If you’re in the market for a unique furry friend, look no further than the ferret! Most of us know how much a bird, dog, or cat costs because they are common pets you may have had in your home since you were a child. But how much does a ferret cost?
The initial expense of buying the animal is not the only cost you need to consider when looking at purchasing a ferret. There are other initial costs such as a cage, equipment, and the big vet visit you should consider, too.
After setting up your ferret in its new home, you’ll need to think about maintenance costs. Food, bedding, vaccinations, grooming, and enrichment are all costs that are going to add up and usually average at $300 to $600 a year.
Don’t worry about trying to figure out what is a setup cost and what you need to maintain them; we’ve broken everything down for you so you can make an educated decision on whether a ferret is for you or not.
How Much Does A Ferret Cost?
Purchase costs can be from $0 to $400.
Ferrets vary in price quite a bit according to their coloration, age, health, origin, and shelter/breeder fees. You can get your hands on a ferret one of three ways: get one for free, adopt, or buy from a reputable breeder.
Another way to get a ferret (that we do not recommend) is to buy one from a pet shop. However, big box pet stores are not known for their quality care of pets of any shape or size.
People dive into buying a ferret without considering the full cost involved in their upkeep or how much time and effort they require to keep happy and healthy. These poor ferrets are then put up for sale or rehoming on online marketplaces, to go to whoever wants them.
While you may be getting the ferret for free, you don’t know their history, what health problems they may have, or what nutrition they have been provided in the past. This may incur further expenses along the way.
A safer option than getting a ferret for free off the internet is to adopt one from a shelter. The best place to adopt is a ferret rescue center that is dedicated to this type of animal. This way, you’re sure they’ve received the best care from very knowledgeable people.
Adoption costs are less than buying from a pet shop or breeder. The average cost of adopting a ferret is $150 to $200.
Bought From A Breeder
Reputable breeders care for their animals and know how to identify genetic problems. They are the best bet for buying a ferret if you cannot adopt one. However, because the breeder breeds ferrets for income, they can be fairly expensive.
Ferret prices from breeders are largely based on the popularity of their coloration:
- Cinnamon: $300 to $400
- Champagne and chocolate: $200 to $300
- Albino, sable, and black sable: $100 to $200
The Big Vet Visit
After you bring home your ferret, regardless of where you got it from, it will need to go for a comprehensive vet visit. This initial visit can be quite costly, especially if you get the ferret for free or from a pet shop.
Your vet will need to do a full exam, start a vaccine schedule, deworm, and treat any present issues. This vet bill can be anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on what condition your ferret is in.
The Costs Involved With Setting Up Your Ferret’s Home
Initial costs average at $500 to $800.
Learning everything there is to know about caring for ferrets is the first step to take before actually buying one. Make sure you’re ready for this commitment before making an impulse purchase.
Ferrets cannot be allowed to roam around a home like cats and dogs. They need a dedicated enclosure that is just theirs, where they are safe and cannot escape. A good large cage with plenty of ventilation and space to play is exactly what a ferret needs to be happy and healthy.
You cannot house your ferret in an old snake tank; a ferret’s cage needs plenty of air flow and a lot of space.
Fortunately, the enclosure or cage is a one-off cost. Go larger than you might think is necessary because your ferret will spend most of its time here and will need to be able to move around and explore as much as possible.
Once you have the cage, you can’t leave it bare. Ferrets need plenty of things to climb on, burrow into, and explore. Ferrets love exploring and will become bored and stressed in a bland and empty cage. Offer them lots of hammocks and perches to cuddle up in, where they can feel safe and cozy.
Other miscellaneous setup supplies include a carrier, a harness, a litter tray, and possibly a permit depending on where you live.
The Costs Involved With Maintaining Your Ferret
Annual costs average at $300 to $600.
The setup costs are generally one and done and shouldn’t need to be repeated. However, you will need to groom, feed, and care for your ferret’s health on an ongoing basis.
Read on to find out about the maintenance costs along with some bonus care tips:
It’s no secret that ferrets stink! Their skin produces a smelly oil and they can musk. Over- and under-bathing your ferret will lead to an extra stinky ferret. Bathing them once every two months seems to be the best bet.
You’ll need to use a special ferret shampoo that deodorizes their coat without drying their skin. If their skin becomes overly dry, it will produce extra oil to make up for it and you will end up with an extra-stinky fur ball that leaves its essential oils on everything it brushes up against.
A good grooming kit will go a long way in keeping your ferret fresh and healthy. Your ferret will need to be brushed weekly and have its nails trimmed frequently, as soon as you can hear them clicking along the floor when they run. A good quality kit will only need to be bought once and items replaced only as they wear down.
A tiny toothbrush and some ferret-safe toothpaste are also essential items as you will need to brush their teeth once a week to keep them healthy.
Your ferret’s cage tray should be lined in bedding that absorbs odor and oils well. This needs to be completely replaced once a month if you do daily spot cleans. Spot cleaning means removing any soiled bedding to prevent the spread of the mess or growth of bacteria.
In addition to lining the cage tray, your ferret needs blankets in any flat space in the enclosure. Some of the bottom of the cage should have a blanket as well as any flat landings/levels within the space.
These blankets should be washed weekly in a low-odor detergent with no fabric softener or scent. Once your ferret chews on the blanket enough that it becomes ratty and poses a choking hazard, the blanket should be replaced.
Good quality litter will go a long way in keeping the smell at bay!
Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box fairly easily. You will need to scoop their litter box daily to remove any poop and messy bits and wash it with soap (Dawn is perfect) and hot water once a week.
Keeping your ferret’s litter box clean and fresh is a solid step in maintaining their good health and avoiding unnecessary vet bills.
Enrichment And Toys
Bored ferrets are destructive and stressed ferrets. And a stressed ferret will quickly become a sick ferret and start racking up some expensive vet bills. To prevent boredom, enrich your ferret’s environment.
Enrichment through food is always a good way to get your ferret to mentally and physically exhaust itself. Treats specially formulated for ferrets are available online and at most pet shops that cater to exotic animals.
A combination of hard chew toys and soft balls/toys will keep your ferret entertained for hours. As soon as you notice gouges in the chew toys or the soft toys losing pieces, it’s time to buy new ones as bacteria will start growing,which can make your ferret very sick and lead to more vet bills.
Yearly Vet Visits
Ferrets need to go for an initial consultation when you buy or adopt them. At this visit, they’ll get a checkup and your vet will discuss a vaccination schedule with you. Ferrets are susceptible to many diseases including canine distemper virus. Fortunately, with yearly vaccines, you can protect them.
Food And Nutrition
Ferrets are not cheap to feed. They need high-quality food at all times and they need a lot of it as they have fast metabolisms.
You can go one of three routes when feeding your ferret:
- Complete raw diet made up of raw meat chunks, frozen mice, specialized meals
- Dry kibble specially tailored to ferrets
- A combination diet of raw and kibble
Vet bills can really stack up, especially if you have a ferret with a genetic condition, or one that’s just prone to accidents or illness. It may be worth your while to get them some pet insurance to help ease the cost burden to you.
FAQs About Pet Ferrets
Do ferrets make good pets?
Yes they do, but they are hard work. Ferrets are very rewarding animals to own because they freely show affection, run and jump about like clowns, and are insanely intelligent. They take a lot of time and effort to keep because they become destructive and sick if they are neglected.
Are there wild ferrets?
There is one species of ferret left in the wild; the black-footed ferret is indigenous to the North American continent and is highly endangered. This ferret was so endangered, the scientific community thought it was actually extinct until 1981 when one was found on a ranch in Wyoming.
While the black-footed ferret is a relative of the domesticated ferret, they cannot live in captivity as a pet as they are not suited to it.
When were ferrets domesticated?
Ferrets are one of the oldest domesticated animals! They were domesticated around 2,500 years ago in the Mediterranean area and are most likely descended from European polecats. The first ferrets were domesticated to hunt rabbits and rats by chasing them down into their burrows.
Wrapping Up On How Much Ferrets Cost
When thinking about finding a fluffy ferret friend, we need to consider how much a ferret and all their equipment costs. Purchasing the ferret itself is only part of the total cost of the pet. Setup and annual maintenance costs need to be considered for the long-term household budget.
To do a quick recap, you can expect to pay (on average) the following amounts:
- Cost of ferret: $0 to $400
- Initial setup: $500 to $800
- Annual cost: $300 to $600
There are ways to save money by looking for second-hand items and buying food and daily use items in bulk. However, don’t skimp on the important things because they keep your ferret happy and healthy and out of the very expensive vet’s office.