breeder

  • Try to get references from people who’ve bought ferrets from that breeder and be sure to check those references. If a breeder won’t give you references, beware.
  • If possible, visit the breeder’s facility to get a sense of how the ferrets are kept, and how your potential new ferret looks and behaves in familiar surroundings.
  • Ask the breeder:
    • Why are you breeding ferrets? If just for money, think carefully about buying from them. A good breeder should be interested in taking good care of their animals, improving the species’ temperament and health, and just love ferrets.
    • What vaccinations have been given, and when?
      • Ask to see proof of vaccination given by a veterinarian, with the next vaccination due date.
    • Has this ferret had any health problems? Have any of the other ferrets had health problems?
      • Ask the breeder about any illnesses they have encountered with your ferret, the ferret’s parents and siblings, and any others on the property. Make sure, if you purchase a kit (juvenile ferret), that you get a written health guarantee from the breeder. An adoption (or purchase) contract should be available for you to see ahead of time.
    • What after-purchase service is offered?
      • Will the breeder be happy to talk to you if you have any questions?
    • What happens if the ferret doesn’t work out for you?
      • Not all ferrets are suitable as pets, and not all people are suitable ferret owners. If things aren’t working out, will the breeder take the ferret back?

If you are looking at getting ferrets from a reputable pet shop or a rescue organisation many of the same considerations apply. You should visit the pet shop, or rescue organisation where the ferrets are to get a sense of how the ferrets are kept, and how your potential new ferret looks and behaves in familiar surroundings. Specifically, if you are buying from a pet shop, find out where they source their ferrets. Then, research the facility the ferrets come from to make sure it is a reputable source where the ferrets are well looked after.

This article was authored by:
Bob Doneley BVSc FANZCVS (Avian Medicine)
Professor, Avian and Exotic Pet Service
Registered Specialist in Bird Medicine

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Updated on January 29, 2024
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