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Animal Tracks is currently home to many ferrets, all of which were either owner surrenders (meaning people gave them to us) or confiscations (meaning they were taken from people that owned them illegally). They are not legal to own in California, and we do not encourage people to get them as pets. If people are caught with ferrets, there is a fine and the animal will be taken from you. Best case scenario is your ferret finds a sanctuary. Worst case is euthanasia. Ferrets are very musky animals being part of the weasel family – which means that your house isn’t going to smell very good if you have them as pets. They like to pee & poop in the corners of rooms. They get into anything and everything in your house because anything their head can fit into so can their body. They absolutely love shiny things and thus, will steal your keys, pocket change and trinkets if they aren’t secured!


ORDER: Carnivora           
FAMILY: Mustelidae         
GENUS: Mustela               

Ferrets are related to the weasel or mustelid family. The males are noticeably larger than the females. Domesticated ferrets spend a good 14 to 18 hours a day sleeping and prefer to be active at dawn and dusk. They are most notorious for the scent glands, which they use for marking territory and individual identification. Like a skunk, they can even release their anal glands when startled, just not to the same amount or distance. When excited they preform a behavior called the “weasel war dance” with sideways hops and nips. They are carnivores and eat ferret dry food from your local pet store, but their wild cousins eat rodents, reptiles and even bunnies. They reproduce between March and August. Gestation lasts 42 days where 3 to 7 kits are born. The kits are independent by 3 months old. At 6 months old they can start their own family. Their domestication started 2500 years ago from the European polecat. The Romans started using them for hunting rabbits. The name ferret in Latin means “Little Thief”. They were brought to America in the 17th century until the start of World War II to protect grain stores from rodents. People started to appreciate some of their more comedic attributes and the ferret became a family pet.


Fur production and biomedical research.

Conservation Status

LC - Least Concern

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