Sables As Pets: Everything You Need To Know To Decide

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A sable is a species of a marten. However, the word “sable” can also be used as an informal way to describe a black coat type in some animals such as cats or rabbits. This mammal is widespread throughout Siberia but also occurs in 6 different countries:

  • Russia
  • Mongolia
  • China
  • North Korea
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan 

They are actually members of the weasel family (also known as mustelids), which includes some pretty aggressive and potentially dangerous animals like the wolverine or American mink.

As it stands, most domesticated sables are ones found in zoos and fur farms. But, it is possible to own a sable as a pet. Is it a good decision, though?

This article will walk you through what makes sables good pets, what makes them not so good, and everything you need to watch out for before deciding to bring one home.

Let’s get started. 

Why Do Sables Make Good Pets?

Do Sables Make Good Pets

Intelligent

On top of being absolutely adorable, these mammals are actually much more intelligent than you might have initially thought. Believe it or not, sables can respond to commands just like dogs

The simple fact that these mostly wild animals can be communicated with is definitely something to keep in mind and shows how intelligent they are.

Sables will also remember all of their hiding spots in your home and are very protective of their territory from strangers.

Exciting

If you are looking for some energy and excitement in your life, then a sable might be the perfect pet for you. They are such high-energy mammals and do not stop running around and playing. 

Having a sable as a pet will undoubtedly keep you very busy throughout the day, which can be either a positive or a negative.

Domestic sables even have a knack for stealing things around your house and hiding them.

Rescue

If you are an animal rights activist or simply care about rescuing and saving animals, a sable might be an interesting pet option for you.

Many sables are caught in the wild and kept in fur farms in Asia’s northern and eastern parts. They are literally kept and bred only for their fur.

With the technology we have today in the 21st century, there is really no good purpose for using animal fur to stay warm. Countless just-as-effective options use artificial fur or other materials that do not involve harming innocent animals. 

The simple fact that one of the only ways to obtain a sable as a pet is to rescue it might be enough of a reason for you to make that commitment. 

Can Make You Change Your Habits/Views

Since most sables that become domestic pets are rescued from fur farms, this experience could very possibly change your habits and views for the better.

Since fur farms are unbelievably inhumane, it can certainly trigger you to begin to lead a more environmentally-friendly or environmentally-conscious lifestyle

In one case, a sable owner in Russia completely changed her diet and decided to be more aware of what products to buy and their effects on the environment.

She stopped eating meat, switched to ethical beauty products, and focused on environmentally conscious habits such as recycling. 

Obviously, this is an extreme case, including a complete diet change, but there are significant benefits to being more conscious of how our habits affect the environment. 

Varied Diet 

An excellent reason to have a sable pet is their very diverse diet. Sables mainly eat other animals such as:

  • Smaller mammals like voles and shrews
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Reptiles
  • Crustaceans
  • Birds

However, they are also omnivorous and consume fruits and berries when available during the spring and summer. These are all examples of what they eat in the wild, but you can easily find similar foods for them at any pet store. 

A sable’s diet is so diverse that providing them with the food they need to thrive is very straightforward. Without strict dietary restrictions, as most other pets have, you can focus more of your time on managing your sable’s high-energy lifestyle. 

Habitat

Sables also have the ability to thrive in a multitude of environments. This fact is another good reason why sables can be good pets — they can make themselves at home almost anywhere.

In the wild, sables live primarily in a variety of dense forests. Sables can also live anywhere from sea-level to high mountain ranges but do not inhabit areas above the tree line.

Although they can climb if they need to, they mostly forage for food on the ground. Your new sable will easily find its favorite hiding spots around your house and quickly find comfort in its new surroundings.

Why Do Sables Make Bad Pets?

Do Sables Make Bad Pets

While there are reasons that can make sables good pets, there are also a few reasons why they do not make an ideal domestic companion. 

Again, these factors are entirely subjective, and while some of you might find these reasons to be minor, the rest of you might view them as absolute deal-breakers. But generally, sables are not recommended pets, especially for a beginner.

(If you’re a beginner, perhaps consider a chinchilla or guinea pig.)

Behavior

Sables tend to be really high-energy. On the outside looking in, they may seem very aggressive, vindictive, and stubborn animals.

Given that they have been only living in the wild, in zoos, or, sadly enough, in fur farms, they are by no means domesticated animals and do whatever they like. 

Their erratic, aggressive behavior is undeniably something that would make keeping a sable as a pet less than ideal, especially for a beginner.

Wild

Many people are bored of dogs and cats as pets and want something rare and unique. A sable unequivocally fits that category. But, many people seem to forget that these animals are first and foremost from the wild

They have never been domesticated apart from being held captive in fur farms or zoos, and let’s be honest, a place that keeps them just for their fur is not treating them with love and kindness. 

Sables have not gone through years and years of being bred in captivity like our classic pets are today. They are still very much considered wild animals in every sense of the word, which can be very unsafe and unpredictable

The unpredictability alone of a completely wild animal is enough to make a sable a risky pet choice at best, and a very bad choice for households with children or other small pets.

Effort

If you read through the first two reasons and are still considering a sable as a pet, this last factor has to be considered.

Sables are by no means as cuddly and calm as their cute faces make them seem. They are incredibly energetic, can jump very high and very far, hide and destroy property, and for lack of a better term, they wreak havoc

Sure, some people love the energy that comes with a pet sable but often forget about the possible damage they cause and the time you need to put aside to tend to these issues.

The constant energy needed might mean leaving your pet home alone is not a viable option unless they are caged up. This brings up the question, is that really fair to this wild animal?

7 Common Questions

can sables be pets

How Much Does A Sable Cost As A Pet?

As a pet, a sable alone will cost about $240. Of course, this is not including any food, accessories, and potential medical bills. 

Add everything together, and the total cost can climb very quickly. As this is still technically considered a wild animal, there is not much literature on how much sables eat or what kind of medical problems they may encounter.

Not to mention, not all vets may have the necessary skills, medicine, or tools to care for this mammal, so you’ll need a specialist, which will probably cost quite a bit.

Are Sables Friendly?

The safe answer here is no. Sables are not friendly. They are not domesticated like other usual pets and tend to show a lot of aggression towards humans because of that. 

Sables have been hunted and held captive for their entire lives, so they are not particularly fond of humans. In fact, they have evolved to be nocturnal animals when close to humans, while they are diurnal when far away from us.

Again, some sables might very well be extraordinarily friendly, but you can never forget that they will always be wild animals and that their demeanor can change in a split second. 

Are Sables Dangerous?

Sables can be quite dangerous to humans. They may have adorable-looking faces, but their sharp little teeth are more than capable of delivering a powerful, painful bite

It continuously circles back around to the fact that sables are wild animals. They are dangerous because wild animals always have an increased chance of carrying diseases. These potential diseases can range from salmonella to rabies to everything in between.

Do Sables Smell?

Sables do tend to have a musky sort of smell — a lot like ferrets. They also mark their territory with a scent produced in glands on their abdomen, and this scent is not very pleasant

Like ferrets, getting your sable spayed or neutered can help with the potent smell. The glands on a sable’s abdomen kind of act like scent sacs that you commonly see in skunks. 

Are Sables Legal In The US?

Nothing is explicitly stating that sables are illegal in the United States. That being said, ferrets are quite a common pet (similar to sables) and are not allowed in some states.

Some states are on the fence with ferrets, pointing towards the fact that sables will also, most probably, cause legal issues. 

They are also not very common in North America, and the only species closely related to a sable is the American marten. Even then, there are very few breeders in the United States, if at all. 

Are Sables Endangered?

Sables are not an endangered species. They are on the least-concern list, meaning they are nowhere near any danger of becoming extinct or being put on the conservation-dependent list. 

There are quite a lot of them in the countries listed above, especially since they are also kept and bred in fur farms.

Are Sables Related To Ferrets?

Sables are closely related to ferrets. The sable is a small member of the Mustadilae family, of which the ferret is also a part of.

They are both species of marten, along with other mammals such as weasels, otters, minks, badgers, wolverines, and many more. 

As mentioned earlier, sables even look like ferrets mixed with a cat or a fox and more fur. Of course, ferrets have long since been domesticated, while sables have not been bred in captivity

Conclusion

It is never recommended to keep wild animals such as sables as pets. They are unpredictable and can be dangerous to humans because of their aggressive nature and disease.

That being said, if you absolutely need to have one as a pet, there are some positives, assuming a sable’s energy lines up with your personality and lifestyle.

They can understand commands as dogs do, and chances are you would be rescuing one from a horrible fur farm. 

Hopefully, the information provided in this article will help you make the right decision for you when it comes time to decide if a sable is the right exotic pet for you.

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