Posted: November 10, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT
© Carolyn A. McKeone
Always loveable, ferrets can also outwit many owners.
Quiz Tip: Print out this page before you take the quiz and use it to record your answers for each question.
It seems to be human nature to brag about how smart our companion animals are. Whenever my husband talks to someone about our dog, Allis Chompers, he can’t help but mention that she is very intelligent. Well, she is. Although I would add that Allis is selectively intelligent. She has trained us to allow her to sleep in the bed with us beneath the covers on cold winter nights, however, this is the same dog that happily eats antique dead squirrels. The squirrel thing simply isn’t on my list of intelligent things to do. The bed trick, though? I still have no earthly idea how she trained us to invite her in. It’s not like she started slowly and gave us freeze-dried liver treats every time we obediently lifted the covers. No, she must be an Albert Einstein among dogs to have pulled this off, because I hate fur on the sheets.
There are clearly genius dogs out there, but what about ferrets? How do they rate? Are they smarter than cats and dogs? Folks, I can’t answer that. But I know this. Your ferret is smarter than you are. And I can prove it with this simple quiz.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 1: What do ferrets eat?
a) The same thing day after day. What a drag!
b) In general, as many free meals as they want — and you pay for them.
c) Cheap cat food; they’ll be fine!
d) Kibble with dried fruit chips.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 2: When you buy a new sofa, why do you staple sheets of chicken wire to the bottom of it?
a) Because then the sofa acts as a really good antenna for the radio.
b) Because it gives the sofa that really cool military look, kind of like a HumVee, but without wheels.
c) Because you don’t want the ferrets to destroy the sofa from the inside out.
d) Because, well, you’ve gained a few pounds over the years and you want to reinforce it.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 3: You have health insurance but your ferret does not. Is this because…
a) Ferrets don’t get sick.
b) Ferret healthcare is so inexpensive.
c) They know that you will do anything, anything, to take care of your babies and they like the attention.
d) Veterinarians happily take credit cards.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 4: Ferrets make that ridiculous face when you give them sticky vitamin paste because…
a) They know that if they do, you will give them yet more sticky vitamin paste just to see the looks on their faces. It’s a scream!
b) You feel sorry for them when you see that expression, they must be in pain.
c) They make that face because it tastes so awful.
d) They make that face because it’s so hard to lick up. They have to concentrate.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 5: Ferrets can defeat the barriers you put up for them because…
a) It’s true, they really can dissolve into mist and fly.
b) Those little hands are as nimble as human hands.
c) It’s a scientific experiment designed by ferret scientists to test your intelligence.
D) Face it. They have a lot of free time, and nothing better to do.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 6: Ferrets stash ordinary little things in a big pile to distract you from the really, really good things that they have stolen and hidden in secure locations.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 7: Some ferrets bite to make you grateful for the times when they don’t.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 8: Ferrets make you pay attention to the quality and quantity of their poop to make you prove your devotion.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 9: Ferret math is actually a form of mind control.
How Smart Is Your Ferret Question 10: Some ferrets steal potatoes — again, purely for attention.
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Alexandra Sargent-Colburn lives in Massachusetts with fish, ferrets, a cat, a husband and a neurotic dog. The ferrets are in charge.