In this article, you will find information on where you can buy a ferret, and also 5 top tips on what to look for when you are choosing your new pet ferret.
Those lucky enough to have experienced ferret ownership know that ferrets are companions that are like none other.
Mischievous, hyper, affectionate, sleepy – the number of adjectives that would aptly describe them goes on and on
Those who have experienced ferret ownership know that buying or adopting a new ferret is no cheap feat. However, buying a ferret from the best place invests in your ferret’s health, and both of your happiness, for years to come.
This article will discuss where the best places to look for a new ferret friend, as well as considerations when bringing a new ferret home. Here are some of the best places to check out:
1. Buy A Ferret From Your Local Pet Store
For many looking to buy a new ferret, a pet store may be the most obvious choice. Whether part of a chain or a locally owned pet store, many pet stores carry ferrets year round. This option generally allows you to meet various personalities and a reputable store will be able to provide a basic vetting history for your new ferret, including any vaccinations they have received.
For those living in the states within the United States where ferret ownership is legal, Petco often carries ferrets and handles them daily as well as provides regular, thorough vetting to their kits.
However, if you are buying a ferret from a pet store, please read the “Other Things To Consider” points further on in this post, to ensure your new ferret has had appropriate handling before you make your final choice.
2. Find a New Ferret Friend at Your Local Animal Humane Society or Ferret Rescue
Those who have worked in animal rescues know that while dogs and cats are more commonly surrendered, it is not uncommon to see a ferret in need of a new home. There are even ferret specific rescue groups in some areas.
Adopting from a humane society or rescue will ensure you give an animal in need a new lease on life, and the adoption process allows you to get to know your ferret before bringing them into your home.
Petfinder is an excellent resource to help connect you to groups outside of your local area. The American Ferret Association also keeps a list of Ferret rescue organizations by state, which can be found at https://www.ferret.org/links/shelters.html
3. Buy A Ferret Through The Internet
Interestingly enough, when looking at where to buy a ferret, the internet may be a great option.
The internet can connect you with private ferret breeders that can guarantee health and genetics of your ferret and can allow you to plan ahead for your new ferret’s arrival instead of impulse buying one at a pet store.
If you choose to go with an independent breeder, make sure that you are buying from a small breeder instead of one that operates in a “ferret mill” like environment. Ferrets, or any animal, that are mass bred in a “mill” situation, tend to have various health concerns.
A mill animal is one that is only used for breeding and is treated no differently than a means of manufacturing a product that is for sale, and not as a beloved pet and member of the family.
For this reason, always ensure pictures that you receive show the jill (female ferret) and her kits together in a clean and interactive environment. Additionally, check the conditions are sanitary when you pick up your new friend.
It is important to always make the trip to pick up your new kit in person to help lower stress levels and help maintain a constant temperature, as ferrets are particularly vulnerable to heat.
It should go without saying that buying from a ferret breeder outside of your travel range is inadvisable, as shipping your new ferret is stressful and can result in excess anxiety, illness, and even death.
Where Can I Buy A Ferret – Other Things To Consider
In addition to knowing where you can buy a ferret, there are a few other things to consider when you are picking up your new friend, to ensure you have the most suitable pet for your situation:
1. What Kind of Interaction and Training Has Your New Ferret Received?
Ferrets are incredibly smart animals, so the interaction and training are important early in life.
Ferrets should be handled daily and should be taught early on that your hands and feet are not toys and therefore biting them is unacceptable.
Kits that are not being handled daily or are being handled by those who do not know how to care for ferrets correctly may be scared or timid around new people and may bite out of fear or anxiety. For this reason, avoid buying a ferret from a pet store that allows public hands in the ferret enclosure.
Ferrets are very quick to pick up on litter box training if done correctly and respond well when rewarded with affection and treats.
While you can teach an old ferret new tricks, it is easier to stop any bad habits before they start.
2. What Kind of Vet Care Has Your Pet Ferret Received?
When you buy a ferret, he or she should have already had their first visit to the vet. Vaccinations and desexing are both important necessities of ferret ownership.
Vaccinations for Ferrets
Ferrets need to be vaccinated against rabies and canine distemper, starting at around 7 weeks old. Both of these vaccinations require multiple rounds. Vaccinations can be expensive and ferrets run a moderate risk of developing adverse side effects from vaccinations, but rabies and distemper are two terrible, incurable, fatal diseases that you do not want your ferret friend to catch.
It is important to know whether your ferrets have started their vaccination schedules before bringing them home.
When buying a mature ferret as a pet, prior to purchase or adoption, your ferret should be spayed or neutered. In the case of young kits, this is your responsibility as the owner when they reach maturity.
Ferrets should be fixed when they reach sexual maturity – around 6 months old. If your ferret is younger than that, you need to ensure this is a priority for your new ferret’s health and happiness when they come of age. If your ferret is older than 6 months, then the breeder should have already taken care of this for you.
Jills, or whole female ferrets, who are allowed to go into heat and do not breed during the cycle can develop dangerous health problems as they are unable to come out of heat until they are spayed, they mate, or they die.
Hobs, or unfixed male ferrets, are often aggressive, particularly during mating season, and have a tendency to “mark their territory” with urine. Unfixed ferrets tend to be much smellier altogether.
Fixed ferrets have sweeter natures, are MUCH less smelly, and are far more friendly and relaxed animals – all round, fixed ferrets make much better pets.
3. Male Or Female Ferret – Which is better?
Some ferret owners argue the decision between male and female when buying a new ferret is important. Females tend to be smaller than males, and males tend to be a little more aggressive with their human and non-human family members.
Some say that sprites are not as affectionate as gibs, though there are many anecdotal instances that disprove this theory.
Like any animal, each ferret will have its own unique personality independent of its sex.
4. Should I Buy A Ferret Kit Or A Mature Gib Or Sprite?
Like the allure of a puppy or a kitten, it can be easy to go for ferret kits.
However, there are some things to consider about choosing a kit versus a gib (a fixed mature male ferret) or a sprite (a fixed mature female ferret).
If you are new to ferret ownership, it is advisable to adopt or purchase an adult ferret rather than a young kit. Some pet stores even offer a discount on young, yet mature, ferrets that have not yet found a forever home and are older than the rest of the kits.
Being younger, kits can be trained more readily than older ferrets, and adequate training is essential to ensure there is no unnecessary frustration throughout the life of your ferret.
However, it can be more difficult to discern the temperament and personality of ferret kit, while a more mature ferret’s personality is more obvious, allowing you to select characteristics you prefer in your new family member.
Ferret kits are full of energy and are a lot of fun. They are weaned by 8 weeks, but 12 weeks old is a better time to separate them from their mother. Being young, they need extra attention to training and kind but consistent reinforcement of the rules, to guide their youthful enthusiasm into a good natured mature ferret.
When they are young, ferret kits have razor sharp teeth, and like any small animal or child, they put everything in their mouths! Ferret skin is thick, and they can handle hard bites from each other. Human skin, however, is delicate. It takes a consistent effort and some experience to train kits not to bite you! A light tap on the nose and a firm “No” every time your kit bites will gradually train them to respect your delicate skin!
Although ferret kits are very cute, they are not recommended for first-time ferret owners! Start by getting a mature ferret, while you are developing your confidence in handling ferrets, and later on, if you decide to add more to your family, you can look at getting a kit then.
“Teenage” ferrets (4-6 months) can be full of hormones, as they are reaching their sexual maturity. Male ferrets, in particular, can become aggressive at this time. When this behavior starts, it’s time to take them to the vet.
The same recommendation for first-time ferret owners is advised here – don’t start with a ‘teenaged’ ferret – the mature ferrets are really the best option while you’re still learning how to look after and handle ferrets!
Older, fixed ferrets tend to socialise better and be more mellow in general, but are still fun, playful, hyper bandits. If you have more than one ferret, you may need to match their personalities a little more carefully when they are older, as they tend to have more set likes and dislikes. But as a rule, they tend to settle into their new ferret family reasonably quickly.
For first-time ferret owners, an older ferret is definitely a big plus! They tend to be more sensible, are often well socialized, and may even come as a pair of best friends, if you’re looking for 2 ferrets. These are all big advantages of getting a ferret for any owner, especially first-time ferret parents!
5. Is One Ferret Enough?
When you buy a ferret, it’s important to consider how many ferrets is the right number.
While ferrets can live on their own, they are social animals and need company. So keeping at least two ferrets is a wise idea.
Under “normal” circumstances, two or three ferrets is an ideal number, as they can play together, sleep bundled up together, and generally keep each other company in between time with you.
If you only want one ferret, you can talk to a ferret rescue, and you may find they have a few ferrets who are definitely “solo” ferrets – they have been on their own a while, and just don’t seem to get on with other ferrets. These ferrets often prefer human company. If you have a pet ferret like this, then ensure you give them plenty of quality time with you, and include them in your day-to-day activities.
To conclude, there are a large number of places you can buy a ferret, but be wise in choosing the quality of the care your new pet ferret has received prior to your purchase. This can ensure you are getting a healthy, happy, well-socialized ferret right from the start.
So the question is, not only, “Where Can I Buy A Ferret?” The other question is, “What is the quality of the environment where I will buy a ferret?” By doing some careful research and choosing wisely, you are sure to find an adorable pet ferret, who will be a wonderful companion for many years.