That’s right, folks, it’s the most wonderful time of the year again. It’s national ferret day!
The American Ferret Assocation Inc. describes today as “A day to educate the public to respect this lively and intelligent companion animal—the domesticated ferret. This day is also a time to focus on such ferret issues as welfare, care, nutrition and responsible ownership.” To that end read on if you wish to know more about these incredibly mischievous, lovable dook noodles!
For those unaware the domesticated ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is descended from the European polecat (Mustela putorious) which our own mythbri has previously written about.
While there’s no definitive date as to when polecats were first domesticated we can assume it coincides with their use by Roman legions to hunt prey [rabbits]. Their innate curiosity and love of tunnels made them perfect for driving prey from burrows to then be caught and killed for food. This is roughly in line with the analysis of mitochondrial DNA which suggest ferrets were first domesticated 2,500 years ago.
However, it wasn’t until the 16th and 17th centuries that ferrets made their way to the New World. English settlers originally used ferrets for rodent abatement aboard ships, a skill with which they excelled and which kept them gainfully employed up until World War II.
For more information on the history of working ferrets be sure to read my previous post on the subject.
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of ferrets knows two things about them. “They smell and they’re troublemakers.” Lol. As much as I dislike it when people describe them as such I am unable to say that is far from the truth about them.
Yes, ferrets smell but this is a trait they share with all other members of the Mustelidae family.
And yes, ferrets tend to be precocious troublemakers who often have to be rescued from their own mischief but the reason behind all of this is that they are highly intelligent and curious. In point of fact ferrets are more than intelligent enough to be taught any number of things, including various tricks as evidenced below.
The truth is there’s so much more to ferrets than the fact that they smell and are mischievous and I have written about it extensively in a previous National Ferret Day post.
Of course given the fact that it is National Ferret Day I would remiss in not mentioning the Black-Footed Ferret which is North America’s only native ferret. Originally discovered in 1851 the species itself was nearly wiped out due to humans and disease. In fact the species was officially declared extinct in 1979 and it wasn’t until two years later that a [deceased] specimen literally showed up on someone’s doorstep that it was determined they still existed in the wild. This discovery led to an exhaustive search to find all remaining black-footed ferrets and attempt to save them from the brink of extinction.
For more information on the black-footed ferret and conservation efforts aimed at bringing them back to the wild, please, read my previous post.
Anyway, folks, that’s all I got for you today. So if any ferrets cross your path be sure to give them some treats and scritches or you just may find yourself suddenly without socks and missing your wallet and keys. *shrugs* Hey, what can I say? Stealing things to horde like Smaug is what ferrets do and gosh darn it if they don’t look adorable while doing it. Besides it’s not like you can call the cops on them and even if you could a specific ferret would be pretty hard to pick out of a line-up what with the fact that they always wear masks while committing the things they do and all. /rimshot