Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Lock up your ferrets

I have never been greatly interested in ferrets. Cheery little fellows, I grant you, but lacking the gravitas of your typical weasel or the diffident charm of a couple of British stoats—both called Arthur—to whom I tried teaching a few simple tricks, without, I have to say, much success.  

But a letter published in my local paper a couple of weeks ago introduced me to the fascinating world of ferret distemper, the existence of which I had never before suspected:

I am a ferret owner and member of a group of owners on Facebook who have been discussing the issue of ferret distemper.
I have also been very careful with mine by not letting them out as I am aware of this distemper outbreak. I know it's not mentioned specifically in our area but things like this have a habit of spreading very quickly and easily.
There are still people walking out with their ferrets, maybe some who just haven't heard about the outbreaks. Not all ferret owners will be on Facebook.
So, if you know a ferret owner who knows nothing about this outbreak, please pass on the details. It could be in all innocence wiping out animals before very long if no warnings are to go out.

I am posting this because I feel that OMF should give the warning wider publicity;. Also, I have never actually seen anyone walking out with a ferret but if I do I shall not hesitate to accost him (or her) and point out the irresponsibility of her (or his) actions. As we all know, even those of us who are not on Facebook, this type of distemper affects dogs as well as ferrets; it can be fatal or lead to many nasty conditions such as vesicular/pustular lesions on the abdomen, and we all know how painful they can be.



Elizabeth said...

Two or three days after reading your blog, I met my first ever ferret on a lead. His name is Derek; his owner takes him to the pub and has trained him not to bite. With your stoatish experience perhaps you know how?

Tony said...

Well, fancy that! Silly name for a ferret.
I hope you passed on the warning about distemper. Derek might be infecting all the ferrets in the pub.
Can't help with ferret-training tips, I'm afraid: stoats are not amenable to any kind of training, you just have to extract all their teeth and wire their jaws together. You can't keep them down your trousers as you can ferrets, or even weasels.

Elizabeth said...


Tony said...


How do you mean, exactly?

Elizabeth said...

I mean that you made me laugh.