Have You Ever Seen Any Animal That Looks Like a Ferret? 9 Ferret Look-alikes Are Here

Animal That Looks Like a Ferret

A Ferret is a kind of mammal. You can always tell a ferret just by looking at its black fur and distinctive markings. They’re terrific pets since they’re lively and inquisitive. 

However, other species may be mistaken for ferrets due to their similarities. 

You might think you saw a ferret, but the chances are high that it was one of the many species that is only a ferret-like animal! This article will help you determine whether or not the animal you’ve seen is a ferret look alike!

So, let’s get started! 

About Ferrets

You may find wild ferrets in some parts of Europe and Asia, and also in Africa. There are still black-footed ferrets in the wild of North America, but they are critically endangered. When kept as pets, ferrets can live for five to ten years or more.

Ferrets are tiny, nocturnal, and strictly carnivorous mammals that stand out due to their unusual proportions. They have long bodies, short legs, and anal smell glands. If a pet ferret’s owner does not like its smell, the ferret has to undergo surgery to remove the smell gland. 

Ferrets are not categorized into distinct breeds. Therefore, more than 20 different species of ferret exist. 

Size, coat color/pattern, and coat texture are the primary determinants of a ferret’s classification, such as Hawaiian ferrets, Albino ferrets or White ferrets, Beer ferrets, Sable ferrets, etc. 

Black-Footed Ferret Facts

The black-footed ferret is an example of a paradigmatic animal. There are currently only around 300 in the wild in the United States.  

This species is considered critically endangered. Even if it seems like a very low number, the fact that there is evidence of mating in the wild and a steady captive population means that this species has been saved from extinction.

An Animal That Looks Like a Ferret: Ferret vs Weasel

Weasel is the first animal that comes to mind when asked which animal is most similar to a ferret. Although they share some similarities in appearance and behavior, weasels and ferrets are really quite distinct species. 

Weasels are frequently more aggressive hunters than ferrets. Ferrets, on the other hand, are somewhat larger than weasels. While both are adorable and seem cuddly, the weasel is not as affectionate as the ferret.

a weasel sitting on a broken wood of a tree in a forest
Image credit: Stephan Morris, Shutterstock

There are many differences between ferrets and weasels. Some are

Height (inch)8-20 10-12 
Weight (pound)4.5-5 1-13 
HabitatGrasslands of Europe, North Africa, North AmericaUrban areas, marshes and woodland in Asia, Europe, America, and Africa
Lifespan (years) 5-106-4
TrainabilityBelow averageModerate

Other Ferret-Like Animals 

Now comes the part where we answer the question, “what animal looks like a ferret?”. Other than weasels, there are many ferret look-alikes. 

We did the research and have listed the nine most prominent ones. Let’s check them out. 

1. Badgers

a badger standing beside a tree in a forest
Image credit: Ondrej Prosicky, Shutterstock

Badgers, like ferrets, are a kind of mammal. Badgers stand out from other mustelids with their longer snouts and chubbier builds. 

Europe, America, Africa, Japan, and other regions of Asia are all home to distinct badger subspecies. Both animals share a common ancestor with otters and wolverines, the Mustelidae family. 

Badgers are significantly larger than ferrets. They also have a different kind of fur than ferrets, which is made into high-quality shaving brushes. Badgers, like ferrets, may be found in a variety of environments. 

2. Martens

The marten, native to both Eurasia and North America, is almost the same size and form as a ferret. The body length of a marten is 14-17 inches, while its tail is 7-9 inches. 

Martens are usually dark tan in color, with brown legs and a tail. They have a white or yellow spot on their neck. This lonely mustelid lives mostly in woodland habitats close to bodies of water.

In addition to being skilled swimmers, martens excel at climbing. The animal can dive headfirst into the water and swim. Although it is primarily a carnivore, the marten may sometimes add fruit to its daily food consumption for variety. 

3. Minks

Although they look like ferrets, minks are prized for their very soft and silky fur. Fur farms in the United States primarily focus on American mink.

Minks may reach a maximum length of 15 inches and a weight of 3.5 pounds. Don’t be startled if a mink shows up at your lakeside home in search of the meat you’ve placed out for stray cats.

A mink’s solitary nature and preference for daytime activity make it an unusual pet. Minks prey on and consume the meat of other animals, such as fish, frogs, snakes, etc. They have the habit of storing the remains for later use.

4. Otters

an otter sitting on a branch of a tree in the forest
Image credit: Nadezda Murmakova, Shutterstock

Otters are carnivores that eat small animals and birds, but also marine organisms like snails, crabs, mussels, fish, and frogs. 

Otters may grow to be between 2.9 and 5.9 feet in length and between 11 and 90 pounds in weight. The average lifespan of a sea otter is 12 years in the wild and much more in captivity.

The sea otter is one of the most prominent members of the mustelid family, and their offspring are always born underwater. River otters are more significant in color than ferrets.

You may also like: Do Ferrets Bite?

5. Tayra

The Tayra people inhabit the jungles of Central and South America. A small animal with dark brown or black hair and ferret-like proportions but larger legs. 

Tayras may travel over four kilometers in a single night and make their homes in caves or hollowed tree trunks. These animals may reach a maximum size of two feet in length and 15 pounds.

The species have a varied diet, including fruit, honey, and small animals and birds.

6. Wolverine

Wolverines are fierce animals. They can track prey for up to 20 feet in the snow. Wolverines create tunnels and caves to access hibernating animals that they will then kill and consume. 

At maturity, the wolverine is 20-24 inches long overall. Wolverines’ weights range from 24 to 40 pounds. They have an estimated 7-12 year lifespan.

Unlike many members of the mustelid family, wolverines may attack and kill larger prey such as mountain goats, moose, caribou, etc. 

Wolverines have powerful jaws that enable them to gnaw through the bones and teeth of their prey.

7. Mongoose

The Mongoose is a species of tiny mammal that may be found in southern Europe, southern Asia, and Africa. 

Mongooses can be characterized by having large bodies and tiny legs in comparison to other mammals. In addition to that, they feature a bushy tail and a pointed nose. 

The mongoose is not a member of the mustelid family. Instead, cats may be in the tiny creature’s family tree.

Because they have many of the same physical qualities, ferrets and mongooses are sometimes mistaken for one another.

8. Skunk

Skunks were formerly classed as mustelids, but genetic studies have placed them in the Mephitidae family. Skunks are omnivores and may reach around the size of a domestic cat when fully grown. Scent gland removal is standard practice in the United States for all skunks kept as pets.

Skunks might be mistaken for ferrets at first sight. Both have tall, slender bodies and dark fur. In comparison to ferrets, skunks do not have a very playful nature.

9. Polecats

polecat sitting on a stone in a forest
Image credit: Edwin Godinho, Shutterstock

The polecat, a kind of mustelid, is often mistaken for a ferret or a weasel. In the dead of winter, the polecat’s dark brown coat transforms into a brilliant white. 

Polecats were originally widespread throughout Britain but were almost wiped out due to human persecution. This animal is a carnivore in nature. 

The average adult polecat is around 21 inches long and weighs 3.9 kg.


Numerous species of animals in the world have a similar appearance to ferrets. The listed nine are ferrets’ closest look alike. 

If you come across an animal resembling a ferret, you may want to look into its identity before labeling it a ferret!

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