Difference between a Mongoose and a Ferret
By Claire Miles - May 19, 2023

If you’ve ever seen a ferret and a mongoose together, you might have wondered if they were related. Maybe you assumed they were the same animal. This similarity is due to their shared heritage. A mongoose is a slender, ferret-like carnivore of the Herpestes genus that feeds on rodents, birds, and eggs, noted especially for its ability to kill cobras and other venomous snakes.

A ferret is a small animal related to the weasel and belongs to the genus Mustelidae. The ferret was initially bred to hunt rabbits and rodents.

Mongoose vs. Ferret

Certain species of mongoose outweigh ferrets, and their bodies are bulkier in comparison to the slim physique of the standard ferret. Finally, wild ferrets are located in entirely different geographical areas than mongooses. The average ferret develops to be 1-2 feet long and weighs 1-4 pounds, whereas the average mongoose grows to be 1-3 feet long and weighs 1-8 pounds.

Most wild ferrets are found in Europe, whereas mongoose is found in Africa and Asia. As a result, ferrets favor moderate weather and meadows, whereas mongooses prefer dry, desert areas.

Mongoose ears are somewhat more extensive than ferret ears. They come in various hues, with ferrets having more color options than mongooses. Mongoose coats are often gray, red, brown, or yellow, whereas ferret coats are black, brown, gray, or cream.

Finally, Mongoose behavior is distinct from that of ferrets. While ferrets have complex social structures and routines with other ferrets and people, many mongooses choose solitary lives. On the other hand, some mongoose species enjoy sophisticated socialization and rely on their fellow mongoose for survival. So while domesticated ferrets are pretty commonplace and include a few recognized breeds, mongooses are not well known for their love for living in homes. It should be said, however, that there are multiple occurrences of human relationships with mongooses, especially in native regions.

Comparison Chart
  1. Not easily domesticated
Tame and easily domesticated
  1. Primarily native to Africa and Asia
Largely native to Europe
  1. Typically larger than ferrets
Typically smaller and slender