The Snake Hunter: Do Ferrets Kill Snakes

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Do you have ferrets as pets? If so, you don’t need to worry about snakes because ferrets consume rodents, and they will eliminate any snakes hiding in your yard. You may certainly wonder now; do ferrets kill snakes?

Yes, ferrets can kill and feed on snakes. Along with being obligate carnivores, ferrets also prey on several other creatures. They consume snakes, birds, and rodents. Furthermore, they benefit from having sharp nails and claws when hunting snakes and other animals.

If you are interested in knowing more about the use of ferrets to eradicate snakes, read the information below to learn everything.

What Is a Ferret?

Ferrets are small domestic pet animals. They are active and curious by nature. According to the Journal of Nutritional Science, ferrets are carnivores, and people used them for hunting in Europe and North America.

These animals perceive people as friends and develop close bonds with their owners. Because of their friendly and endearing character, they are a well-liked choice for pets. They can live for six to ten years.

Ferrets are carnivores and related to polecats from Europe and Steppe. Moreover, they love to sleep more than 18 hours a day. They use scent to communicate with one another and smell to hunt their prey. Besides that, they also express their emotions through their postures and sounds. Remember, as these pets are peculiar animals, you must take them out to fulfill their curiosity.

Can a Ferret Eat Snakes?

Yes, a ferret can eat snakes. It is feasible and quite likely that your ferret will consume the snake if it kills one. A ferret kills or eats a snake because it may feel threatened, take it as fun, or may feel starving. However, the ferret typically does it to defend its nest rather than for food.

Moreover, ferrets are vicious biters who will not yield to any intruder, so they can kill snakes, even poisonous ones. Wild ferrets, also referred to as polecats, like hunting and eating snakes. They monitor and stalk their prey snake patiently before seizing them and killing them with a quick bite to the neck. Therefore, if ferrets kill snakes, they can undoubtedly devour them.

Why Does a Ferret Kill Snakes?

Ferrets have innate predatory nature, which can cause them to kill snakes just like cats do. Although not all ferrets follow their impulses, male ferrets are more likely to do so because they are the most aggressive and territorial.

Even female ferrets kill snakes in some circumstances. In short, there is no alternative explanation for this behavior of ferrets other than the fact that it is innate. Additionally, ferrets kill snakes because they may feel frightened after encountering snakes or only when they are hungry.

If you keep a ferret, it is recommended to exercise caution while exposing your ferret to a snake.

Does a Snake Bite Always Kill Ferrets?

No, a snake bite doesn’t kill your ferret always. If a snake accidentally bites your ferret, you can prevent the death of your ferret by giving it timely medical care and taking it to the clinic. Your ferret will be in good health in 2 to 3 days if you give it the proper attention and treatment.

Moreover, if a non-poisonous snake bites your ferret, it will stay alright. But if your ferret is near a large snake, you must take extra precautions for its safety. Furthermore, as a poisonous snake, the king cobra can kill your ferret with its toxin.

Other snakes, like Anacondas, wouldn’t bite ferrets. But by squeezing it and choking it, it will quickly kill the ferret. The anaconda then ingests the ferrets.

Symptoms of Snake Bite in Ferrets

When a snake bites your ferret, its venom enters into the ferret’s skin tissues through the snake’s fangs. The lymphatic system of the ferret then circulates this poison throughout the blood of the entire system.

The snake venom mainly affects the nervous system of a ferret. Therefore, check out the below symptoms if a snake bites your pet ferret:

  • Your ferret suddenly becomes weak and lethargic.
  • Excessive bleeding may also occur.
  • It may have diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Its pupil may dilate and become irresponsive to light.
  • Sudden shock which may result in fits.
  • Paralysis may occur in severe cases.

If you notice any above symptoms in your ferret, take immediate action because your ferret may die.

Do Snakes and Ferrets Co-Exist?


No, a ferret and a snake can’t live together. If you’re fond of keeping pets in your home and want to keep both snakes and ferrets together then you must prepare your home for this. However, it’s best to avoid keeping them if you don’t have the required space.

In the worst-case scenario, keeping your pets together in the same cage will result in the death of either the snake or the ferret. Your ferret can kill and feed on snakes, while when a snake grows more significant, it may kill your ferret.

Therefore, you must keep your pet snake in a snake tub. This will prevent your ferret from breaking into the snake tub. Hence, eventually, both animals stay safe and soon.

Who Will Win in a Ferret V/S Snake Match?

If there is a fight between snakes and ferrets, the ferrets will succeed because they are fast and furious animals. Even deadly snakes can’t keep up with their speed. A snake could only conquer this conflict either by ambush or by its size.

A ferret, for instance, cannot compete with an anaconda. They won’t cross paths, as they are in different geographical areas. Thus, a small and medium size snake can’t win a fight against a ferret. However, rattlesnakes will prevail over a ferret in an ambush.

Can Ferrets Keep Snakes Away?

Yes, ferrets can keep snakes away from your home or property.  According to the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management, ferrets have multiple behaviors due to their loner lifestyle. They primarily hunt mice, rats, rabbits, and other small animals, but if given the chance, they will also kill snakes.

In a snake and ferret fight, ferrets hurt the snakes to stay safe. Therefore, having ferrets will prevent snakes from entering your yard because snakes are scared of ferrets. If a snake makes its way into your yard and encounters a ferret, it will likely be wary of harming it out of concern that it might be injured.

Are Ferrets Immune to the Venom of Snakes?

No, ferrets don’t have immunity against snake venom. But when they go after dangerous snakes to hunt, their speed and lightness become their weapon. Additionally, ferrets hit their prey with extra caution. Their well-timed bites effectively leave the venomous snake ineffective.

Furthermore, the snake gets no chance to fight when the ferrets hunt in groups. Ferrets also have a well-built digestive system that quickly digests the snake’s venom. Moreover,  they can continue their regular lives after being bitten by a lethal snake because of their high pain tolerance.

Therefore, these characteristics make ferrets more likely than other species to survive snake bites.

How Do You Deal with Snake Bites in Ferrets?

Although ferrets can survive snake bites, you must follow the below cautions to keep them safe.

Inspect Ferrets

A thorough checkup is one of the best ways to keep your ferret healthy following a snake bite. The stings of venomous snakes are frequently dry. It indicates that your ferret didn’t receive an injection of lethal venom. Observe the signs of tissue swelling in your ferret if snake venom enters its body.

Over and above all, if you find any alarming signs in your ferret, ask for help from your vet to keep your ferret safe and sound.

Stay Calm & Cool

If a snake bites your ferret, it’s natural to become upset. Nevertheless, you must maintain your composure and stay calm, so you can decide what action needs to be taken next. Moreover, maintaining composure will let you analyze the situation and choose the best action to protect your ferret’s safety and well-being.

Identify the Snake

Although identifying a snake is a bit challenging, you must try to identify it to rule out the snake bite in your ferret. Knowing the snake’s identity will enable you to decide whether or not your ferret needs anti-venom therapy. If you find a venomous snake, start anti-venom medicines immediately to keep your ferret alive.

However, take safety precautions if you encounter a non-venomous snake to avoid future problems.

Give Pain Killer to Ferrets

If your ferret gets a dry snake bite, you must administer pain-relieving medications to your pet. But you should make sure a veterinarian recommends it. Additionally, if your ferret has trouble breathing or may pass out, you should skip this step. In such a situation, you should head straight to your veterinarian.

Call a Vet

The tissue’s inflammation is the most typical sign of a snake bite. So, the most efficient way to treat pain is to provide medications via injection. Tell the veterinarian if you have previously given any medication at home. Your ferret can need anti-vom in situations like seizures or collapsing, but not all veterinarians stock it because of its short shelf life.

Above all, it is advised to preserve a list of facilities that offer anti-venom if you live in a neighborhood where snakes are present or if a snake and a ferret share an enclosure.

Things that Kill Ferrets

There are many dangers for ferrets. They play the roles of both prey and predator in the wild. Below are the things that may be harmful to your ferret.

Fruits & Vegetables that Kill Your Ferret

Ferrets have a digestive mechanism designed to break down the meat. However, they can’t digest complex carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables, including apples, bananas, and carrots, are rich in carbohydrates. So, whenever ferrets eat them, they get severe intestinal obstruction and ultimately die.

Birds that Kill Your Ferret

Hawks, owls, and golden eagles assault ferrets and try to consume them at every opportunity. Although it is typically difficult for birds to catch ferrets due to their speed, they are constantly looking for a chance to do so.

Ferret-Killing Mammals

Although ferrets are adept at protecting themselves, they are constantly a threat. Some dangerous mammals to ferrets’ lives include dogs, foxes, coyotes, and badgers. Among these animals, badgers are regarded as one of the ferrets’ greatest predators in the wild. They treat ferrets as adversaries when they come within their domain.

Although badgers often prevail over ferrets despite ferrets’ strong defensive abilities and superior size, this doesn’t always happen.

Dairy Products

It’s hard for ferrets to digest dairy products. So, they should avoid eating them in any situation. It is because dairy products are high in carbs that can make ferrets extremely ill, which can result in cancer or death.

Final Thoughts

Ferrets are amazing animals and can trap and kill snakes. Even if snakes can do the same, only big snakes can successfully combat a ferret. Therefore, if you own a pet snake, never keep ferrets and snakes together.

Although ferrets are carnivores, they attack snakes when they are scary or to defend themselves from snakes. Moreover, if a snake accidentally bites your ferret, it may die. Hence, you should ask for immediate help from a Vet if a snake bites your ferret or if you experience any symptoms of a snake bite in your pet.


Although birds and other snakes are the most frequent predators of snakes, here is the list of the most common predators. Mongooses, Honey Badger, King Cobras, Secretary Birds, Hedgehogs, Kingsnakes, Snake Eagles, and Bobcats are keen predators of snakes.

Many animals kill snakes despite the difficulty of doing so. Besides ferrets, the dog is the most common pet that kills snakes. Although dogs are not taught to kill snakes, some have the hunting prowess, attentiveness, and protective personalities to defend a person from a snake if one poses a threat.

Yes, ferrets can kill cats. As ferrets are similar to cats, both of them have equal chances of injuring or killing the other. Therefore, keep your cats and ferrets apart at all times if you have them living together, and make sure your ferret is well-socialized and trained.

Yes, ferrets can consume gophers. Ferrets work best for the biological control of gophers. Moreover, some farmers employ ferrets as natural predators to eradicate rodent infestations. Therefore, if you have a ferret that lives in a gopher-infested area, don’t be shocked if you see it kill a gopher one day.

Yes, a wild ferret may pose a threat, but in rare cases. While humans are immune to sickness when touching a ferret, people with compromised immune systems get sick. Ferrets may cause scratches, influenza, and rabies in weak people.


Blanchard, G., Marsot, M., Bourassin, R., Paragon, B., Benet, J., & Linsart, A. (2018). Characterisation of the French ferret population, husbandry, reported medical care and feeding habits. Journal of Nutritional Science, 7, E4. doi:10.1017/jns.2017.51

Tyler N. Tretten; Rarely Observed Behaviors and Occurrences of Black-footed Ferrets Preconditioning for Wild Release 2014–2017. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 1 June 2019; 10 (1): 241–249.