Ferret V.S. Mongoose: Differences & Questions Answered

There are lots of animals in the wild that are similar to the size of cats, these are namely mongooses. On the other hand, ferrets tend to be smaller than cats, then again, other ferrets are larger.

The sizes of both mongooses and ferrets respectively may be one of the reasons why people are interested in having them as pets. Normally, it’s common for people to have this thinking that small animals equate to eligible pets that are easy to take care of.

With that being said, this article will answer some of the most common questions about mongooses and ferrets. Ultimately, this will help people distinguish the difference between the two animals and whether or not these two animals make good pets.



Ferrets have recently made it to the list of popular pets in the United States and there’s a good reason why. These animals make great pets! They’re adorable, but they are also a unique animal with its quirks that aren’t seen in your typical cats and dogs.

Ferrets are friendly and curious animals that would surely make any person happy. Of course, ferrets aren’t 100% perfect, why?

These animals are capable of carrying around diseases such as campylobacter, cheyletiellosis, giardiasis, influenza, rabies, ringworm, and salmonella.

If a family is planning to buy a ferret for a pet, it’s best not to own one, especially if there are children in the household. Children are more at risk for bites, however, if the household has older-aged children, then it would be safe to own a ferret.

It’s always best to observe proper handwashing after handling a ferret. This is to ensure that the bacteria that they may be carrying won’t be transferred to a person.


A ferret can move as fast as 15 miles per hour. They’re also capable of maintaining their speed whilst burrowing underground.

Ever wonder why their bodies look the way it is? Well, that’s because it has a function, mainly their body structure enables them to move rapidly underground, through tunnels and all that.


The average size of a ferret would range from 8 to 18 inches (head to body) and their tails would usually measure from 2.8 inches to 7.5 inches, and the measurements for the tail are almost identical to the measurements of half of their bodies.

Male ferrets, also known as hobs, tend to be larger while female ferrets, known as jills, are smaller.

The weight of an average ferret would be 1 to 5.5 pounds. Both hobs and jills lose weight when they undergo the process of neutering.


Ferrets are nocturnal animals, so they love to roam around during the night and are most active during these times.

Ferrets are also predators, they mostly hunt during the night of course. They have excellent hearing, sense of smell, and great sight. When frightened, they make chattering noises which is somewhat similar to hissing sounds.

Another characteristic of ferrets is they love to sleep. During the winter, their slumber takes longer. Moreover, they would burrow themselves underground and sleep there for a week!

The information above is associated with wild ferrets, domesticated ferrets on the other hand, also share the same characteristics. The only difference perhaps would be the duration of their slumber.

Domesticated ferrets would happily adjust their sleep cycle during times when their owners are awake, but of course, they’re still ferrets, so expect them to sleep at least 18 hours a day.


Ferrets are pure carnivores so they will only consume meat. The types of meat that ferrets consume in the wild would be rabbits, possums, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, and rodents.

Ferrets occasionally feed on birds, amphibians, fish, bird eggs, and reptiles which are also beneficial to their diet.



A mongoose is an animal that belongs to the Viverridae family which is a family of long-bodied and short-legged carnivores. Often times mongooses are also referred to as civet cats.

There’s not a lot of experiences being shared among people when it comes to owning mongooses because they’re not commonly owned pets.

Mongooses are better off being left in the wild rather than attempting to domesticate them and turn them into pets. This is because the behavior of a mongoose is unpredictable and this can be unsafe for humans, especially families with children.

In addition, mongooses are also prone to carrying rabies. These are clear signs that it’s not recommended for humans to own a mongoose as a pet. Although it’s possible to own one, it’s still highly discouraged in numerous countries.

Importation could possibly be a hassle as well. This specifically applies to mongooses that have been used for scientific purposes.

If people would still wish to own a mongoose as a pet, there will be certain requirements they must meet to be permitted in owning an exotic wild animal.

Although there may be consequences in owning a mongoose, that doesn’t make them bad animals overall. Mongooses are very much capable of developing mutualistic relationships with humans.

This has been rooted in instances where mongooses are being used by people to eliminate pests in their homes.


Mongooses are fast animals and a close estimate of their speed would be 20 miles per hour. These animals rely on their speed and agility to overpower snakes and then bite their skull, thus killing them.


The sizes of mongooses vary depending on their type of species (among the mongoose species). For instance, a dwarf mongoose’s size measures from 7 to 10 inches, and its tail’s measurement is 6 to 8 inches.

The largest kind of mongoose is called the white-tailed mongoose and this one measure from 19 to 28 inches while the tail’s measurement is 18.5 inches.


Mongooses are active during the daytime, they mostly do their hunting during these times as well, once nighttime strikes, that’s when they rest.

The communication between mongooses is also unique since they chatter to each other the majority of the time and create distinct sound patterns, which can be related to how humans communicate with one another.

This enables them to communicate about their movements as a group, spreading information, and others. These are essential for when they go out from their homes and hunt for their food.

Mongooses can either be solitary or social animals, it really depends on their species. For mongooses who like to travel in groups, called colonies, they work together in fighting off other animals.

They help one another in hunting as well. An interesting thing about mongoose colonies is they can reach up to 50 in number. Colonies always stick together, especially when they migrate.


The diet of mongooses includes animals such as reptiles, birds, worms, insects, and rodents. There are other species of mongoose that include other foods aside from meat such as seeds, nuts, and fruits.

Differences Between Ferret & Mongoose

Active during the dayNocturnal animals
Larger in sizeSmaller than a mongoose
Closely related to cats  Closely related to weasels
Mongooses are faster than ferretsFerrets are slower than mongooses
Not recommended to be a pet due to its natureFerrets are fairly safe to own as a pet
Can eat fruits, seeds, and nutsThe digestive system of ferrets are only capable of breaking down meat

Similarities Between A Ferret & Mongoose

  • Both animals are carnivorous.
  • Both animals are capable of developing a mutualistic relationship with humans.
  • Both animals are fairly fast and can catch smaller prey with ease.
  • Both animals carry dangerous substances. Ferrets can be carriers of salmonella and other diseases while mongooses carry rabies.

Do Ferrets & Mongoose Make Good Pets?

Only ferrets make good pets since mongooses aren’t recommended to be owned as a pet due to their unpredictable nature.

Some ferrets have specifically been domesticated for humans either for hunting purposes or for being house pets. This is because the behavior of ferrets is adjustable and they can happily live under one roof with a human without causing too much trouble.

Ferrets are known to be friendly creatures as well so there’s that. Mongooses on the other hand are unpredictable and usually carry rabies. This can pose some serious threats to families.

Is A Ferret A Mongoose?

No, a ferret is not a mongoose.

A ferret is its own kind of animal and the ferret species belongs to a specific family called Mustelids, whereas mongooses belong to the family Herpestidae.

Is The Ferret Part Of The Mongoose Family?

No, ferrets aren’t a part of the mongoose family.

Ferrets are closely related to weasels which is the complete opposite for mongooses. Mongooses are closely related to cats.

The ferret species is under the Mustelids family while the mongoose species falls under the Herpestidae family.

Are Mongoose & Ferrets Related?

No, mongooses and ferrets are not related to each other.

Although these two animals somewhat share the same appearance, they’re not related to each other at all.

The only basis for this claim (of ferrets and mongooses not being related to each other) is by looking at their family tree.

It’s been reiterated that both species belong to different families, so that makes them undeniably not related to each other.