I mean, of course, that this little ferret is fabulous, although I do sometimes use the fractals filter for birds and mammals with incredible results. (I once saw it described as being like a pencil on steroids!) Let me introduce you to Louis. He is a small, silver hob (boy ferret) and he lives with eleven of our other ferrets in one of our converted downstairs rooms. We have worked on the edges of several rescue organisations for many years and dear little Louis turned up in the form of an urgent e-mail one evening after work. A couple had spotted a feral ferret a few days earlier and had purchased a bag of biscuits to feed him. Worried that he might come to some harm living outside, they had searched on the internet for help and advice. Being the nearest volunteer, the couple’s details were sent to me and I gave them a call. Thankfully it was mid-summer and with a couple of hours of daylight left, they gave me directions and I grabbed a small cat basket before heading to the rescue.
The location will remain secret, but in less than half an hour I found myself outside an enormous mansion of some historical significance surrounded by a large, formal garden. The couple couldn’t have been nicer and told me about their lodger as they led me to a summer house by a small stream. Apparently the ferret had taken to sleeping in a pipe very close to the water, but during the day he liked to relax on their sun lounger in the summer house. In an effort to make himself more comfortable, he had shredded the foam cushions and the bits had been spread everywhere. They said it was almost time for his evening feed, so I knelt down on the grass and started calling him. It wasn’t long before a little head poked through the undergrowth and he came straight over. I picked him up and checked him thoroughly before popping him in the cat basket where he started dooking (the sound made by happy ferrets). It was obvious he was pleased to belong to a human again.
On getting him home, we realised he was very underweight, so he was given the run of our dining room and provided with plenty of high calorie food. For the first few days he only had the energy to eat and sleep (with the occasional dook), but then he began to play like a proper ferret, which is when this photograph was taken. This is a common behaviour in ferrets and is known as “war dancing”.
Eventually Louis gained enough weight and as we hadn’t been able to trace his former owner, we had him neutered and installed him in the main room with our other ferrets. Let me introduce you to some of them…
These are brothers Woody and Buzz, who had a very bad start in life. They came to us as young kits and had been fighting for survival among 17 ferrets all living in one two storey cage – tiny babies mixed in with adults. We also took in a sandy brother (Jerry) and their Dad (Ben). Ferrets are notoriously difficult to photograph, but I got lucky with this one as they wrestled in one of the fleecy beds.
Baldrick is another silver, although both he and Louis are seen here with their original darker coats, they are now almost identical pale silver hobs. It can come as quite a shock to take on a coffee coloured ferret one year to find they have completely changed colour by the following spring. Baldrick was also rescued as a young kit having been raised on bread and milk. (Please DON’T – ferrets are obligate carnivores and must eat meat every day).
Lola is half ferret and half wild polecat, but she has a very loving nature and likes to kiss – as indeed do all our ferrets. Here she is playing on an old tree.
This was our dear Bailey – thrown out of a car window with two of his brothers in a plastic bag. He lost two toes as a result, but it never slowed him down. Sadly he developed heart failure last year and was buried in the garden on my birthday.
Bear was rescued by a friend when he became too big for his previous owner to use for rabbiting. Advertised on a forum, people were suggesting he should be drowned or shot. He likes nothing more than to be cuddled and to wash any exposed areas of skin. I held him last night while their room was being cleaned and he methodically basted my face, including my eyelids and ears.
Treated with love and kindness – all ferrets are fabulous!