Male vs Female Ferret – How To Distinguish Them?

Whether it is a male or female ferret, both are excellent pets. They are inquisitive, intelligent, and have spunky personalities. It feels so fun to have such pets in the home. However, it is important to know the gender before bringing it into your home. To handle various health considerations and potential challenges, you should know it.

There are different ways to find out whether it is a male or female ferret. You can notice the physical, behavioral, and personality distinctions between ferrets. Here, we’ll compare between male vs female ferret which will help you to choose the perfect addition to your family.

Male vs Female Ferret – Ways to Differentiate and Identify

Male vs Female Ferret

When it comes to choosing a ferret as a pet, many people wonder whether they should get a male or female ferret. While both genders make great pets, there are a few factors that you may want to consider before making your decision.

1. Size and Weight

Male ferrets are also known as hobs and female ferrets are jills. Male and female ferrets are different in size and weight.

Male ferrets are typically larger and more robust in size compared to female ferrets. Their body can be as long as 24 inches which is one of the most noticeable differences. On average, hobs can weigh between 3 to 5 pounds, making them slightly heavier than jills.

Female ferrets are typically smaller and lighter than males. They have a sleeker appearance with a more slender body. Female ferrets can grow up to about 16 inches. On average, jills weigh not more than 3 pounds, making them slightly lighter than hobs.

Despite size and weight, both male and female ferrets look like the same. You can’t differ the gender based on their color and body shape.

2. Musky Scent

One of the most distinctive characteristics of male ferrets is their musky odor. This scent is a natural part of their biology and serves various purposes, including marking territory and attracting potential mates.

Though female ferrets also have a musky odor, it is generally milder in comparison.

3. Personality

Some general observations say that male ferrets are lazier than female ferrets. But it is not the definitive rule. Male ferrets also can be crazy and lazy female ones. There is no fixed personality connected to their gender.

Furthermore, it won’t be surprising if your male ferret prefers to sleep and cuddle. While some experienced ferret owners state that jills tend to be more independent spirits and dominate in their business.

4. Suitability

When considering ferrets as potential pets, they are adaptable to various household types and age groups. Whether you’re living with children, teens, adults, seniors, or even other friendly animals like dogs and cats, ferrets can find their place in your home.

Male ferrets are well-suited for households with ample space for them to explore and play. They are known for their energetic and playful nature. Female ferrets are just as suitable for a diverse range of households as males. Their personalities can vary widely, but they can be loving and playful.

It’s important to note that you should never leave ferrets to roam outdoors unattended. The outside world poses risks, as ferrets can easily become prey for wild and neighborhood animals, or they may wander off and get lost.

5. Breeding

There are major differences when it comes to considering male and female ferret breeding. Female ferrets go through more complex physical conditions in this stage. Here are the details. 

Female Ferret Heat Cycle

For those considering a female ferret as a pet, it’s crucial to understand their heat cycle. When a jill ferret enters the heat cycle mating is the only way to halt. If they stay long in the heat cycle, they may have serious health issues.

During the heat cycle or estrus period, significant hormonal changes are occurring within her body. Estrogen levels rise, causing a range of physical and behavioral changes.

Keeping jills in the heat cycle for an extended period of time can result in severe health problems. The most concerning risk is the development of aplastic anemia. As a result. They can lose both red and white blood cells. If you don’t treat their heat cycle, they can even die.

For those who don’t intend to breed their female ferrets, spaying is the recommended solution to prevent complications. It is a surgical procedure of removing reproductive organs. It is crucial to wait until the ferret is at least 9 months old before spaying.

Male Ferret Mating Season

Male ferrets or hobs have their own unique experiences during mating season. While their mating behaviors are not as complex as those of their female counterparts, it’s essential to be aware of the changes they go through during this period.

A young male ferret enters mating season when his testicles drop. This hormonal change triggers some noticeable alterations in his behavior and scent.

Male ferrets have a musky odor. But during mating season, this scent becomes particularly strong. This intensified odor can be quite noticeable, making it crucial to address if you want to maintain a pleasant living environment.

Moreover, they become more aggressive at this time. You may see signs of territoriality and can show aggression towards other ferrets and humans too.

To manage the challenges, you should separate him from other ferrets. By doing so, you can prevent conflicts and ensure the safety of all your ferrets.

If you wish to avoid the complexities of the mating season altogether, neutering your male ferret is a highly effective solution. Testicles are removed during neutering, which eliminates the hormonal triggers that cause aggressive behavior and strong scent.


Ferrets are fun creators. Whether it is male or female, it doesn’t matter in terms of suitability as pets. They can fully thrive in various household settings. If you provide them the care, attention, and a safe environment, they will flourish.

However, both male and female ferrets have unique breeding situations. So you should consider it before buying one. Apart from this, both types of ferrets are lovable and excellent furry companions.