A weasel pet is uncommon compared to the similar domestic ferret. Weasels are small mammals, with long, slender bodies and inquisitive personalities.
In the wild, weasels can be found in a number of habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, grassland, and more.
So, most families are better off with a domesticated alternative, like a ferret.
Are Weasels Good Pets?
In general weasels are wild animals rather than domesticated pets. They look very cute, but they don’t suit most homes.
As wild animals, most weasels can be quite vicious. This means they can be hard to handle, and aren’t good for homes with very young children.
It’s not uncommon for weasels to hunt much larger animals than them on their search for food!
Weasels are carnivorous, and will often graze on food all day long, or store it for later. But this practice can be quite unhygienic in a family home setting.
Leaving raw meat around the house can lead to dangerous bacteria or mold developing in their food hiding places!
So, for most people, a weasel pet’s care needs are too high to make them a good family pet.
They have long bodies and short legs, coming in a variety of different fur colors.
Weasels have large ears, a relatively long tail, and plenty of pointy little teeth!
In general, weasels in the wild live around 2 years on average. But, some individuals may exceed this, particularly any kept in conservation.
To look at, they are very cute, which is why so many people are curious about whether or not they make good pets.
Can You Have a Weasel as a Pet?
Because weasels are first and foremost wild animals, it is not always legal to keep them as pets.
In some places it will be banned altogether. In others, you may be able to keep them after applying for a certain licence.
It is important to check local laws and licencing where you live before trying to keep a weasel as a pet.
If you’re struggling to find information for your area, speak to your vet. They will be able to help you find the correct legislation on exotic pets or wild animals as pets where you live.
But, if weasel pets are not legal in your area, you may need to consider an alternative, such as the domesticated ferret.
Weasel vs Ferret
The weasel and the ferret belong to the same family of animals. But, whilst the weasel is a wild animal, the ferret is most often a domesticated pet.
Ferrets are much more docile than weasels, and make much better pets for the average household.
They are less likely to bite when handled, as long as they are handled from a young age.
But, they have very similar needs in terms of diet, social needs, and general care.
Ferrets are larger than weasels, but they share a similar appearance with a long sleek body, a long tail, and short legs.
If you love the idea of the weasel as a pet, but don’t live somewhere where it is legal, or aren’t sure they will suit your home, the ferret may be a better option for you.
You can read more about the ferret vs the weasel here.
Weasel Pet Diet
Weasels are carnivorous mammals. In fact, they’re the smallest carnivore in the UK!
So, a weasel kept as a pet will need a diet based on raw and cooked meat, and other animal products.
Many weasels thrive on a ‘whole prey’ diet, where they are given whole animals to feed on, such as mice.
This is why most weasels do not suit homes with other pets. Weasels have no problems trying to take down animals bigger than them in between meals!
So, a weasel may try to hunt other pets in your home as food. These wild animals are best kept in homes where there are no other pets for them to hunt.
Weasel Pet Care
Weasels need a lot more general care than domesticated alternatives like the ferret. They need plenty of time each day to play, exercise, and socialize.
As very social and curious animals, they do best when kept in at least pairs. However, bear in mind that they must be kept in pairs that get along.
Keeping weasels together that do not get along can result in a lot of fighting.
Weasels as pets can also be quite smelly. They store food in their homes, and can spray with scent glands, similarly to other animals like skunks.
So, you will need to be on top of your cleaning regime if you keep weasel pets.
The weasel isn’t right for everyone. And, in some parts of the world it is not possible or legal to keep a weasel as a pet.
In these cases, one of the following pets may be more acceptable.
Is a Weasel Pet Right for Me?
Weasels won’t suit every home. Ideally, they should be kept in homes where there are no young children, and no other pets that your weasel may try to hunt.
Weasels can be high maintenance in their general care, and can be strong-smelling. So, not every family will suit this intense pet.
And, in some places it is not legal to keep a weasel as a pet, because they are classed as wild animals.
For a more adaptable and docile alternative, you may want to consider the ferret!
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References and Resources
- McDonald, R. (et al), ‘The Diet of Stoats (Mustela Erminea) and Weasels (Mustela Nivalis) in Great Britain’, Journal of Zoology (2006)
- ‘Weasel’, The Wildlife Trusts