Home Animals

Why Ferrets Are Illegal in California

Ferrets Are Illegal in California

Ferrets are small, furry animals that look like a cross between a weasel and a kitten. They are very playful and have been domesticated for centuries. In many states, ferrets are legal pets. However, in California, it is illegal to own a ferret. There are a few reasons for this.

Rabies Concerns

One of the main reasons that ferrets are illegal in California is because of rabies concerns. Rabies is a virus that is fatal to humans and other mammals. Ferrets are carriers of the rabies virus, which means they can spread the disease to other animals and humans. While most ferrets in the United States are vaccinated against rabies, there is still a risk that they could contract the disease.

Escape Artists

Another reason that ferrets are illegal in California is because they are known escape artists. Ferrets are very curious creatures and will often explore any holes or openings they can find. This can lead to them escaping from their homes and getting lost. Additionally, if a ferret escapes and comes into contact with wild animals, it could contract rabies and spread the disease to other animals and humans.

Biting Incidents

Ferrets are also illegal in California because they have been known to bite people, especially children. Ferrets have sharp teeth that they use to nip at people and objects. Although bites from a ferret aren’t usually serious, they can lead to infections or other health problems.

The History of Ferrets in California

Ferrets have been illegal in California since 1933, when the state passed a law banning the importation and sale of these small, predatory mammals. The ban was put in place in order to protect the state’s agriculture industry from potential damage that ferrets could cause. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, “ferrets pose a serious threat to poultry and other farm animals.”

In addition to preying on small animals, ferrets are also capable of causing physical damage to crops. They are known to burrow underground, which can uproot plants and damage irrigation systems. Given the valuable role that agriculture plays in California’s economy—the state is responsible for nearly half of all fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States—it’s easy to see why officials were so quick to ban these furry pests.

The Case for Legalizing Ferrets

Despite their reputation as destructive little critters, there is a growing movement among pet owners and animal rights activists to lift California’s ban on ferrets. Proponents argue that ferrets pose no more of a danger to agriculture than any other domesticated animal, such as cats or dogs. They point out that ferrets have been legal in every other state for many years without any major problems.

What’s more, advocates say that the current law is outdated and unfairly punishes responsible pet owners. They argue that it does nothing to prevent people from illegally owning ferrets; it simply makes it difficult and expensive for those who want to do things by the book. After all, getting caught with an illegal pet can result in fines of up to $1,000!


There are a few reasons why ferrets are illegal in California. The main reasons are because of rabies concerns, escape artist tendencies, and biting incidents. If you’re considering getting a ferret as a pet, you should check your local laws to see if they’re allowed where you live.