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Ferrets’ Guilty Pleasures

What does your ferret enjoy doing that probably isn’t good for it?

By Rebecca Stout
Posted: December 1, 2010, 5 a.m. EST

Page 1 of 2

ferret
© Courtesy Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson's four ferrets got into the pantry so much to steal food that a lock had to be put on it to keep them out.

Kissing fat, chubby ferret toes, sneaking chocolate out of the cooking cabinet, sitting down to watch a cheesy reality show, staying up at night chatting on the Internet, and spending extra cash on my pets that are already spoiled rotten — these are my guilty pleasures. Several of them are very common among people. Do our ferrets have any guilty pleasures? Sure they do! Some are common among them and some are unique to each individual just like they are with people.

A ferret’s guilty pleasure may not be as complex as the current storyline on The Jersey Shore or as luxurious as a bubble bath, but they do have some in common with us. Ferrets’ guilty pleasures just have a ferrety spin.

Many of us love to burrow our faces in fresh laundry and take a good whiff, while ferrets love the smell of sweaty socks. We may steal treats that are bad for us such as a bite of chocolate here and there, and they may steal the occasional bug that passes by (well, OK, if you are not careful they will also steal the very chocolate you go to pop in your mouth). Visits at the spa are a common thing that people enjoy, but a ferret’s spa day would consist of a dirt bath in your favorite potted plant. Better yet, if a ferret can manage to topple a glass of water sitting nearby onto the dirt it has dug out, it will love to wallow in a wondrous mud bath.

Common Ferret Guilty Pleasures
Some common guilty pleasures that ferrets enjoy are: licking and cleaning ferret ears, power-sniffing ferret poo, plunging their faces in goldfish bowls, chasing and nipping people’s toes, lapping up Ferretone, heisting shoe insoles, digging (in anything they are not supposed to), stealing virtually anything laying around, and rooting through forbidden places such as trash cans, closets and cabinets.

Patti Riggert from Oregon is a ferret owner of 20 years. She describes a common household object that many ferrets are obsessed with — the cardboard tubes found inside toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Her ferrets are no exception to the rule. “I cut them down the middle so she can’t get stuck in them, and she’ll crawl inside and just roll around and around in it for ages.” To this day she finds it difficult to resist the tiny fuzzy faces when they look at her with those tiny button eyes. “All of mine love it if I drop the entire roll of paper towels in their room and don’t notice. The next time I go in, it’s totally shredded and all over the place. I have to give them a roll on occasion just so they can have their fun with it.”

Who doesn’t love the very treats that are so unhealthy for us? Like their human caretakers, the most common guilty pleasures for ferrets are treats that they aren’t supposed to eat — or at least not devour in abundance. Ferrets should never eat anything other than meat-based products because they lack the part of the stomach to digest vegetables and fruits. Serious harm, even fatality, can result from blockages that may occur due to ingestion of these things. But ferrets don’t care.

Almost anything is fair game in Chris Anderson’s home in Florida. Anderson’s ferrets, Moe, Rocket, Eddie and Carol, constantly try to steal bites of Cheetos, bananas, melon, cakes, zucchini, potatoes and much more. “We finally had to put locks on the pantry.”

Gloria Davis of Florida said that her little 1½-year-old little girl, Nutmeg, loves watermelon. She lets her have a few tastes with breakfast every morning. “She would eat it until she got sick if we let her, I think. She also loves to steal tools — saws, screwdrivers, mops and any kind of crinkly paper.”

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Just found out my ferret likes oatmeal cookies
Vilanong, Toronto, ON
Posted: 7/29/2013 7:52:19 PM
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