Since Freddy the Ferret and I shared a tent last autumn, the little albino rascal has been very busy. As soon as the weather got warmer and the ground was no longer frozen, Freddy embarked on major excavation works to create his very own network of escape tunnels under and next to the shelter I had built for him.
I didn’t know anything about ferrets, when Freddy invaded my tent, apart from the two facts most people know, namely that
a) ferrets bite
b) male ferrets spray everything and are quite stinky as a result
Ferrets have poor eyesight apparently, which explains why Freddy bit heartily into my feet, the moment I had taken my boots off. Either he mistook my toes for juice snails or the smell of my swollen feet offended him to such an extent, he had no choice but to sink his teeth into my flesh. As ferrets have needle-sharp fangs, the wounds were quite deep and rather painful. Shame on you, little fluff ball, biting the foot that belongs to the person who feeds you!
I haven’t seen the little rascal for a while, but I know he’s still occupying the shelter, because everytime I go to leave some food, new excavations have been carried out, mounts of fresh soil are piled up next to the shelter’s entrance and I can see an oblong outline in the freshly dug soil, which looks remarkably like one sleepy ferret dozing in the mid-day sun.
Ferrets are not strictly speaking nocturnal – I know, this blog is supposed to deal only with creatures of the night, but we’re making an exception for this particular example of wildlife, shall we?
Freddy does pop out of the shelter a couple of times during the night, probably to go to the toilet and to snatch a few worms on the way back. He is far more active at dusk and at dawn, sleeping around 20 hours a day in the interval. Although Freddy must at some point have belonged to some human, he is quite fierce, now that he’s been living free for a while. I always watch my fingers, when I carefully push a new container with raw meat into the opening of his shelter. Since Freddy wasn’t a wild ferret to start off with, he’s never learned to hunt for mice or other rodents. Not sure he’s figured out how yet, but he’s certainly thriving, or the tunnel work wouldn’t progress to the extent it has over the last couple of months.