Posted: April 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
© Courtesy of Nick Williams
Nick Williams and his ferret Ajax found out the hard way what happens when an ambitious ferret tries to drag a bag of ferret food down the stairs.
Nick Williams of West Yorkshire, England, lives with three ferrets, one of which is an especially ambitious critter. When he is home, Williams allows his “rope kittens” to run freely around the house to happily dance and dook about. They have access to a large bag of ferret food in a cupboard at the top of the stairs and are free to help themselves to an occasional snack and to stash as much as they like. One night, a loud crash sounded from upstairs and his ferret, Ajax, flew down the stairs and dove under the sofa. Williams investigated the noise. “I found that not only had Ajax decided he’d like to stash some food, but apparently couldn’t be bothered carting it one piece at a time — instead deciding to take the entire bag,” Williams said. “He hadn’t figured out what would happen when it got to the edge of the stairs.” Ajax quickly found out and was apparently more surprised than his owner that the bag had fallen.
If dry kibble can make a big mess, what can be done with soft food? Ardith Raine, a member of a ferret rescue and foster network in Nevada, found out. Her ferret mess story involves two rescues: an extremely feisty, tiny, female named Korbel and a sweet, sensitive ferret named Patch that is three times Korbel’s size. Korbel decided that Patch was the enemy and knocked him off his feet at any opportunity. The mess occurred when Raine gave the 15 ferrets in her care “ferret soup” in two separate plates. Korbel was eating at one plate with her “gang” and Patch was at the other plate with another group. “I started changing potty papers and gathering food and water dishes to wash’” Raine said. “I just stepped over the barrier with an armload when I heard screaming. Korbel had left her plate to see what the other guys had, saw Patch, and attacked. They were both in the soup plate, soup flying everywhere. By the time I could get to them, both were soaked in soup, and several others were trying to lick soup from each other. We had an unplanned bath day.”
Anything is possible with ferrets, so here’s a real twist for you — Robin Jones’ ferrets trained her to make their messes for them! Her ferret, Petey, loved plastic eggs. So she decided to surprise him. She bought as many bags of plastic eggs as she could during an Easter sale. She couldn’t wait to see Petey’s reaction to the colorful wonderland they would create. “When the day came, I took the area rug up off the hardwood floor so the eggs would roll all over the room. Then I opened all of the bags of eggs, hundreds of them all over. I was so excited,” Jones said. “I opened Petey’s cage and set him down amidst all his new toys. And he just sat there. Nothing, zip, zilch, nada. He could not have cared less. I spent the rest of the afternoon picking up eggs. I still have that big garbage bag of eggs.” Lesson learned. Ferrets only like their own messes.
© Courtesy of Kristina Borgstrom
Fitch the ferret nearly gave his mom a heart attack after getting into some fake blood.
© Courtesy of Kristina Borgstrom
Fitch the ferret looks so innocent, you'd never guess he could make a mess with fake blood.
One of the strangest ferret mess stories is also one of the scariest. Kristina Borgstrom of Washington State is a volunteer and foster mom for Washington Ferret Rescue and Shelter. She has seen her share of ferret messes over the years, but ferrets can shock even the most seasoned ferret fanciers. She came home to a terrifying sight one day when her ferret, Fitch, greeted her. “I went below to the ferret room in my basement to find my ferret covered in blood. I screamed and grabbed him and immediately gave him an exam to find the wound. I looked all over his little body, and all I got was an annoyed ferret.” The relief she felt was short-lived, because she realized that her other ferret, Earl, must have been the one hurt. To her surprise, she found him safe and sound, snoozing away. Borgstrom got a warm, wet cloth to clean up Fitch and look for the wound again. “That’s when I realized this blood is awfully sticky, and this blood is really red. And is that mint I smell? Is this fake blood?” After searching the ferret room for an hour, she found a bag of Halloween make-up with a tube of sticky, bright red, mint-flavored fake blood on an impossibly high shelf. “Thanks for the heart attack Fitch!”
Ferret lovers have all had their share of “heart attacks” for one reason or another. Fortunately, most are caused by comical events, and these ferret lovers wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rebecca Stout resides in rural Tennessee with her husband, two sons and beloved pets. Ferrets have been in her heart and life for 35 years. She also enjoys writing, photography, animals and being a strong advocate for her autistic son. Visit her website.
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