9 Reasons Why Ferrets Are So Expensive

Some of the posts on Mercury Pets contain affiliate links to products. That means if you click on that link and then make a purchase, we receive a percentage of the sale. We only recommend products we’ve used and support, and there’s no additional cost to you — the money goes right back into making this site the best it can be! Thanks for reading.

Are you looking to buy a ferret and find your jaw dropping at the price of maintaining these adorable creatures? 

You’re not alone. Although ferrets aren’t expensive to buy, they can be very pricey to own, feed, care for, and keep happy. Ferrets need vaccinations, vet exams, neutering or spaying, litter, vitamin supplements, and many other essentials that can quickly shoot their prices up and make them difficult to maintain. 

This article covers the nine main reasons why ferrets are so expensive to keep as pets.

Prevue Pet Products 485 Feisty Ferret Home with Stand, Black Hammertone
  • Spacious: This ferret home offers plenty of space for even the most energetic adult ferrets to run, jump, and play. The steel metal cage includes ramps, shelves, and a hammock to keep your fuzzy friend entertained and happy.
  • Easy Access: Two large doors means easy access to your small pet. The large hinged cage doors are escape-proof and ferrets cannot open the doors. This opening can also be closed off to create two separate spaces or be left open for full cage access.
  • Easy to Move: Our portable ferret crate with stand features easy-rolling caster wheels to move the ferret cage from room to room. You can store toys, ferret treats, and supplies on the space-saver storage shelf stand.
  • Easy to Clean: The platforms, grille, and bottom tray are easy to remove for convenient cleaning. Your pet ferret will enjoy a fresh, open metal crate home with this secure animal cage in a stylish hammertone finish.
  • Dimensions: This ferret small animal enclosed pen measures 31 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 41 ½ inches high (54 inches high on the stand) with ⅞ inch wire spacing. Our ferret pet enclosure is comfy, spacious, and fun.

1. Ferrets Should Only Be Bought From Good Breeders

Domesticated ferrets are descendants of the European polecat. Ferrets were likely domesticated to protect food and grain stores from other rodents like rats or mice. 

The name ferret means ‘little thief’ after their habit of hiding small items away, and it’s due to their colorful history that many people want to have them as pets. 

Although ferrets can be bought from pet shops, the difference in the life expectancy of a store-bought and specially-bred ferret should make a significant impact on your choice. Pet store ferrets may not live as long as those from a breeder because pet stores typically spay or neuter them when they are only a few weeks old, preventing complete hormonal development.

Breeders only recommend spaying them once they are mature and have completed their development cycle. 

Another reason why ferrets may be a bit more expensive to buy is their constantly increasing demand. More and more people want to keep them as pets, and this is driving up the price across the US and Europe.

There are around 15 different types of ferrets, although only some are available for purchase. 

The most popular ferrets are the Sable ferret, Black Sable ferret, and Albino ferret. They can range between $50 to $300 each, depending on the breeder and the ferret’s perceived rarity. 

If you choose to buy a ferret from a breeder, make sure you ascertain the following:

  1. Has the ferret been vaccinated?
  2. Has it been neutered/spayed?
  3. Does the ferret get along with other animals?
  4. What is the ferret’s health history?

These questions could help you make sure you are buying a healthy, happy ferret that has a long life ahead of it. 

2. They May Need Licenses and Import Procedures

Some cities, counties, states, and countries regulate or ban ferret ownership. This could shoot up the price of owning a ferret, especially if you need to apply for a license or permit to keep one as a pet. 

In California, only neutered male ferrets may be kept as pets [Source]. Other regions like Hawaii and the District of Columbia, have banned them entirely. 

The UK and much of the EU accept ferrets but they must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and licensed. 

They have to be treated for ticks and tapeworms and arrive via an authorized route before being allowed to enter, all of which could significantly increase their prices. Some ferrets arriving in the EU may also need to undergo a six-month quarantine. 

3. They Need Vaccinations

Ferrets need to be vaccinated against rabies and canine distemper every one to three years. 

Ferrets who are not vaccinated against rabies are at risk of contracting the condition and passing it on to humans. Distemper in ferrets is fatal and must be vaccinated against regularly. 

These vaccinations could amount to $50 a year, adding to the yearly upkeep of your pet.

4. They Have to be Microchipped

Many regions and countries require domesticated ferrets to be microchipped as early as 8-16 weeks after their birth [Source].

A microchip can help the pound or authorities find you should your ferret run away and get picked up. 

Microchipping a ferret costs around $45.

5. They Need Regular Vet Checks

Not all vets or veterinary clinics are equipped to deal with ferret patients. 

This means you may need to look for an exotics vet for your pet’s regular checkups. Ferrets should visit the vet at least twice a year to check for congenital defects, nail clipping, mites, ear infections, and possible weight gain or loss. 

Each vet check will cost about $60. 

6. They Need Special Cages and Enclosures

Ferrets are incredibly active, social animals that don’t do well in cramped spaces. Due to this, they need special cages, lots of tunnels, and stimulating obstacles to keep them entertained. 

Ferret cages can range in price from around $250 to thousands of dollars if they are well-built and have several floors.

7. They Need Lots of Toys

Since ferrets are playful pets, they’ll need a variety of toys to stay happy. This could mean buying anything from a few balls to setting up a complete ferret obstacle course complete with tunnels, climbing equipment, and stimulating activities.

8. They Need Hygiene Materials

Ferrets need litter boxes and should be bathed at least once every two months. This will require special shampoos and other hygiene materials that could add even more to your annual ferret bill.

9. Ferrets Need Special Food

Ferrets are carnivores and prefer raw meat and a protein-rich diet. Ferrets also have very fast metabolisms and require a small meal 8-10 times a day. 

Their specialized meal plans can work out to cost quite a bit every year.

What’s the Average Cost of Owning a Ferret?

A breakdown of the yearly cost of owning a ferret is included below: 

Licenses: $25 – $100

Vaccinations: $50

Bedding: $100

Food: $250

Vet checks: $200

Hygiene materials: $200

Toys: $100

The total yearly cost of a ferret’s upkeep comes to a total of $1,000.

Initial ferret ownership costs include: 

Ferret: $50 – $300

Cage: $250

Cage Accessories: $50 (including food bowls and water dispensers)

Microchipping: $45

Marshall Ferret Super Thru-Way , Small Breeds
  • Recommended product, high quality materials, best value, great price and durability, perfect for all enviroments
  • Manufacturer part number: FT-190
Marshall Pet Products Ferret Pop-N-Play Ball Pit, All Breed Sizes
  • The Pop-N-Play Ball Pit is a fun and interactive toy for one or many ferrets
  • Attach a Marshall Super Thru-Way to the Pop-N-Play Ball Pit for even more ferret fun
  • The Pop-N-Play Ball Pit includes 35 plastic balls and is folds flat for easy storage.
HAICHEN TEC Ferret Play Mat – Foldable Fleece Activity Center with Hang Toys Balls Mice Small Animal Interactive Mat Tent Toy for Exercise Napping (Ladybug)
  • INTERACTIVE DESIGN – This activity center features an interactive design that includes four different hanging toys for your ferret for playing and a comfortable mat and relaxing. It is perfect for ferrets of all ages for self-entertainment!
  • KEEP FERRET ACTIVE AND ENTERTAINED – The activity station helps provide your furry friend with hours of fun. It encourages physical exercise, metal stimulation and appeals to natural instincts as your ferret tries to catch the 4 hanging toys.
  • COZY LOUNGING AREA – Ferrets love nothing more than to snuggle up after playtime! The base mat of the play center is made from a cozy fleece material for maximum comfort for your four-legged pal to peacefully relax, lounge, or nap.
3 Pack Ferret Toys Balls – Colorful Bouncy Rubber Balls with Built-in Bell Ferret Teeth Grinding Wiggle Ball Interactive Sound Toy Exercise Scratch Chew Toys for Indoor Pet Ferret Cat Dog (3 Pack)
  • Ferret Ball Toys: The package comes with 3 pcs ferret rubber chewing toy balls with built-in bells, diameter 2.16″, Colorful and lightweight ball with nice looking design are suitable for small animals like ferret, kitten,puppies.They are a prefect gift for thanksgiving,Christmas,birthday or other holidays.
  • High quality Material: These toy balls are made of natural TPR rubber which are safe and bouncy, durable,bite-resistant,wear-resistant,anti-corrosion and waterproof.Made for long service life. These ball toys are great for gentle chewers and teething ferret,puppies, kitties.
  • Dental Health Helper: Ferrets have a penchant for chewing on different things. These are perfect chew toy for your pet ferret. It performs well in cleaning your ferret’s teeth and maintaining dental health.

Ferret Affordability

All things considered, ferrets are relatively average pets to own cost-wise. It’s only when comparing a ferret to other similar rodents like guinea pigs or rabbits that they seem very expensive. 

Sure, there are lots of costs when you first buy a ferret but if it is kept healthy the annual costs will be kept to a minimum. 

A sick ferret could quickly rack up a $500 vet bill if it needs emergency treatment. 

Reasons to Buy a Ferret as a Pet

Despite their initial and upkeep costs, ferrets make very rewarding pets if cared for properly. Some of the best reasons to keep a ferret as a pet include: 

  • They are incredibly cute
  • They are playful and fun to have around
  • They are sociable animals and like spending time with humans and other animals
  • They are quiet, so there’s no barking or meowing to deal with
  • They are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks and follow commands
  • They’re small and don’t take up much space
  • They can be litter trained
  • They are easy to provide with exercise and love being active
  • They love warm cuddles
  • Every ferret has a distinct personality that adds to its charm 


Ferrets make excellent pets if you’re looking for a companion with the energy of a puppy, minus the size. However, despite their small staturer, ferrets can be quite pricey to acquire and maintain compared to other rodents their size. 

Still, there’s no other animal on earth that can rival their cuteness and mischievous behavior, making them more than worth it to keep as a pet.