Ferrets for Adoption and Sale
So you are interested in getting a ferret as a pet. Besides taking on a ferret from a friend or family member, here are the options for finding you new ferret:
The local Pet Store may be where most of us are introduced to our "first ferret." So it's no surprise that most first-time ferret owners purchase their ferrets from pet stores.
Ferrets sold in retail stores and chains, such as a local pet store, often come from commercial breeders. These breeders produce ferrets for many purposes, including as animals for research labs.
Ferrets sold in pet stores are usually young kits just after they are weaned from their mothers. They are very cute at this age, around 5 to 8 weeks.
Pet stores generally sell ferrets that have undergone two surgical procedures: altering - spayed (females) or neutered (males); and descenting - removal of the scent gland near the anus to avoid occasions when the ferret will release an odorous secretion (like a skunk).
Their mothers ("jills") will have already received Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) vaccination, and the kit should itself have received at least one CDV vaccination, although they will need a full series to be properly protected against this deadly disease.
You will be able to purchase the "equipment" - cage, food and water dishes, ferret food, bedding, toys, etc. at the store. But you may not receive much information about the care of feeding of your new pet.
Click here for more about Pet Store Ferrets.
Shelters adopt out "pre-owned" -- those who have been lost, or abandoned, or rescued from a very bad situation.
When you adopt a ferret from a shelter or rescue, you get wonderful pet to love and cherish - hopefully "forever," and you help a shelter use their resources to focus those ferrets that are too sick, or for many other reasons, cannot be adopted out.
Most of these ferrets were purchased by owners who -- for many different reasons -- could no longer care for them. Ferrets received by shelters included elderly ferrets, sick and abused ferrets.
But many Shelters also receive Ferrets that are young (6 to 12 months) and middle-aged adults (1 to 4 years of age) who are otherwise healthy and would make great pets.
Why adopt? The overwhelming majority of ferrets adopted out by Shelters have already been examined by a "ferret-knowledgeable" veterinarian. These "pre-owned" pets have been altered. At the time they are received by the Shelter, these animals are usually brought "up to date" on their vaccinations.
Most that are available for "adoption" (for a small fee or donation to the Shelter) are considered appropriate to go to a "forever" home.
Shelter operators and staff are usually very knowledgeable and provide an excellent resource to the new ferret owner. They can also recommend ferret-knowledgeable veterinarians.
Click here to find a Ferret Shelter or Rescue near you.
Ferrets from private breeders may be somewhat older than pet-store ferrets often 2 months of age or older.
The age at which a private breeder decides to sell a ferret depends on whether the breeder wants to retain the ferret as one of their own breeding stock or to "show" the ferret at competitive Ferret shows.
A key reason to purchase from a private breeder is to obtain a "whole" ferret - one that has not been altered, which can be bred and can be shown in Ferret Show competitions.
Another reason to purchase from a private breeder is to obtain a ferret with specific coat patterns of characteristics that the breeder specializes in producing.
In many cases, it is the new owner's responsibility to have the ferret spayed or neutered, or descented. There is cost and risk in these procedures, which are surgeries that require general anesthesia.
The private breeder may include specific requirements or stipulations, including the requirement to alter the ferret, in the Purchase Contract.
The breeder should be able to provide the ferret's entire healthy history, and even a history of the animals lineage (parents, grandparents, etc.)
Click here for more information on Choosing a Private Breeder.