Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Much Do Ferrets Cost in 2024? Updated Price Guide

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

hand carrying a black sable ferret

Humans have a long history with ferrets that goes back over 2,000 years. They recently segued from hunting companions to pets. Hence, the need for a guide like this one exists. Of course, your initial investment is the most expensive. You can expect to pay $100-$400 to bring home a ferret. After that, your costs are relatively low. However, it’s still worth researching to understand the extent of your financial investment in a pet ferret.

Hepper_divider_ferret

Bringing Home a New Ferret: One-Time Costs

Before you even consider getting a ferret, it’s imperative to determine if they’re legal to own in your state and municipality. State laws on pet ownership vary. For example, Hawaii and California don’t allow them because of the threat they pose to native wildlife1. After all, they are predators. Others may require a permit, such as Rhode Island and New Jersey. We strongly urge you to research the legality first.

Most pet ferrets sold in the United States are spayed/neutered and de-scented. However, this belies the fact that ferrets aren’t odor-free. They have scent glands for defense but also have a musky odor from secretions of their sebaceous glands in their skin. Bathing can make the issue worse by encouraging oil production. The smell often lessens by spaying or neutering.

Free

“Free” sometimes comes with a high price tag. If you go this route, research and ask questions before you commit to getting an animal. You should request to see any health certificates, vet history, or documentation about the pet. You should also ask about vaccinations, particularly rabies.

close up ferret lying in a hammock
Photo Credit: Irina Vasilevskaia, Shutterstock

Adoption

  • $100–$200

If you adopt from a rescue organization, the chances are a vet has examined the animal to ensure it’s healthy. You may also get a limited-time guarantee. The best thing about it is supporting the people who care about ferrets. You’ll probably have to apply to adopt a pet. Agencies want to ensure their animals go to a good home, so you may have to answer a battery of questions.

Breeder

  • $100–$400

Enthusiasts can and do show ferrets. Those animals will likely cost considerably more than our price range. We suggest doing the same scrutiny with a breeder as an individual offering for free. However, a reputable seller will likely offer this information without you having to ask. Most will offer a guarantee, sometimes up to 1 year from the date of purchase, covering congenital issues.

Ferrets purchased through online or brick-and-mortar stores will likely cost on the high end of the spectrum.

ferret on tree trunk in the wild
Photo Credit: ambquinn, Pixabay

Initial Setup and Supplies

  • $295–$790

The first year of pet ownership for any animal is usually the most expensive. That’s because you must pay for spaying/neutering and other one-time costs. Luckily, you’ll find most ferrets with this procedure already done. However, you will pay for it on the backend, albeit at a reduced cost. Your annual expenses afterward will likely be considerably less.

Hepper_divider_ferret

List of Ferret Care Supplies and Costs

ID Tag and Collar $15
Spay/Neuter $150–$300
Cage $75–$300
Nail Clipper $5–$10
Brush $5–$10
Litter Box $10–$15
Hammock $10–$30
Toys $5–$30
Carrier $15–$50
Food and Water Bowls $5–$30

How Much Does a Ferret Cost Per Month?

  • $65–$125 per month

Your typical monthly expenses will include food and treats. Most of the other items on our table are one-time costs requiring as-needed replacements. Ferrets eat frequently, but they don’t consume a lot. We recommend a commercial diet formulated for these animals to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Health Care

  • $100–$200 annually ($10–$20 monthly)

The chances are you’ll only need to take your pet to the vet for its annual exam and vaccinations. Proper supervision when the animal is outside its cage can prevent many accidents that would necessitate more care. Your vet will likely charge for an office visit and any required vaccinations and routine testing. While ferrets can get fleas and ticks, the risk is low for strictly indoor pets.

ferret in a vet clinic
Image Credit: Irina Vasilevskaia, Shutterstock

Food

  • $10–$50 per month

Ferrets eat frequently and are susceptible to sudden drops in their blood sugar or hypoglycemia. The best prevention is leaving food available 24/7 and providing fresh options daily. The same applies to water. The amount you feed your pet and, thus, your cost depends on the sex and age of the ferret. Males or hobs weigh twice as much as females, with an adult range of 1–6 pounds.

An adult will consume between 5% to 7% of their body weight daily. Therefore, you must purchase around 1.5 to 12.5 pounds of food monthly, depending on how much they eat. Your diet choice will also affect your bottom line. These figures are only estimates. Your pet’s body condition, age, and activity will influence the amount.

Pet Insurance

  • $21 per month

Nationwide Pet Insurance is the only provider for exotic animals like ferrets. According to the company’s website, premiums start at $21 a month. Remember that rates vary by location. Your cost will also differ based on the coverage you choose. Exotic pets are a wild card when it comes to veterinary care. Your biggest challenge will be finding a vet who accepts these animals.

Environment Maintenance

  • $20 per month

The litter box and general clean-up are your main maintenance tasks. You should change your pet’s litter daily to reduce odors. We recommend using a pellet product instead of regular cat litter. You should also opt for an unscented litter because of the ferret’s keen sense of smell. You should wash your pet’s hammock regularly, too.

Litter $10/month
Litter box liners $5/month
Deodorizing spray or granules $5/month

Entertainment

  • $5–$15 per month

Ferrets benefit from adding enrichment with toys and hiding places. It’ll provide valuable mental stimulation. Your pet should also get plenty of time outside its cage in a ferret-proof space. We like to keep a variety of toys on hand and swap them out occasionally to keep your ferret engaged. Treats should make up no more than 10% of their diet.

ferret playing in the grass with long blue tunnel toy
Image Credit: Burloncita, Shutterstock

Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Ferret

  • $65–$125 per month

Much variability exists in the monthly cost of owning a ferret. Of course, some people may choose to exceed our estimate with the humanization of the market. It’s not limited to dogs and cats. Many pet owners consider their animal companions family members and won’t hesitate to spoil them as if they were their children.

Hepper_divider_ferret

Additional Costs to Factor In

Supervision during playtime outside your pet’s cage is an excellent way to avoid unexpected expenses. However, you may encounter other situations that increase your costs. Hiring a pet sitter is necessary if you can’t travel with your ferret. We’ve discussed the unique needs of these animals. We suggest discussing a like-for-like arrangement with a fellow ferret owner to save money.

You’ll likely find prices comparable to pet sitting for a cat. You can expect to pay between $20–$40 per visit. Make sure to work with someone who has experience with these animals.

We don’t like to think about emergencies happening, but sometimes they do. The Nationwide Pet Insurance website provides a handy chart of some frequent cases and ferrets’ risk of them. Of course, a medical emergency can increase your costs considerably.

domestic ferret eating from the girl's hand
Image Credit: Dmytro Gilitukha, Shutterstock

Owning a Ferret on a Budget

We strongly urge you to determine how much you can afford to devote to a pet before getting one. It is a responsibility to own an animal, no matter if it’s a dog or a ferret. Veterinary care and a proper diet are the keys to keeping your pet healthy. They are insurance against unexpected expenses. Ferrets require a few hours of daily interaction. Make sure to take that necessity into account.

Saving Money on Ferret Care

We recommend not skimping on pet foods. However, these products come in a wide price range. You can save money by buying in bulk with multiple small bags at a reduced price. Some retailers offer discounts on auto subscriptions, which can add up to some significant savings.

You can also save money by skipping on bedding and using soft towels or blankets instead. It’ll save time cleaning with something you can toss in the washer. You may save a few bucks by using cat products instead of ones labeled for ferrets because of the larger market for these goods.

Hepper_divider_ferret

Conclusion

While owning a ferret isn’t as expensive as a dog or cat, there are still unavoidable expenses that are unique to this animal. However, you have choices that can affect your monthly and annual costs. We suggest keeping the ferret’s welfare foremost in your mind. Feel free to discuss your pet’s care with your vet. They may offer some advice about keeping your expenses in line.

Learning about what to expect is an excellent start. Knowing what ownership entails is far better for you and the animal. An informed decision about inviting a pet into your home is the best thing you can do for yourself and the ferret.


Featured Image Credit: Piskova Photo, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database