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Are Ferrets Legal in Texas? State Policies & Facts

Misty Layne Profile Picture

By Misty Layne

Champagne ferret on the willow

If you’re looking for a pet that’s a bit more unique than a dog or cat, a ferret makes an excellent option. These cute little critters are adorable and a lot of fun to play with. However, these animals aren’t legal to own as pets in every state, and even in states where it is legal, there are often regulations you need to follow to own one.

That said, ferrets are legal in all but three states; however, Texas is not one of those three. So, if you’re a Texas resident considering getting a ferret, it’s legal, but there may be caveats depending on where you live. Here’s what you need to know about ferret ownership in Texas.

Ferret Ownership in the U.S.

As previously stated, ferrets are legal to own in most states. The only exceptions are Hawaii, California, and the District of Columbia, where these animals are banned. But even in states that allow you to have a ferret, you’ll find that many have regulations to be followed. Out of the 48 states that allow ferrets as pets, only 13 have no regulations at all on these animals. The other 30 have minor regulations, including Texas.

Black sable ferret sitting on the grass
Image Credit: Julie Gaia, Shutterstock

Ferret Ownership in Texas

The rules and regulations of owning a ferret as a pet in Texas can be quite confusing. They often differ depending on where in the state you live. That means you’ll have to do some research by looking up your city or town’s local ordinances and bylaws before purchasing a ferret to find out whether you need a license or if there are restrictions.

In most cases, you shouldn’t need a permit 1 to own a ferret as it isn’t a dangerous wild animal, but you may need to register your pet. For example, League City requires 2 all dogs, cats, and ferrets to be registered and to wear a registration tag, while Copperas Cove requires all ferrets to be licensed. Then there’s the matter of whether you’re bringing a ferret into the state or buying one in Texas—bringing one of these animals into the state may require not only a permit but a quarantine period, depending on the county you’re going to.

Then, there are other regulations regarding ferrets. Some areas require 3 ferrets to be up to date on their rabies vaccinations and may even impound these animals if they aren’t. Some places, like Copperas Cove, require 4 quarantine for ferrets suspected of biting someone; this city also makes it unlawful to own or keep a ferret that hasn’t been neutered. They also have a rule stating that ferrets can’t be in public places unless on a leash or in an enclosure of some kind.

There are also some general rules 5 Texas has regarding pets. One is that you can’t have over six of the same kind of animal; another is the inability to own over 25 nongame wildlife animals at once.

As you can see, it’s all a bit confusing! Just know ferrets are legal in Texas, but you’ll need to check your county and city’s ordinances to ensure you’re compliant with local law.

Where Can I Get a Ferret in Texas?

If you’re still interested in having a ferret in Texas, you should be able to find one relatively easily. There are at least two ferret rescues in the state, like Texas Ferret Lovers Rescue, as well as ferret shelters. Texas Ferret Lovers Rescue even has a foster program for ferrets that are ill or in their senior years, so if you’re on the fence about whether you should get a ferret as a pet, this might be a good route to go.

If a shelter or rescue isn’t an option for you, you should find a handful of breeders in Texas (just be sure any breeder you consider is reputable!). You can also check your local Petco, PetSmart, or other pet stores to see if ferrets are available.

black sable ferret walking outdoor
Image Credit: Piskova Photo, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Ferrets are legal in the state of Texas, so if you’ve been looking into getting one as a pet, it’s fine. However, that doesn’t mean that each county and city doesn’t have its own rules and regulations about owning these animals, so do your research before committing to getting one of these as a pet. Otherwise, you may find yourself not fully compliant with local law, which will cause problems. In most places, this will likely only require registering your pet, getting them vaccinated, and having them fixed, though, so there shouldn’t be much red tape to get through.

Featured Image Credit: Julie Gaia, Shutterstock

Misty Layne Profile Picture

Authored by

Misty Layne lives out in the woods in small-town Alabama with her two Siamese—Serafina and Jasper. She also has an array of stray cats, raccoons, and possums who like to call her front porch home. When she’s not writing about animals, you’ll find her writing poetry, stories, and film reviews (the animals are, by far, her favorite writing topic, though!). In her free time, Misty enjoys chilling with her cats, playing...Read more

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