Arizona Working Hard to Re-establish Black-Footed Ferret

Black-Footed FerretThe Havasu News-Herald has a March 11 news piece that indicates Arizona’s Game and Fish Department is working hard to and making some progress toward re-establishing the black-footed ferret in the state. Take a look . . .

Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking volunteers to travel to Aubrey Valley, which is west of Seligman, Ariz., for two Black-footed Ferret Recovery Project spotlightings scheduled for March 28-30 and April 25-27. Sign up deadline is March 22, and April 19, respectively.

This year, organizers are experimenting with a new method by conducting two shorter spotlighting efforts instead of one with five consecutive nights of observation. Individuals can volunteer for just one evening or multiple nights.

The species is elusive, nocturnal and endangered. Twice thought to be extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981. A mere 18 were left when captive breeding efforts began in 1985. In 1996, Arizona’s Aubrey Valley was selected as a reintroduction site. The project was funded through Arizona Heritage Funds and matched with federal dollars.

Read the entire article here . . .

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets: Your Guide to Happier, Healthier Pet Ferrets

“The Ferret Squad” to Advocate Legalizing Ferrets in California

A Ferret Movie for Legalizing Ferret Ownership in California

Ferrets are furry, cute pets, but the state of California is one of the few places in the United States that outlaws them as pets. Canadian filmmaker and ferret owner Alison Parker is using the power of movies to present the case for ferrets.

Parker’s first foray into ferret films was Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale. Released in 2011, this short film tells the story of a boy being helped by a ferret to overcome an emotionally difficult time.

In 2012, Parker began fundraising in the hope of creating a full-length feature titled TheFerret Movie - The Ferret Squad Ferret Squad. This movie focuses on ferrets being illegal to own in California, and what happens when a boy who owns one moves there and meets up with a group of children who call themselves The Ferret Squad.

Read the full article here.

You might also enjoy our short story titled “Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale” – a story in the same vein as Jake and Jasper.

What is a Ferret?

Panda Ferret in Plastic DrawerFerrets, because they are meat eaters, belong to the Carnivora order, as do dogs and cats, wolves and lions. As we move further down the classification line, we see that ferrets belong to the Mustelidae (which means loosely “weasel” or “mouse killer”) family, and this makes them remotely related to badgers, sea otters, wolverines, and polecats. So far, then, it seems our pet ferrets, our favorite fuzzies, are in the company of some pretty tough (and perhaps stinky) critters.

Next, we find ferrets in the genus putorious, a Latin word that means “stench.” (Just think of the word “putrid.”) Then, they are in the species called furo, which come from furis, which means “thief.” Big surprise, huh?

So, taxonomically, a ferret is . . . a weaselly, mouse-killing, smelly thief. But pet ferrets aren’t really very closely related to weasels, and most of them don’t kill mice (unless they are fed a whole-prey diet). They are, however, incorrigible thieves, so that part’s pretty accurate.

This description, though scientifically sound, doesn’t really tell us much about what this creature we love really is. So . . . just what IS a ferret?

Well, first off, a ferret is a small, elongated, long-whiskered bundle of energy – when it isn’t sleeping, which is most of the time. It is a creature that when active (which, again, is only about 6 hours a day) is furiously playing – running, jumping, hiding, chewing, stealing. Or not . . . because it may be asleep. A ferret, then, is a seeming contradiction – a living paradox.

Second, a carpetshark possesses the attributes of several different animals all bundled together in one lovable package. It displays, for instance, the zany playfulness of an otter. (Just think of otters in all the Disney shows we watched when we were kids.) It has the sneakiness and curiosity of a cat – which, just as with cats, can get a ferret into some less-than-ideal predicaments. And a ferret is like a dog in that it often engages in hilariously entertaining (to us) and embarrassing (to the ferret) antics.

Finally, on a more serious note, ferrets are great pets – but only for those willing to make the necessary investment. For just like people – and they are a lot like humans, too – they require vaccinations and regular medical check-ups, as well as a quality diet, to remain healthy. They need their own living space and quality sleeping quarters. They have to have scheduled play times and lots of chances for socialization with both you and others of their own kind.

Pet ferrets are, in short, members of your family. And here are a couple of our picks in ferret-care books for tips on how to keep your paradoxical, multi-faceted, furry family members healthy and happy . . .

Ferrets for Dummies by Kim Schilling

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets by Karen Hearing


Getting Rid of Ferret Odor with GoodBye Odor

GoodBye Odor for Ferret-Odor Control – A Must Have Ferret Product

So I was gone to Colorado throughout the month of October. The purpose of this trip was to GoodBye Odor for Ferret Odorhelp out my older son and his wife during and right after the birth of their third child, my fifth grandchild. (They were really hoping for a son, but got another, a third, daughter instead.) And I left my four ferrets in the care of my husband for nearly five weeks!

Actually, though, he did a good job. He fed and watered them daily and cleaned the cage regularly. And when I got home, my fuzzy babies were healthy, happy, and sassy – and ready to get out and spend some play time with me. So I really have no complaints there.

But what he didn’t do was order needed ferret supplies on time.

And that means that shortly after I got back home, we ran out of GoodBye Odor. Then, we hit a bit of a tight money spot and had to postpone ordering for a couple more weeks. The ferret smell let me know daily that we had run of this product that I consider essential for ferret care.

But now we again have some GoodBye Odor for Ferrets – my husband can be a good boy at times – and the ferret smell has subsided substantially. The difference between before and after was markedly noticeable. I just can’t say enough about this product, and I absolutely refuse to run out again.

I usually buy the 32 oz. pump bottle because it costs less than buying the smaller bottles and I don’t want to buy the big jug. I just add it so my fuzzies’ water – about 9 pumps to a 20 oz. water bottle – and the smell that some people find offensive is kept to a very low level. My babies don’t even seem to notice that I’ve added it to their water. It simply works.

My husband is now aware – after some “encouragement” on my part – that he has to order GoodBye Odor when I tell him it’s time. It’s a pretty good arrangement all around.

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets: Your Guide to Happier, Healthier Pet Ferrets

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy

Ferret-Adoption Time – Ferret Shelters Filling Up

This time of year, ferret shelters are filling up, which puts a strain on limited resources. So if you’re thinking about a first or another pet ferret, now is a great time to consider ferret adoption. Below is an excerpt from a news piece that proves the point . . .

As usually happens, the Greater Chicago Ferret Association (GCFA) finds itself with an oversupply of ferrets by November (currently, 93 in a shelter that considers its cages full at 60). This overpopulation of mustelids puts a stress on all the shelter’s resources: volunteers; funds for medical needs, food and litter; and time: time for ferrets to get out for play as well as volunteers to cover giving basic food and cage-cleaning care.

Why the fall surge? Some surrenders come from students going away to school and unable to bring their pets along or people that suffer sudden allergy onset with the closing up of homes in cold weather.

The continued economic downturn, with its job losses, foreclosures, and moves to no-ferret housing account for many others. Sadly, a large number of ferrets come in as “no longer wanted” pets; from people “upgrading” to prettier and younger pets; or as strays, dumps and “trash can ferrets.” Yes, people dump live animals in dumpsters. Sometimes tied in plastic garbage bags!

So, to give the shelter’s ferrets reason to be thankful by the upcoming holidays, GCFA offers a combined membership and adoption incentive this month of November. With the tagline of “Don’t just buy a ferret, adopt some love,” GCFA offers a members-only Free Adoption Event this month.

Read more here.

We Finally Got It! – Ferret Nation Ferret Cage

After three years with Rikki and Possum in a cage that I really disliked, I added two more pet ferrets, Loki and Luna. Because I took Loki and Luna from a friend who had to get rid ofNew Ferret Nation Cage them, I also got their ferret cage.

It is a Ferret Nation Cage. I love the size and roominess. It’s definitely big enough for four ferrets.

What I really like about it is the way I can hang so many ferret beds and hammocks in it. I have four beds, three hammocks, and a climbing rope in this Ferret Nation Cage. And there is still plenty of room for my fuzzies to play.

Also, because I have a certain ferret (whose name I won’t mention, but Possum would be a good guess) who likes to fill empty corners with not-so-nice presents, I also have five litter boxes in the cage – four on the very bottom of the cage and one on the top floor.

What I also like about the Ferret Nation cage is that I can close off one section with my ferrets confined there while I clean a section above or below the one closed off. Another plus is the huge doors that make it easy to work in the cage and to take out or put in fuzzies.

This cage has legs with castors. The extra height makes it easy to work in, and the castors make it easy to move around. And the tray below the cage compartments is handy for storing toys and cleaning stuff.

The one thing I don’t like about this ferret cage is the very shallow trays. I wish they were much deeper. I’m always finding litter and poop on my bedroom floor.

You know how ferrets like to back up to walls to use the bathroom. Well, Possum will find a way NOT to use the litter boxes and just back his little booty to the side of the cage and then poop over the edge of the tray and on the floor. And this, of course, means extra cleaning for me! I do wish the trays had been a little better designed.

But other than that, I really like our new Ferret Nation Cage. And Rikki and Possum really like it, too. They’re not stuck in that small cage anymore. They also like the two new playmates that came with their new cage.

Black-Footed Ferret News – What’s Happening with Your Pet Ferret’s Wild Cousin

Owing chiefly to the efforts of the National Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Program, this wild relative of your pet ferret is making a healthy come-back, with about 1,000 in the wild now. It seems, though, there is still work to be done in North Dakota . . .

The black-footed ferret, which had been thought twice extinct and has been on the endangered species list since 1967, is making a comeback.

The resurgence of black-footed ferrets is due in large part to the National Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Program, a multi-partner project lead by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But plans to bring the ferrets back to North Dakota aren’t concrete.

“We don’t have any firm plans to reintroduce black-footed ferrets,” said Jeff Towner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service North Dakota field supervisor. “Our long-term desires would be to, at some point, reintroduce black-footed ferrets to North Dakota, because it’s part of their historic range.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is interested in starting up as many new colonies as we can.”

Since the recovery program started in 1981, the black-footed ferrets have grown in number from 18 to about 1,000 ferrets in the wild . . .

Read the entire September 13 article titled “Ferrets’ return on hold” by Royal McGregor here.

A Ferret Manual

Here’s an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released little book titled A Ferret Manuel: How to Train and Manage Your Human. It’s a humorous, ferret’s-eye view of the often comical relations between humans and pet ferrets.

So, you’ve finally acquired your very own human, have you? Good. Good for you and congratulations! It sure beats being crowded together with a bunch of total strangers in a tiny cage at the pet store, doesn’t it? But . . . while this is a great accomplishment and a first step toward a happy life in a home of your own, your job is just beginning. You have a lot of work and a long road ahead of you.

First of all, humans aren’t really very teachable. But, then, there are very few animals as inquisitive and intelligent as ferrets. That means training your human will require, in varying degrees as your unique situation demands, inventiveness, persistence, consistent application, and time.

Okay, let’s get started.

Introduction – An Overview of Human Nature

Following are the four important truths about or principles of human nature that will form the foundation of our guidelines and rules for training and managing your human. Remember these and adapt your training tactics accordingly, and you should see some success in your human-training efforts.

1. Humans are basically lazy creatures.

The thing you need to keep squarely in mind at all times is that adult humans are lazy. They don’t sleep nearly as much as we do, but they are far less active when awake. They seldom run, they don’t hide under the bed, and they never get on top of the dresser and play among the knickknacks. Even human kits (“children,” I think they call them) usually don’t play as vigorously as ferrets, and I’ve never seen one do the ferret “war dance.”

Because they are lazy, then, and slaves to the law of inertia, humans are just downright hard to train. The difficulty lies in getting them to change a behavior. For some bizarre reason, they prefer the familiar and easy to the better course. And never forget that humans just aren’t as smart as ferrets. There’s really nothing you can do about that, though.

For a human, it takes a lot of effort to learn something new and change a thinking pattern and/or a behavior. That’s why they dig in their heels and resist change: because it takes effort. Ironically, though, humans often expend more energy resisting change, owing to their inherent laziness, than they would actually making the change. (But, remember, they’re just not all that bright.) So, one of the keys to successfully training and managing your human will be persistence. You will simply have to work at it assiduously until you’ve achieved the desired results.

Just don’t give up. Success could be right around the corner.

2. Humans are incorrigible creatures of habit.

This truth about human nature is tightly bound up with the first one above. Because humans are lazy, they are also creatures of habit. They tend to keep doing the same thing the same way over and over because – well, because it’s just easier for them that way. It will take a lot of effort on your part to get your human to do something in a new and different way.

But the good news in all this is that once you’ve trained your human to engage in a certain behavior, your work is usually done with respect to that particular thing. Your human will keep doing whatever-it-is out of habit without thinking about it. While this aspect of human nature makes training your human quite a bit of work, it does mean that managing a behavior once inculcated is fairly easy.

Suppose, for example, you don’t like the food that your human has been giving you. You can’t, of course, just tell your human about it – she can’t speak our language. (Again, keep in mind that humans aren’t as clever as we are.) But after you’ve put in the necessary training effort (using some choice training tactics I’ll get to in a little bit), most of your work will be done. When your human learns to buy the kind of food you like best, she will keep doing it simply out of habit, even if she forgets the reason she started doing it in the first place. Once trained, humans are generally pretty easy to manage . . .

And here are links to our other ferret books:

Getting Started with Pet Ferrets

Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy

“Danny and Oliver: A Ferret-Rescue Tale”


Homemade Ferret Toys – 2 Ideas for Happy Pet Ferrets

Pet ferrets have two favorite activities – sleeping and playing. But as much as our fuzzies likeAlbino Ferret Playing with Favorite Ferret Toy their sleep, play time is what really makes them light up. And that means toys. Lots of toys.

Keeping your ferrets supplied with plenty of new, stimulating toys can get pretty expensive. So here are a couple of ideas for homemade ferret toys that your woozles will likely enjoy.

Tennis-ball Toy
You will need:
1 tennis ball
Box cutter
Strong rope or cord (any length)

1. Use the box cutter to cut a hole through the tennis ball.
2. Thread the rope or cord through the tennis ball.
3. Tie a knot at one end of the rope, large enough that the rope won’t slip out of the ball.
4. You now have a teaser toy to use with your ferret.
5. Inspect the ball and the rope regularly and replace as necessary.

Pillow Toy
You will need:
Scraps of fabric (at least 4 inches by 4 inches)
Cotton batting
Jingle bells (optional)

1. Lay a fabric scrap onto a flat surface.
2. Lay a second fabric scrap on top of it.
3. Cut the two layers so they match in shape (whatever shape you choose).
4. Sew together all but one side of the shape.
5. Turn the shape inside out.
6. Fill with cotton batting and jingle bells.
7. Sew the remaining side securely.

Your ferret now has a new toy. Inspect the pillow regularly to make sure the seams are secure. Repair and restuff as needed. The jingle bells should be no smaller than 2 inches in diameter to avoid a choking hazard.

Excerpted from Ferret Toys: Keeping Pet Ferrets Happy, where you can find many more tips and ideas for making fun, inexpensive homemade ferret toys.

Welcome to the Family – New Ferrets

On Tuesday, August 14, Rikki and Possum got a new brother and a new sister.

Loki (boy) and Baby (girl) are both black sables. Loki is eight months old, and Baby is fourLoki - New Pet Ferret months old. They are such sweethearts!

I got them from a friend who couldn’t keep them anymore. She approached me about taking Baby (I called her Baby because I hadn’t come up with a name for her yet) because she knew that I have two ferrets already and that I’m a softy when it comes to our little fuzzies. Of course, I couldn’t say no.

When my friend brought Baby, the cage, and all of her paraphernalia to me and we were getting it all out of her car, Loki jumped out of the car. It surprised me that she still had Loki. She informed me that the woman who was going to get Loki couldn’t take him after all. So my friend was going to see if any of the pet stores would take him.

When I found that out, I went and sweet talked my husband so that he would let me take Loki. I had to do a little bit of arguing too. But he finally saw the light and gave in.

Now I have four little fuzzies. And Rikki and Possum just love having two more playmates.Luna - New Pet Ferret, Black Sable

I’m also not calling Baby “Baby” anymore. Her name is now Luna.

I owe a great big Thank You! to one of my  blog readers. She is the one who suggested the name Luna. I won’t mention her name, but she knows who she is. So, thank you again for suggesting the name Luna. It fits her perfectly.

Welcome to the family Loki and Luna!