Can you own a least weasel as a pet? The short answer is no! Least weasels are wild animals that belong in their natural habitat. It is illegal to keep them as pets in many countries like the US and Canada. But there is a small pet that is very similar. Read on to learn more!
Least weasels are cute and active. It is totally understandable that many people desire them as pets.
But at a deeper look, it is not hard to get that these exotic animals would not make good pets.
If you are still interested and want to learn more about these critters, read more about my seven reasons why you better opt for another small pet.
#1 Pet Least Weasels Are Illegal
Many countries like the US and Canada have laws that forbid keeping wild animals as pets.
This is for various reasons like protecting wildlife or preventing pathogens to be spread over to domesticated species.
Most people won’t be able to consistently meet the needs of least weasels as pets. I bet you can imagine that some species are very hard to care for.
As tempting as owning a pet least weasel might be, it is likely that you would get the point after caring a few weeks for one of them.
Of course, there are exceptions for zoos and animal parks that usually have more resources and the knowledge to take proper care of.
Getting such a license is nearly impossible for private persons and requires a good reason. You also would have to show, that you can provide everything that these animals need (enclosure, food, veterinary care).
#2 Least Weasels Are Aggressive Predators
Least weasels are small mammals, actually, the smallest weasels that exist.
So how can these be dangerous predators?
You are right, if you think, that they won’t eat a living human. But a bite from a frightened or stressed least weasel can still hurt badly.
They are fearless carnivores that are going after prey that is much bigger than themself. By the way, honey badgers are known for similar behavior.
If you have any other small pets like hamsters, rabbits or guinea pigs, imagine how they would feel living beside a predator that constantly wants to eat them.
Additionally, there is nothing like pellets or processed weasel food.
You would have to organize their diet in your own way what is a real hustle.
#3 Least Weasels Are Hyperactive
Even the most active small pets like ferrets or rats are nothing compared to least weasels.
While you might wish for a pet you can play with, it is likely that you are not prepared for these little energy bundles.
One or two hours of one-on-one time wouldn’t be enough. And you would need a large outside run in which the animal can freely roam.
Have in mind that furry animals tend to be more nocturnal during the cold winter months.
Probably you wouldn’t be able to sleep that much while your pet is jumping around in its cage.
Another thing is that these nervous animals can easily get scared if they see larger pets like a dog.
#4 Least Weasels Have Scent Glands
Least weasels have scent glands like sables to mark their territory.
While this behavior is common for several species in the wild, it would be really annoying to have such a stink bomb in your house.
Just imagine there is always this smell you can’t get rid of. Every visitor will notice it, there is no way around it.
#5 Least Weasels Are Not Domesticated
Unlike other species that make good pets, least weasels are not domesticated.
That means, even if you are able to find a young one that can be tamed, it still will remain a wild animal.
Specialized breeders needed many generations to get the kind of dog we know as a friend and family member today.
This is no other with hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits that can be bought at the pet store.
You won’t find any least weasel that was bred towards our needs. And you would have the same problem with mongooses and minks which also belong to the weasel family.
#6 Veterinary Care Is Hard To Find
Because barely anyone owns a pet least weasel, it would be hard to find a veterinarian with good knowledge of these critters.
Most likely the only ones who really know this field, work for zoos that keep such exotic animals.
Of course, all pet lovers hope to have a healthy little friend. But even if no major issues occur you should be able to do regular check-ups once a year.
#7 There Are No Pet Least Weasels For Sale
This seems to be obvious as they are illegal. There are no least weasels for sale.
The only possibility would be to catch a wild one. And that wouldn’t be a great idea and can be considered as cruel.
However, in the next section, I’m going to introduce a close relative which is suitable as a pet.
Least Weasel Alternatives
The animal I was talking about earlier is a ferret. They look and act similar and if it is that what you are after read further.
These little critters can make wonderful pets in the right hands. They are very playful, can be trained and love to interact with their human family.
But don’t expect that ferrets are low maintenance. They need a lot of exercise and feel lonely pretty fast, so you should plan to spend a few hours with them per day.
A big advantage is that it is quite easy to find a reputable ferret breeder which sells healthy pets from a good bloodline.
The breeder also takes care of everything health-related. He can inform you about needed vaccines and everything you have to know.
Even if ferrets have scent glands too, these are often surgically removed at a very young age. That doesn’t remove the smell completely but should be fine for most people.
However, I recommend getting familiar with the smell of this kind of pet before you buy one.
You can do this by visiting a breeder. I don’t recommend buying a ferret from a pet store anyway.
The only thing you have to consider is that ferrets are illegal as pets in Hawaii, California and New York.
Read this article if you want to learn more about ferret care.
Wrapping Things Up
Least weasels aren’t just illegal as pets, I also bet you wouldn’t have much joy with them.
They aren’t domesticated and therefore have all their wild instincts remained.
Additionally, they are very active and need a large run to exercise and roam. Further, their scents would turn your whole house into a stinky whole that nobody wants to enter anymore – including yourself.
Ferrets can be a great alternative as they are like “domesticated least weasels”.