The ferrets are one of the more unusual animals on the yard, but definitely some of the most popular, especially with the volunteers! We have seven ferrets at the moment. Three of them are adults that have come to us from rescue centres or re-homed and four of them were given to us from a litter of baby ferrets from Merrist Wood College. Of the older ones, we have two polecat males (darker bodies, pale heads with a bandit mask around their eyes!), Buster and Donnie, and a silver female, Kali. The youngsters are Logan, Ori, Wade and Madeleine (two pairs of brother and sister).
All our ferrets live together in a converted shed, they are very sociable and love to cuddle up with each other and sleep all day. The male ferrets are called hobs and the females are called jills. We currently have 4 hobs and 3 jills. Ferrets are a member of the mustelid family, and are related to animals like otters, badgers and weasels (to name but a few).
Ferrets are not found naturally in the wild, they’re actually the domesticated form of the European Polecat! Once upon a time ferrets were kept primarily as working animals, where they’d be used to help control wild rabbit populations, but these days they are increasingly popular as pets. Certainly our business of ferrets wouldn’t be any good at hunting, they’d rather sleep then do any work!
Thinking about getting a ferret?
Ferrets can make wonderful pets, but are very different from your standard rabbit, guinea pig or hamster! If they’re handled frequently from a young age, they can be very fun and friendly. On the other hand, if they are not well socialised and used to people, they can be quite a handful! We are very fortunate that our little troop of ferrets are all excellently socialised and get on well with each other (and humans!).
As with all pets, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Ferrets generally live to about 6-7 years of age, but can reach up to 10. They’re very adventurous and curious animals, and can form strong bonds with their owners.
If you are interested in getting a ferret as a pet, please look into re-homing from an animal rescue centre. Not only will they often help with socialising and ensuring the ferrets are in good health, they will also be able to offer advice. There are plenty of animal rescues around that would be only too happy to help match you with the ideal pet! Several of our ferrets came from the excellent Ferret Rescue Surrey, so it’s well worth having a look around.