Are Ferrets Herbivores, Carnivores, or Omnivores?4 min read

Ferrets are strict carnivores. That means they eat meat only. They will not and cannot digest plant matter and other foods that contain carbohydrates.

That´s why it is important to provide them with a balanced diet of meat-based protein sources like chicken, turkey, beef, or fish, in addition to lots of fresh water for hydration.

So the answer to your question is: Ferrets are strict carnivores!

Ferrets should also be given ferret kibble as part of their daily diet because this specialized food contains all the nutrients necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle – and it is way easier to store than raw meat!

What Are Strict Carnivores?

Obligate Carnivores such as ferrets are animals that live on a meat-based diet. That does not mean that your ferret would not “steal” a cracker or a piece of apple from you.

But still, they do not need any other food. And actually, sugars and/or carbohydrates are very bad for them! So watch out and do not give your ferret any food that is unhealthy for them.

Ferrets will get seriously sick if they eat too many of these foods. Their digestive tracts will not tolerate them, and they can even develop diabetes or other illnesses.

When a strict carnivore consumes an animal, its meat will provide all the protein needed to survive.

Ferrets can only get their nutrients from eating meat, so owners of these pets need to feed them high-quality meats such as beef or chicken.

Other foods that are good for your ferret:

  • rabbit
  • beef
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • game birds
  • wild game (watch out for parasites)
  • whole mice (get those from a reptile store)
  • ground beef

As long as you ensure that the meat is of high quality, you can feed your ferrets various meats.

Additionally, special Ferret Kibble is also an alternative. Easy to store and a nice treat.


meatgrinder grinding meat_chicken

To provide an optimal diet, many ferret owners feed their furry friends a “Frankenprey” diet. This means that you feed your pet a variety of different meats, either raw or cooked.

The ideal ratio of meat, fat, and organs is 80/10/10. The idea is to resemble prey that a ferret would eat in the wild.

Ferrets have an easy time being fed this way because there is no need to worry about nutrient deficiencies, and they can enjoy different flavors at every mealtime.

A ferret has a short, simple intestine that is designed for digesting meat only!

This means that it does not have the necessary enzymes to break down plant matter. In addition, this would result in excess waste and too many calories, and an imbalance of nutrients.

Did you know: The scientific name for ferrets is Mustela Putorius Furo

Ferrets are strict carnivores meaning their digestive systems cannot handle any plant material; this includes fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. It’s important to feed your ferret with food specially made for them.

Or you give them raw meat because it will contain all the necessities required for their health.

Ferrets can have a range of colors. According to the American Ferret Organization, there are seven colors for ferrets: black, white, brown, and more.

What are Herbibvores?

Herbivores are animals that eat only plants. The name somehow indicates it. A good example is cows.

What are Omnivores?

Omnivores are animals that eat everything, including plants and meat. The word “Omni” means all in Latin, so an omnivore is an animal who eats anything. Bears are omnivores. And to an extend, dogs also.


Ferrets have been domesticated as far back as 2500 years ago, and they were most likely domesticated in the Northern Parts of Europe.

People used them for pest control and to hunt rabbits. Later they became fashionable as pets, or they were bred for their fur.

What do Ferrets eat in the Wild?

And while we always speak about what a ferret would eat in the wild, the truth is that there are almost no wild ferrets.

In fact, most pet ferrets could not survive in the wild by themselves.

But if they escaped, they would hunt small animals such as rodents or birds to consume them.

Wild Ferrets

The population of the Black-Footed-Ferret living in Northern America resembles the only wild population of ferrets. They are considered an endangered species.

There are wild populations of ferret hybrids in New Zealand. But these are not “pure” ferrets – they are hybrids of ferrets and polecats.

Unwanted Organisms

Things in New Zealand got out of hand pretty fast. The problem is that ferrets kill and eat the native species there.

That is why ferrets are now considered unwanted organisms in New Zealand.


Ferrets are strict carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Their instinct is to hunt small animals and consume them as food.

This might be a problem if you leave your ferret with other smaller animals such as rodents or birds because it will most likely kill them to feed on their meat.

The Black-Footed-Ferret living in Northern America resembles the only wild population we can call “pure” ferrets.

Pet Ferrets probably cannot survive by themselves without human help!

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