Why do ferrets get all the bad press??
December 21, 2006 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Ferret (allegedly) chews off baby's toes
posted by melangell (101 comments total)

 
Damn...baby toes must be delicious
posted by horsemuth at 1:31 PM on December 21, 2006


Awww it was trying to NURSE. Puppies are the cutest.
posted by bunnycup at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2006


Is there a reason I'm being asked to read about this on the delightfully Flash-tastic Forbes website? Yeesh.

It's bad enough that this is semi-farkish.
posted by koeselitz at 1:33 PM on December 21, 2006


A better link.
posted by koeselitz at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2006


This little piggy went to ...
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


The dog is clearly a patsy. Of the two a ferret is the only one capable of the fine nibbling action required to remove baby toes. Open and shut case, in my mind.

I love how the blame is put on the parents' drug use. If a ferret is crafty enough to unload responsibility to all other living members of the household in the face of overwhelming probable cause, I reckon a ferret could nibble some toe around sober individuals.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:36 PM on December 21, 2006


They'll grow back.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:38 PM on December 21, 2006


Ah.. so that's why the parents didn't wake up until the child's toes disappeared. Not drunk, drugs or dogs, ferrets.
posted by econous at 1:39 PM on December 21, 2006


Metafilter: All Toe-Eating, All The Time
posted by setanor at 1:39 PM on December 21, 2006


Unlikely to be the real story, but in any case it's is an update to part of this earlier post.

If the ferret was left loose around an unsupervised puppy, it's just further evidence of the astonishing, brainless irresponsibility of these people. I'm surprised the ferret survived.
posted by dilettante at 1:42 PM on December 21, 2006


At least they didn't leave the baby in the car while they went shopping.
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on December 21, 2006


Chewing up toes, now? It must be one of those freewheelin' party ferrets I've been hearing so much about.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:45 PM on December 21, 2006


Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the ferret...

The toes knows. (cue: thunder/hysterical laughter)
posted by hal9k at 1:49 PM on December 21, 2006


At least they didn't leave the baby in the car while they went shopping.
posted by ericb at 4:44 PM EST on December 21



Or put their baby through an airport x-ray machine...
posted by bluedaniel at 1:51 PM on December 21, 2006


Is there a reason I'm being asked to read about this on the delightfully Flash-tastic Forbes website? Yeesh.

No, but I think that we are all grateful that you could obviously do the link thing better than me. Are you this nice to everyone or just Metafilter newcomers?
posted by melangell at 1:51 PM on December 21, 2006


I like how the parents are trying to spread the blame around. The puppy did it. The ferret did it. My guess is the parents ate the baby's toe and are trying to shift the suspicion elsewhere.
posted by lekvar at 1:53 PM on December 21, 2006


I like how the parents are trying to spread the blame around. The puppy did it. The ferret did it. My guess is the parents ate the baby's toe and are trying to shift the suspicion elsewhere.

That's what the ferret wants you to believe.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:55 PM on December 21, 2006


Oh, melangell, melangell. That WAS nice. You haven't been here long, wait a while to see some real snark.
posted by agregoli at 1:55 PM on December 21, 2006


Oh, I've been and seen. Not just here, but actually away from my computer and out in the world. The same holds true: purists and pretentious assholes are the epitomy of boring.
posted by melangell at 2:02 PM on December 21, 2006


melangell. You post a one link post of dubious interest to a crashtastic site and then complain about negative feedback? Better grow a thicker skin, methinks.

Also, I bet the ferret worked fast. He could have nibbled those toes off in thirty seconds. Any sleep-deprived new parent could have slept through that. Not that I'm defending them; just saying.
posted by jokeefe at 2:06 PM on December 21, 2006


Also, let's not forget - let's NOT forget, Dude - that keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city - that aint legal either.
posted by ninjew at 2:12 PM on December 21, 2006


Let's see... parents "asleep" a few feet away while an infant's toes are chewed off, and they don't wake up until the 4th toe is gone... stories keep changing between the two parents... Yeah, they did it. They accidentally slammed their kid's foot in a door or something and the animals are patsies. Did anyone think of x-raying the dog or ferret to see if they have toes in their stomach? Send them over to LAX, they can do it there.


On a side note: My pit was terrified of my ferrets. They totally kicked his ass all the time.
posted by papakwanz at 2:13 PM on December 21, 2006


Man, when will Dweezil Zappa stop making these ghoulish albums?

No, I didn't rtfa, why do you ask?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:14 PM on December 21, 2006


Best of the web.
posted by LarryC at 2:17 PM on December 21, 2006


BOTFW.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:20 PM on December 21, 2006


Melangell opined "purists and pretentious assholes are the epitomy of boring."

Thereby misspelling and misusing the word E P I T O M E.
posted by davy at 2:23 PM on December 21, 2006


melangell. You post a one link post of dubious interest to a crashtastic site and then complain about negative feedback? Better grow a thicker skin, methinks.

You're right, jokeefe, I am in a feisty mood today. I usually hang on the AskMeFi side anyways, since I am not much of a webhead. Anyway, this article is not of dubious interest to ferret lovers, who are the people I was hoping to connect with in the Metafilter world by posting this article.

To ferret lovers, this story is significant because anti-ferret legislation makes our lives more difficult. Notice that the headline (and most people skimming papers only see the headlines) only mentions the ferret as a culprit. Obviously, this is more sensationalistic, but the business of being a ferret owner and lover is made more difficult by these sorts of things. It doesn't sound like you are a ferret person, so you do not know about all these challenges (like people fearing your pet, specifically anti-ferret rental policies, difficulty getting supplies, legislation, etc.).

Ferrets are wonderful, but high-maintenance pets who genuinely are not for everyone, but they are not dangerous. This was the conversation I was hoping to have with other ferret people or people interested in ferrets here on MetaFilter, but oh well.

I'm just saying you guys ought to lighten up -you'll enjoy life more and perhaps reduce your risk of heart attack. Besides, just because you do not see the significance of something, does not mean it does not exist. Just walk on by.
posted by melangell at 2:25 PM on December 21, 2006


Do you like portobello mushrooms? I do.
posted by iconomy at 2:26 PM on December 21, 2006


Thereby misspelling and misusing the word E P I T O M E

You, davy, are also right. I was rushing, but that does not make the sentiment any less true.
posted by melangell at 2:27 PM on December 21, 2006


Does Rudy Guiliani know about this?
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:28 PM on December 21, 2006


Rushing your sentiment is the quintessence of folly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:28 PM on December 21, 2006


wendell.
posted by ninjew at 2:30 PM on December 21, 2006


"Just walk on by."

"Just walk on by, wait on the corner
I love you, but we're strangers when we meet"

(An old country song.)
posted by davy at 2:30 PM on December 21, 2006


wendell.

Agreed.
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on December 21, 2006


but high-maintenance pets who that genuinely are not for everyone,
Pets aint people melangell, but I like your stuff. Zesty.
posted by econous at 2:39 PM on December 21, 2006


I, for one, welcome our new Ferret People overlords.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:40 PM on December 21, 2006


I propose we stop calling them "Ferrets" and start calling them "Toe Weasels."
posted by fandango_matt at 2:43 PM on December 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


To ferret lovers, this story is significant because anti-ferret legislation makes our lives more difficult.

That would be a good angle on this story. What anti-ferret legislation?
posted by Brian B. at 2:44 PM on December 21, 2006


In all fairness, who hasn't taken a bite or two out of an infant when nobody was looking?
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:45 PM on December 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that the purpose of metafilter is to post the best of the web, not to induce conversation among the ferret people.

I'm a little afraid of the ferret people. I think it's their furry faces and weird hands.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2006


needs more img tag.
posted by mek at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2006


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that the purpose of metafilter is to post the best of the web, not to induce conversation among the ferret people.

Do you, Hildegarde, regularly post stories that you have no personal interest in? Besides, who decides "best"? See comment about purists above.

You should fear us, we are scary insaniac, fuckers. Also, we feel no pain.
posted by melangell at 2:53 PM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked that no one has commented on the obvious marital politics going on here.

The woman hates her husbands ferret for making the house unsafe. The dude resents the woman for thinking his ferret could do such a thing. Rather than having a quiet shouting match after the baby has gone to sleep, they tattle on each other to reporters.

Even when she had toes, that baby had a long, difficult childhood ahead of her.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:56 PM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


This thread and the chewing of the baby toes is the only proof we need that ferrets toe weasels should remain illegal.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:56 PM on December 21, 2006


I thought we'd been over this Astro Zombie; me accusing you of cannibalism, you claiming to be a peaceful space faring undead astronaut.

See? See what you wrote! I knew I was right to keep my eye on you. If I ever see you coming at me with a bottle of A1 in your hand, you better have a steak cooked medium rare in the other, or we are going to have issues.
posted by quin at 3:02 PM on December 21, 2006


You should fear us, we are scary insaniac, fuckers. Also, we feel no pain.

that would explain the missing toes
posted by pyramid termite at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2006


Do you, Hildegarde, regularly post stories that you have no personal interest in? Besides, who decides "best"? See comment about purists above.

It's a one-link, addendum, punctuation-free post to a forbes article. If you wanted to go on at length about the difficulties of being a ferret owner, you should have created a post about that, with this as a stepping off point. Geez, do I need to write up a study guide for you?

And which post above should I see, the one where you misused and misspelled epitome? Yeah, I quiver at the thought of being judged "boring" by you, heaven forbid.

Being pointlessly sensitive to post criticism in the comments is never well-recieved on the blue.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:13 PM on December 21, 2006


I cannot believe I just read the linked article. How sad.
posted by LoriFLA at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2006


Anti-Ferret legislation? Ludicrous. I believe the adage goes: if we criminalize infant-toe-munching ferrets, only the criminals will have infant-toe-munching ferrets.

And thanks for the Dude reference, ninjew. Made my day.
posted by krippledkonscious at 3:15 PM on December 21, 2006


Santa is ready to deliver Christmas Cheer with this Santa Suit! Hat included!

Spruce up your Ferret this Holiday Season! This Santa Suit is perfect for the family photo. Your Ferret will be the center of attention at those Holiday Parties!

Made of cotton and canvas, lined with synthetic lambs wool. Velcro straps makes it easy on and off. The adorable Santa Hat tops it off! The hat will easly fit any size Ferret.

Machine washable.
posted by mek at 3:15 PM on December 21, 2006


Baby toes not included.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2006


Isn't it pretty common knowledge that ferrets have some sort of weird thing with babies? I read about ferrets attacking babies in one of my Dad's old JAMA magazines back when I was in high school forever ago.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:19 PM on December 21, 2006


Uh oh! I hope that they had a permit for that crazy toe eatin' ferret!
posted by drstein at 3:22 PM on December 21, 2006


Anti-ferret legislation overview.
posted by Brian B. at 3:23 PM on December 21, 2006


Well, if the Sierra Club and the Humane Society oppose it, that's good enough for me. Ban the toe weasels!
posted by fandango_matt at 3:26 PM on December 21, 2006


9) The Department of Health Services believes that [legalizing ferrets] could result in serious illness or injury to California citizens, especially to infants.

No shit.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:28 PM on December 21, 2006


Geez, do I need to write up a study guide for you?

Yes, would you? It sounds like you would be good at that sort of thing.
posted by melangell at 3:53 PM on December 21, 2006


Make sure the study guide mentions not trying to moderate your own post.
posted by mendel at 4:13 PM on December 21, 2006


melangell: No, but I think that we are all grateful that you could obviously do the link thing better than me. Are you this nice to everyone or just Metafilter newcomers?

Free advice:

1. Don't be offensive.

2. Don't be easily offended.

Anyway, this article is not of dubious interest to ferret lovers, who are the people I was hoping to connect with in the Metafilter world by posting this article.

I'd suggest aiming for a general audience instead. Something like this. A post on ferrets might be interesting to a general audience. What are they? (Are they rodents?) How many people own them as pets? What do they do?
posted by russilwvong at 4:48 PM on December 21, 2006


On a side note: My pit was terrified of my ferrets.

papakwanz: I've seen video online (google video, maybe?) of a ferret getting all in a pit's face and washing the dog's ears. But puppies just take a while to learn not to play too rough, and not to overreact to the scary one-pound weasels. Our dog gets a little overexcited, but is only allowed to play with them while supervised, and is not as likely to hurt them by accident as he's pretty small himself.

If the ferret had done it, there probably would have been pieces of toe all over the floor. Damn picky eaters, ferrets.
posted by dilettante at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2006


Sredni Vashtar
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2006


russilwong, are you suggesting this post as presented is inschoate?
posted by cortex at 5:11 PM on December 21, 2006


russilwvong : What do they do?

Well, in my admittedly limited experience, they sleep like the dead most of the time and the rest they spend running around [usually sideways] like crack fueled weasels.

Given an opportunity, they seem to like to steal stuff as well.
posted by quin at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2006


I'm a little afraid of the ferret people. I think it's their furry faces and weird hands.

No no no Hildegarde, that's not it at all. It's their Lipless Wonder faces and their burning desire for Hot Lips.
posted by djeo at 5:22 PM on December 21, 2006


I'm a little afraid of the ferret people.

Weasel Freaks.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2006


Actually, I would have been interested in reading a post about anti-ferret legislation and so on. You could have, in fact, written about other kinds of "dangerous pet" laws and regulations-- Ontario with the pit bull ban, etc. What are the actual statistics around dog bites and ferret bites? that kind of thing. Which would be of interest to me, as the dog in my life, who lives with my mother, brother and nieces, is a pit bull cross, and the most lovely dog imaginable. But I avoid telling strangers her ancestry when we're out of walks, just because of the pit bull scare factor. I say she's a lab/greyhound cross instead, which is 50% true and sounds plausible. She looks like a brindled version of Santa's Little Helper.

Ferrets, however, I know next to nothing about, except for the stories in the media which have led me to believe that they have a propensity for eating body parts.
posted by jokeefe at 5:30 PM on December 21, 2006


I'm surprised the ferret survived.

Ha. You've obviously never seen a ferret face down a dog twenty times its size. YT

melangell: don't respond to the helpful advice you're getting with name-calling and put-downs. It just makes you look thin-skinned and foolish. For a study guide, just start with Popular Favorites -- you'll find that very few are one-links unless it's a fantastic link, and very few are newsfilter, which is almost always a one-link. Many advance a point of view, usually supporting one key "interesting" link with a variety of information sources.

Now, I can just see this happening. The ferret hasn't been properly introduced to the baby, and sees wiggling toes over the edge of the bassinet, wants to play. But yeah, the ferret would be more likely to bite off the toes and leave them nearby (or perhaps hide them) -- the puppy would definitely eat them.

But I'm not sure we're getting the true story from either parent -- they're blaming each other by proxy, if you ask me. The cops almost don't care which animal it was.
posted by dhartung at 6:27 PM on December 21, 2006


I'm sure they will ferret out the truth eventually.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:35 PM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Damnation! Now, even if it turns out to be false this will be used as a reason to keep ferrets illegal here in CA. Nevermind the fact that keeping animals around very young children is always going to be a big risk, no matter how domesticated they are. It's why my local animal shelter doesn't allow families with children younger than five to adopt. Ferrets have no more dangerous potential than any other domesticated pet with sharp teeth.

Of course there are still plenty of ferret owners in CA regardless. I actually wound up sitting next to a girl out with her ferret. Cute little thing, albeit a little smelly.
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:48 PM on December 21, 2006


ferret would be more likely to bite off the toes and leave them nearby (or perhaps hide them) -- the puppy would definitely eat them.

But what if the ferret bit them off and then the puppy ate them? Devious!
posted by hindmost at 7:17 PM on December 21, 2006


Fuck Ferrets.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:29 PM on December 21, 2006


Of course there are still plenty of ferret owners in CA regardless. I actually wound up sitting next to a girl out with her ferret. Cute little thing, albeit a little smelly.

...and I know you were fishing for this but...

You should have told her to take a shower.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:30 PM on December 21, 2006


"Of course there are still plenty of ferret owners in CA regardless"

Yeah, people claim that they're "service animals" and whip out the ADA card. Saw one on Caltrain once.
posted by drstein at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2006


Fuck Ferrets. LOLOCIDE!
posted by econous at 9:07 PM on December 21, 2006


...and I know you were fishing for this but...

You should have told her to take a shower.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:30 PM PST on December 21


Honestly, I wasn't! But thank you for the follow up snark.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:31 PM on December 21, 2006


Shrimping: it's not just for podophiles anymore!
posted by rob511 at 9:41 PM on December 21, 2006


Actually, I would have been interested in reading a post about anti-ferret legislation and so on.

me too. For example, they're totally illegal in my country (a descision which was made fairly recently). For good reason I think* and I agree with it, but the reasons don't necessarily translate to other countries. I find it interesting to look at how these things work in different contexts.

*nothing about them being pets really, it's all about the native wildlife and suchlike
posted by shelleycat at 9:44 PM on December 21, 2006


Ferret FAQ (short version).
posted by russilwvong at 11:15 PM on December 21, 2006


I thought we'd been over this Astro Zombie; me accusing you of cannibalism, you claiming to be a peaceful space faring undead astronaut.

Whoops.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:25 AM on December 22, 2006


Are cats and dogs likewise banned shellycat? Wouldn't they also be non-native species capable of serious destruction?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:29 AM on December 22, 2006


Being pointlessly sensitive to post criticism in the comments is never well-recieved on the blue.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:13 PM PST on December 21


"i" before "e" except after "c"


purists and pretentious assholes are the epitomy of boring.

I prefer to call them snobs. Or just assholes. Same thing, really. It makes for rather unpleasant visits and readings here.
posted by sluglicker at 2:04 AM on December 22, 2006


Hehehehehe.

I guess I don't need to craft the study guide; this thread works pretty well.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:39 AM on December 22, 2006


papakwanz: On a side note: My pit was terrified of my ferrets. They totally kicked his ass all the time.

And my former rabbit used to headbutt my dachshund off the couch. Let's hear it for feisty under-10-lb pets!

fandango_matt: I propose we stop calling them "Ferrets" and start calling them "Toe Weasels."

Agreed.

Astro Zombie: In all fairness, who hasn't taken a bite or two out of an infant when nobody was looking?

Waiiiiiiiiiit a second... you're not a space zombie! You're Galactus! Admit it!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:06 AM on December 22, 2006


Ferrets, however, I know next to nothing about, except for the stories in the media which have led me to believe that they have a propensity for eating body parts.

Well, I have owned six ferrets altogether, so I can tell you from personal experience that they have their advantages and disadvantages. The reason I originally posted this article is because people do think they are dangerous given stories like this in the media. Perhaps this issue was too close to my heart to be here on the blue, but I tried to explain my reasons above.

Anyway, when they are young, they do have a tendency to nip hard; their jaws are strong enough to bite to the bone (this almost never happens unless they are abused). However, their skins are so much tougher than ours that it just takes patience and gentle discipline to teach them boundaries. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that they are not dangerous or vicious. They are extremely curious and playful and it takes a lot of energy to ferret proof whatever space they are allowed to run free in (if they can get their head through a hole, they can get their body through).

They have a lot of special needs and are susceptible to many illnesses. They only live about 5-7 years. They can be totally litter-trained (although this process can try the patience of a saint). The main problems (and these are very close to my heart) is that people see them in pet stores and think they are cute, but then are completely unprepared and unwilling to properly care for them. This story is a good example of stories I have heard too many times. I adopted my current two from similarly horrible circumstances (my story is also on that website, if you choose to explore the others).

The other problem is that people tend to fear them and are unwilling to give ferrets a chance. But once fuzzies find their way into your heart, they are wonderful, rewarding pets. It breaks my heart that there is legislation against owning them, period. I would like to see legislation enacted that would require a license to own ferrets because stories like those linked to above are all too common. It is my dream to open or actively participate in a ferret shelter someday.
posted by melangell at 9:07 AM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


OK, my link above does not seem to work, I'll try this again...Story
posted by melangell at 9:10 AM on December 22, 2006


melangell: I'm sorry if my post above seemed rude. I thought briefly, at the time, about saying something to the effect of "sorry if this seems harsh," but I guess I just assumed it would work itself out. I wasn't saying, for the record that this was an abjectly awful post (which is what I know some people around here might do); I was complaining mostly Forbes managed to circumvent Firefox's popup block and because my browser almost crashed, and I hate it when that happens. Given that this was a newswire article, I was annoyed that you didn't go to the tiny hassle of googling for a better link.

As far as the content of the article goes: I have to admit that I wasn't thrilled, but it wasn't deletion-worthy or anything. I would've said so if I hated it. Don't think that we on MeFi are all bad; there's just an art to constructing a good post, and it's something we pride ourselves on. There are a lot of other link-post sites, but we're better than them, we feel, because we're careful and thoughtful about the way we do it. We're not trying to jump down your throat on your first go here; most of us did it pretty bad our first times around. Sorry if it seemed that way. And, even if you've been around the green for a while, welcome to the blue.
posted by koeselitz at 9:46 AM on December 22, 2006


Arg. My grammar is atrocious today. Sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 9:47 AM on December 22, 2006


Thank you, koeselitz, I appreciate your kindness. I left the forum last night feeling as if I had done a disservice to ferrets by posting that article. I had hoped to discuss ferrets in a positive way instead of invoking "ban the toe weasels" and "fuck ferrets". I hope that people on this thread do not take a negative view of ferrets because they do not like me or what I said; ferrets are not to blame for my mistakes.
posted by melangell at 9:57 AM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


thanks fark
posted by wumpus at 10:10 AM on December 22, 2006


melangell: "I hope that people on this thread do not take a negative view of ferrets because they do not like me or what I said; ferrets are not to blame for my mistakes."

I, for one, promise that I will keep an open mind about ferrets. And I don't think people were actually hating on the beautiful little creatures; they just like saying silly things around here, and, well, it's hard for me to pretend that calling ferrets "toe weasels" isn't a little silly.

In fact, I hate to say it, but ferrets themselves seem a little silly to me, like pancakes or elephants. But, again, I'll try to keep my mind open.
posted by koeselitz at 10:36 AM on December 22, 2006


Ferrets stink.
posted by mckenney at 11:15 AM on December 22, 2006


posted by melangell Anyway, when they are young, they do have a tendency to nip hard; their jaws are strong enough to bite to the bone (this almost never happens unless they are abused)...I cannot emphasize strongly enough that they are not dangerous or vicious.

Yeah, they're not dangerous or vicious. They just like to bite the toes off infants.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:15 PM on December 22, 2006


Oh, be fair. We have no solid evidence that the ferret liked it.
posted by cortex at 12:27 PM on December 22, 2006


Actually, if they're anything like black-footed ferrets, they can not only bite down to the bone but right through it. I worked with some guys who had worked with captive-bred black-footed ferrets, and they said that they crunched down prairie dog bodies bones and all. Apparently they kept large freezers full of little frozen prairie dogs for feeding purposes.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:38 PM on December 22, 2006


Actually, if they're anything like black-footed ferrets

Ferrets are related to black-footed ferrets, but they are more closely related to minks and skunks. All these animals belong to the family mustelidae; however, the black-footed ferret adapted to be a specialized predator of prairie dogs in North America before our pet ferrets were even domesticated. Accounts of domesticated ferrets date back to ancient Greece (somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 BC).

The most important thing to note is that the domestic ferret is a completely domesticated animal. They are dependent upon humans and are not at all adapted to life in the wild. You hear accounts of people turning their ferrets loose because they can't take care of them anymore and they think that ferrets can do OK in the wild. These stories always end badly. Anyway, I guess I am trying to say that they are not to be feared, they are intelligent, loving pets.
posted by melangell at 3:16 PM on December 22, 2006


I should have clarified; actually I've spent a fair amount of time with both black-footed and domestic ferrets. I just didn't know if their bite strengths were similar. In appearance, they're quite similar, but I don't know beyond that; the black-footed ferrets our group dealt with were entirely wild, and we didn't handle them directly unless they were fully anesthetized.

As far as domestic ferrets being dangerous, I think anyone who lets any pet interact with an infant, unsupervised, is an idiot. I can't think of any animal that I'd trust that much; not dogs, not cats, not ferrets, not anything. It's a bad idea to let small children interact with ferrets in general because the children can easily hurt or kill them through simple carelessness; I know someone who had a ferret die because their 5-year old sat on it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2006


I know someone who had a ferret die because their 5-year old sat on it.

i've heard that happens to hampsters a LOT
posted by pyramid termite at 3:51 PM on December 22, 2006


I know someone who had a ferret die because their 5-year old sat on it.

posted by pyramid termite i've heard that happens to hampsters a LOT


I heard it happened to Richard Gere's gerbil.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:09 PM on December 22, 2006


well, i heard it happened to a horse in oregon
posted by pyramid termite at 5:00 PM on December 22, 2006


metafilter: I left the forum last night feeling as if I had done a disservice to ferrets
posted by econous at 11:46 AM on December 23, 2006


I think anyone who lets any pet interact with an infant, unsupervised, is an idiot

I totally agree with you Mitrovarr.

I don't know about the comparison in bite strengths. I have read about black-footed ferrets, but have never seen one (except for pictures). I imagine that they are much stronger than our domesticated fuzzies, but that would definitely be an interesting thing to know.

Happy Holidays everyone!
posted by melangell at 11:12 AM on December 24, 2006


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