Why Are Ferrets Illegal in California?

Why Are Ferrets Illegal in California?

Due to their classification as wild animals, ferrets are banned to own in California.

Ferrets have trained approximately 2,500 years ago and are still classified half-wild. This is one of the reasons why ferrets are still prohibited in some places in the United States.

Hedgehogs come in 17 different species. In California, all species are prohibited from being kept as pets because they can develop pests if released into the wild where they do not normally happen. Whenever a non-native creature is released back into the wild, there are many unanswered questions about natural predators and possible diseases.

When Did Owning a Ferret in California Become Illegal?

Ferret ownership has been prohibited in California since 1933. There have been minor changes in ferret permits over the years, but their legitimacy in the state has not changed since 1933.

The whole history of ferret legalities began when regulations governing wild bird and animal imports stated that ferrets just can not be imported or moved to California without a license from the Fish and Game Commission was obtained.

Due to rulings made by the Fish and Game Council and the Department of Food and Agriculture the same year, a declaration fully outlawed ferret importation.

Reasons Why Ferrets Are Illegal in California

There are a variety of reasons why ferrets are prohibited to own in California, however, most of them have been based on outdated knowledge about the ferret, which not everyone sides with.

Ferrets Are a Dangerous and Aggressive Species of Animal

The first rationale is that ferrets are considered wild animals. Many people, though, argue that ferrets have also been living alongside humans for almost 2,500 years. Their gentle temperament is evidenced by their freedom to thrive as pets in numerous states and nations.

Ferrets, like dogs or cats, have no fear of mankind, which is yet another feature that distinguishes them from animals in the wild.

Ferrets, similar to other domestic creatures, can become vicious when agitated. That implies a ferret will not attack you only to harm you. Much like a dog, a ferret may bite for a range of factors.

Ferrets Are Carriers of Rabies

Now, before we get started on this issue, let’s talk about rabies. To get rabies, an animal must come into contact with an infected animal. Rabies is spread through biting and scratching a sick person. That means a ferret’s risk of catching rabies is dependent on whether or not they escape from the house, assuming there are no uninfected animals around.

They will not need daily exercises like dogs, and they don’t wander the neighborhood as kitties do. They do, however, need daily exercise, therefore we must let them out of the cage twice a day, within the house.

Because ferrets cannot thrive in nature for lengthy periods, contracting rabies and coming back home is uncommon. As a result, while this situation is not implausible, it is exceedingly improbable.

Also, there is a remedy if a person is worried about a ferret contracting rabies. A ferret vaccine against rabies has been authorized, although it is not required. It is the ferret owner’s responsibility to inform the physician that their pet requires this.

As Unleashed Into the Wild, Ferrets Will Have an Impact on Wildlife

Ferrets are predatory mustelids. Tiny animals like rodents, birds and even reptiles make up the natural ferret diet. So, if a ferret escapes, it may try to chase those animals down and devour a few. However, it will not have a significant impact on the fauna.

If a ferret slips from its home, it will almost certainly perish in the wild. A domestic ferret, particularly in California, is thought to be capable of surviving on its own for a few days.

Even though ferrets are predators, California is home to a plethora of larger predators who may view a ferret as a tempting lunch. We can’t predict that ferrets would become top predators in California because wolves and feral cats are two instances.

Consequences of Having a Ferret in California

In California, having a pet ferret can lead to monetary penalties, criminal prosecution, and even prison time. The penalty might range anywhere from $500 to $10,000.

Ferret keepers may be charged for transporting, handling, and storing any ferret found in their residence if they are apprehended. The majority of instances do not result in criminal charges, but fines can build up quickly and be pricey.

It’s important to mention the only way a person can be penalized for having a ferret is if the Department of Fish and Wildlife is notified.

Where Are Ferrets Prohibited?

Ferrets are outlawed in only two states: California and Hawaii. That implies they’re lawful in the other 48 states, but local laws could choose to follow state rules or enact tighter legislation. New York City and Washington, D.C. decided to take action and outlaw ferrets entirely.

As a result, the following states/cities have made ferrets illegal as pets:



New York

Washington, D.C.

Even if ferrets aren’t strictly forbidden in some areas, you’ll still need a permit to keep them. Before buying a ferret, you must meet certain standards, and if you don’t, you won’t be able to possess one.

Where Can You Find Ferrets in the Wild?

The black-footed ferret historically roamed the Great Plains of North America. Prairie dogs account for almost 90% of their diet. As a result, their population congregated on the locations wherein prairie dogs might be located.

Regrettably, they are no longer as common like they once were. Prairie dogs have become less prevalent, causing the ferret habitat to decline. Their demographics were also severely impacted by the sylvatic disease.

Almost all of their wild populations have been reestablished now because of meticulous breeding. They can now be found in the wild in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona. Their territory, though, is far narrower than it formerly was.

Final Words

As you’ve seen, having a domestic ferret in California never was easy. Ferrets are not an acceptable animal in the state for aspiring pet parents, whether it is correct or not.

If you live in California, there are so many various pet animals to adopt. What is your take on this?

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