Important information for ferret owners 

Establishment of a Great Britain register of ferrets and other captive Mustelinae

Update from Chris Bain, Policy Officer for Disease Control Branch of the Scottish Government.

Dear colleague,

Further to our update of 20 August 2021 regarding the GB Ferret Register, we can now confirm that the GB Ferret (and other Mustelinae) Register has been launched.

Regiistration is now voluntary in Scotland, England and Wales, but the policy intention is to make this register compulsory in the near future. 

Background to the register

In Autumn 2020, events in Denmark confirmed that new variants of SARS-COV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - can arise in mink and can infect humans. 

Whilst mink farming is banned in the UK, recent research has demonstrated that ferrets are also susceptible to the virus and new variants can arise as the infection is transmitted between members of their own species. 

It is important to note that human to human transmission remains the most significant route of infection.

Irrespective of whether they are already recorded on the GB Ferret Register, the movement of animals infected with SARS-COV-2 may be restricted in line with The Zoonoses Order (1989).

The GB Ferret (and other Mustelinae) Register is now available on a voluntary basis. Keepers of Mustelinae, including:

  • ferrets
  • polecats
  • hybrids of these animals
  • stoats
  • mink

can use the register to submit their animal's details to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Government will use this information to determine the size and location of the kept ferret population. 

Those who join the Register will receive updates and guidance from APHA.

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case, or cases, of COVID-19 associated with kept ferrets or other Mustelinae, you will be contacted by APHA and provided with information and guidance on disease prevention measures. 

Your data will be used to help deal with incidence of animal disease, with the aim of protecting public health. Any information provided by you would be on a voluntary basis.

If you are a keeper in England please register or call 0800 6341 112 

Registration link for owners in England

If you are a keeper in Scotland please register or call 01466 794323

Registration link for owners in Scotland

If you are a keeper in Wales please register or call 0800 6341 112

Registration link for owners in Wales

See further advice on SARS-CoV-2 and ferret keeping, or contact your vet if you have any concerns about the health of your ferret/Mustelinae. 

Link to further advise about SARS-CoV-2 and ferret keeping