English 49


He’s on your shoulder, he’s under the bed, he’s digging up the plant in the hall…Welcome to the wacky world of ferrets. These playful members of the weasel family are catching up1 as pets. While to some they may be an odd choice, owners absolutely love they’re2 frisky friends and argued3 that dogs and cats pale in comparison to ferrets’ intelligence, charm, and entertainment value.

The weasel family, the ferret is part of it,4 is placed in the animal kingdom somewhere between cats and dogs. Just as wild dogs and cats were developed into pet breeds centuries ago, today’s ferrets bred5 from wild cousins, perhaps as far back as 3,000 years ago. They were used to control rodent populations until cats took over that job many centuries later. Having lost much of their hunting prowess, it would be difficult for most ferrets to survive outside of a non-domesticated environment.6

[7] Imagine a frisky puppy, and then adjust the speed to fast forward. Nevertheless,8 a ferret’s life is all about playing: wrestling with toys, chewing on everything, digging in the soil, hiding – the fun never stops. Well, that’s not completely true. Because9 when it’s naptime there’s no sounder sleeper than a ferret. New owners are often convinced their pet10 has died as they hold a limp ferret in their hands. No fear, it’s just a serious ferret power nap!

(1) Ferrets have a bad reputation for biting and have been banned as pets in some states. (2) The guilty ferrets probably used their sharp teeth on young children who might have11 harassed them unsupervised. (3) This risk however,12 should be explained properly. (4) Ferrets naturally love to play rough with each other, and that includes biting. (5) The trick is to train them at an early age to be comfortable around humans and to not use their teeth when playing. [13]

A few quick words on the ferret’s interesting odor…all members of the weasel family have oil glands that give off a musky smell. [14] Others can be, well, skunky. Ferrets do have a particular mild perfume of their own; you’ll just have to be the judge of whether you find it unpleasant or not. [15]