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Common name: Ferrets
Botanical name: Mustela furo
Management programme: Advisory

Where are they originally from?

They were introduced from Europe in the 1880s to control rabbits.

Why are they a pest?

Ferrets are a significant predator that prey on a variety of native species birds, lizards, frogs, eggs, eels and insects.

Where are they found?

Generally found in grasslands, scrub, pastureland, forest fringes and urban and suburban areas.

What do they look like?

  • The largest of the mustelid family in New Zealand.
  • The colour is variable, with a typical white or cream undercoat and a variable quantity of longer dark guard hairs giving some animals a black looking appearance while other appear almost white.
  • A variable dark mask occurs across the eyes and above the nose.
  • The tail is uniformly dark.

What are the rules?


Council does not enforce the control of advisory species. It is landowner/occupier responsibility to manage these pests. Council may provide advice on how to manage or control advisory species if required.

How do you get rid of them?

  • Trapping
  • Poisoning

CAUTION: When using pesticide please READ THE LABEL thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. When using traps please ensure that all instructions, safety requirements and laws (in particular the Animal Welfare Act 1999) are followed

NAWAC (National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee) approved kill traps need to be set as per the manufacturers guidelines. 

Guidelines on trap use

DISCLAIMER: Information in this fact sheet regarding pesticides does not necessarily appear on the labels of the products concerned. Bay of Plenty Regional Council does not accept liability for any damage that may arise from the use of pesticides at non-standard rates. Mention of product trade names implies neither endorsement of those products nor criticism of similar products not mentioned. Bay of Plenty Regional Council does not accept liability for any damage or injury that may arise from the use of traps, toxins and firearms.

 Read more on pest control guidelines and regulations