home : 2. ferret care : licencing


In the ACT you must have a licence to own or sell a ferret, as well as if you visit the ACT with your ferret/s.

Licences are issued under the Nature Conservation Act 2014. Licences are issued by the Licensing and Investigations Unit, Parks and Territory Services, which is part of the ACT "Territory and Municipal Services" department.

All animals in the ACT need to be licenced under this Act, except those on the exempt list (including dogs, cats, some birds, some reptiles, guinea pigs, mice and various other animals). Because ferrets are not on the exempt list, they require a licence.

Dogs are exempt from licencing under the Nature Conservation Act 2014, however they must be registered in the ACT. Dog registrations (also called dog licences) are issued by Domestic Animal Services (DAS) under the Domestic Animals Act 2000. DAS do not deal with anything other than dog registrations and animal nuisance complaints.

Licence application forms are available from the "Licencing of Plants and Animals" page on the Territory and Municipal Services website. Click the "Standard Licence Application Form" link.

If you have any questions not answered here, contact us or the Licensing & Investigations unit on 6207 2138 or email tams.lc@act.gov.au.

It is a legal requirement for owners to apply for a licence BEFORE obtaining a ferret.

We highly recommend complying with licencing requirements as penalties include fines of $15,000 to keep a non exempt animal without a licence!

A few points about visiting the ACT with a ferret

If you are visiting the ACT from interstate with a ferret, you will need an Import & Export licence.

* If you don't reside in the ACT, you cannot hold a standard licence.

* An import/export licence is free of charge (for non-commercial)

* A new import/export licence is needed for each visit to the ACT.


This information is applicable to owners who reside in the ACT, or those who live interstate and wish to visit the ACT. It does not apply to businesses or any other commercial setup.

Download the "Standard Licence Application Form" from the Territory and Municipal Services web site (link provided above).

"1. Applicant Details"

* Enter your name, address and contact details. Mark N/A against "Business name"

* For a standard licence: provide the address where you and the ferrets will be living in the ACT.

* For an import/export licence: specify the address where the ferrets will be staying during your visit (such as a relative’s address or hotel address)

"2.1 I hereby apply for a licence to:"

* If you live in the ACT: tick "Keep an animal". Cost is approximately $15

* If you are moving to the ACT: tick "Keep an animal" and "Import an animal". Cost is approximately $15

* If you would like to visit the ACT with your ferret: tick "Import an animal" and "Export an animal". Cost is FREE for non-commercial imports/exports.

* If you want to breed and sell ferrets: tick "Sell up to 10 animals" or "Sell between 11-100 animals". Cost is $23-40.

"2.2 Please indicate below, the purpose for which the animals are being kept"

* private collection - most owners will select this option

* breeding - some owners will select this option

"2.3 Flora" - ignore this question

"3. List species of animal/native plants including numbers - Common Name/Scientific Name"

* Common name: Ferret, Scientific name: Mustela furo, indicate how many of each sex you currently have by marking the relevant number in each column.

"4. For importing/exporting, please provide supplier/receiver details"

* For a standard licence: leave blank

* For an import/export licence: complete your name and interstate address

"Duration of activity/Expected date of activity"

* For a standard licence: leave blank or "ASAP". Or if you know the date in the future you will be bringing the ferret home, you can enter this.

* For an import/export licence: specify the approximate duration of your visit, such as "10 - 17 January 2016" or "5 September 2017"

"5. If relevant, please provide details of membership in avicultural/herpetological or botanical/herbaria society or other animal group/society:"

* Include any ferret society memberships here if you are a member

"6. In relation to keeping animals, please provide details of Veterinary Surgery if health problems arise with species:"

* Write the details of your ferret-knowledgeable vet in the ACT (or contact us if you don't yet have one and we can give you our recommended ferret vets)

"7. Keeping arrangements"

7.1 - leave blank - ferrets are not enclosure animals, this question is worded for reptile keepers.

7.2 - Specify your ferret's diet so they know that you understand that ferrets are obligate carnivores and need access to food most of the day/night, eg "Ferrets will be fed twice daily (with enough food to last until the next meal time) with variety including chicken frames, wings & necks, quail meaty bones, and occasional organs."

7.3 - Licencing want to know that you understand how to properly care for the animal you are keeping, so they want to know that you have properly ferret proofed an appropriate area of your house to avoid escapes, and that the ferret will be kept cool in summer. Some examples of what our members have written in this section include:

"Ferret's living area will be ferret-proofed dining room, kitchen & office approx. 25 sq metres. House is air-conditioned in Summer"

"Ferret's living area will be ferret-proofed spare bedroom and hallway, approx. 16 sq metres, and ferret will have access to ferret-proofed loungeroom, kitchen & bathroom while we are home. House is well insulated and hallway is cool tile flooring"

"Ferret's living area will be ferret-proofed double garage which is insulated and shaded, approx. 30 sq metres, and ferret will have access to ferret-proofed loungeroom, kitchen & main bedroom while we are home"

If you have ferret-proofed part (or all) of your backyard, provide dimensions & list fencing type (eg. 5 metre x 5 metres outdoor yard with sheet metal fencing perimeter dug into the ground 50cm deep).

"8.1 Convictions"

Provide any details of past convictions

"8.2 Please provide contact details of individuals/businesses able to verify claims made in this application"

"8.3 Supporting Statement from the individual/business identified in s8.2 of the application"


You can either post the application form in (if paying by cheque, money order or credit card), or fax it in (credit card payments only). The postal address and fax number are shown at the top of the form.


You will be sent a licence book once your application has been approved. If you buy, sell, obtain or lose a ferret, his/her details must be recorded in the book, so that it is always up-to-date with your current ferrets.


Ferrets are illegal in Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Penalties in Queensland include $60,000 fines, imprisonment and euthanasia of any found ferrets (even if the animal is healthy).

Ferrets are legal in all other states in Australia, and do not require a licence. If you are bringing a ferret into Western Australia, quarantine inspections USED TO BE required, but no longer are.


Ferrets are illegal to keep as pets in New York City, USA [more info], California, USA [more info], New Zealand, and various regional localities throughout the USA.

Ferret Society of Canberra

 For more information or to make comments please email mail@ferretclub.org.au