Pet Weasel Ownership and Care Guide

Published February 25, 2021
White weasel at winter time

Pet weasels eat constantly and hunt small animals, including cats. So pet parents need to weigh the pros and cons before bringing this pet into a home. This small pet needs a buddy, so if you want a weasel, you need to live with two.

Pet Weasel

Weasels and ferrets are cousins from the same family called the Mustelidae. The weasel has a tiny body and a longer tail than the ferret, but both small pets look similar. Pet weasels enjoy being around humans and are safe around children. With that in mind, weasels are illegal to own in California and Hawaii. Some counties and cities also have laws against owning a pet weasel, so check with your city officials before you make a purchase.

What to Know Before You Bring a Weasel Home

A wild weasel's high metabolism requires him to hunt non-stop. He continues to kill even after he eats, so there is always plenty of food. A pet weasel shares similar traits and is known as ferocious when locating and hunting "prey," which may be your gerbil. There are many reasons a pet weasel is not a great candidate for every family, and a ferret may make more sense.

Short tailed Weasel in the wild

They Are a Risk to Other Pets

A pet weasel may be a risky small pet to bring home if you live with other small pets, including cats, small dogs, gerbils, and rabbits.

Pet Weasels May Be Illegal

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service lists certain weasel species as endangered, threatened, or species of concern. Weasels and ferrets are illegal to keep as pets in California and Hawaii. Always check first to see if your city or county has similar laws.

Weasels Do a War Dance

When a weasel stalks and corners his prey, he gets very excited and performs a war dance of victory before making the kill. Ferrets perform this war dance too.

Don't Step on Your Pet

Since weasels are so low to the ground, pet parents may step on them! A pet weasel may bite you in self-defense,

Weasels as Pets

If you decide a pet weasel is a good fit for your lifestyle, there are a few habits and traits you need to know about before bringing this small pet home. For example, your new little buddy sleeps 20 hours a day.


The weasel is a small, carnivorous animal living across the globe except for Antarctica and Australia. In the wild, he enjoys hunting for his prey, is a skilled climber, and his diet consists of rats, voles, and shrews.

Weasel on branch

Weasel Instincts

Weasels are known to be harmless to humans but may become a problem for other small pets in the household. The weasel is best if he lives in a house without other small animals or children. This pet is curious and always wants to escape the safe environment you set-up for him.

Weasel Temperament

Some pet parents say living with a pet weasel is like living with an angry and aggressive cat. This high-energy small pet is active and needs to run. The pet weasel enjoys chewing on items around the house, and animal lovers need to play games with him to ensure this tiny buddy does not become bored.

Weasels Need a Buddy

If you plan on adopting or buying a weasel, you need to consider two small pets instead. You can keep two of the same sex if you neuter both. This animal thrives when he has another weasel as a buddy.


This small pet also smells more like a large animal. The scent is spicy and worse than a ferret's odor. Clean the cage at least once daily.


Most weasels are brown with a white belly.

  • Size: Weasels are 6.8 to 8.5 inches long; males are slightly larger than females.
  • Color: This small pet's coat is brown or red with white bellies. Some species of weasels have an entirely white coat.

Difference Between Ferrets and Weasels

There are some fundamental differences between ferrets and weasels. Ferret breeders are easy to find, and this small pet may be a better candidate for your family.

  • Ferrets have longer bodies and a shorter tail.
  • Many ferrets live with humans, but weasels are wild.
  • Weasels have brown or red-brown upper coats and white underbellies, but ferrets have black-brown coats mixed with white.
  • Ferrets are nocturnal, and weasels play during the day.
Ferrers versus Weasels

Weasel Pets May not Be a Great Idea

A pet weasel may not be a good candidate for every pet lover, and ferrets are similar with more straightforward personalities. Pet parents living with small animals, including cats or rabbits, may need to consider another type of pet. Also, check with your local city and county officials as this animal is illegal in California, Hawaii, and some counties.

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Pet Weasel Ownership and Care Guide