Although tamed it for thousands of years, quirky little ferret (ferret) has become popular as a pet only last about 30 years. Although they resemble rodents, ferrets actually carnivorous and are members of the weasel family, along with otters, weasels, mink, badgers and wolverines. They are infinitely beautiful creatures with a long history of hunting, creating planes and participate in one of the strangest bloody sports in the world.
10. In a sport.
In various places around the world to revive the ancient, terrifying sport. Ferrets in the pants - endurance sports in which participants put two ferrets living in his pants, tightened at the ankles and waist. Animals furiously scratching and biting in an attempt to escape. The winner is the one who has the longest withstand such torment. One of the top names in the sport - Reg Miller from England. He introduced the concept of "white pants" to make it easier to see blood spilled from the bites. One of the key rules - participants are not allowed to wear underwear. Up until the last few decades - the record was less than a minute, but in 2010 he was beaten by two men stood ferrets in trousers for 5, 5:00.
9. wag war dance.
For those unfamiliar with the ferret, the so-called "wagging war dance" can be quite repulsive. With a curved back ferret will jump in a rage, puffing out its tail. He often makes strange hissing sounds. Pretty movable ferret, however, during the dance runs into objects and clumsily breaks. It seems the highest expression of ferocity, but in fact it is just an invitation to play, as well as dogs, for example, revolves around a leash or with a favorite toy. However, in the wild in other mustelids this "dance" is actually used to stun prey such as rabbits. After a few seconds more agile rabbit baffled by strange movements, and can not react fast enough to escape.
Although ferrets and new goods for pet stores, they tamed over 2000 years ago. Hunters wore them in a small cage or bag, and if it finds a rabbit hole ran ferret. After a while the rabbit jumped out through the other hole, pursued by a ferret. From that moment the hunter could shoot or produce or dogs. Over the centuries, this practice was vital for people trying to feed their families, but today it is largely used for sport or to control the number of rabbits, which multiply and become parasites, if not reduce the population. Often, hunters of rabbits fed their ferrets, rabbits as a much better source of nutrition than commercially available products. As you might guess, there are many decrying the practice, arguing that it is a barbaric relic of the past.
Despite its wild origin, in general, ferrets - excellent pets. They are very intelligent and can be trained to perform all sorts of tricks. Like cats, they can live in a small box. While most members of the weasel family prefer to live alone and only come together to mate, ferrets prefer the company. They are happy when they have at least one friend in the cell. They can be very interesting to observe.
Ferret, costly than hamsters. They may spend most of their time in the cage, but requires a lot of care. They can hurt, especially prone to intestinal problems, obtained as a result of their habit of eating inedible. Ferrets have a strong natural musk.
6. Prohibitions on ferrets.
Despite its popularity, there are many places where it is forbidden to keep ferrets, including New York and California. The most obvious risk - the escaped animals form colonies and threatened wildlife. Throughout the world, there are several populations of wild ferrets. One of the most devastating live in New Zealand, where they are brought together with caresses to control the rabbit population, as previously brought. Unfortunately, ferrets have chosen his prey wild birds nest on the ground, which are easier to catch than rabbits. Ferrets can also pose a risk to cattle production in New Zealand, as are vectors of bovine tuberculosis.
5. In painting
Say exactly when domesticated ferret is difficult, but in the Middle Ages, they were well known throughout Europe. In the painting of this period are often present these animals. Most famous work - is, of course, Leonardo da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine." This is a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani - mistress of Ludovico Sforza Duke of Milan. Ermine is actually short-tailed weasel named or stoat in winter (winter it is completely white for camouflage in the snow). He is known as a symbol of the royal family. Nevertheless, the animal in the picture surely ferret likely large male. Short-tailed weasel - tiny creature, which the largest specimens weigh a little more than a quarter of a kilogram, while the "weasel" in the picture Da Vinci almost the size of a cat.
4. shifty wire
Most of the "working" ferrets are used to eradicate pests, but they also have other, less obvious problem. Their ability to wade through narrow spaces, some institutions have used for their own purposes. In 1960, the aircraft manufacturer Boeing ferrets used for wiring. Ferrets have also been used for the cable at Buckingham Palace for the wedding ceremony of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. Ferret lay cables in tunnels under the Greenwich Park, London's New Year's Eve to save Millennium Concert. They were encouraged to pieces of meat at the other end of the tunnel.
The photo "nibbler", helped with the wires at the Large Hadron Collider.
3. Colors and Waardenburg syndrome
The vast majority of ferrets or albino (white with pink eyes) or sable color. For those who use ferrets for hunting purposes prefer albinos, they are best seen in the field. Sable color can vary from soft beige to a very dark gray.
In recent years, breeders brought ferret badger with coloring or pandas. Unfortunately, these animals are susceptible Waardenburg syndrome - they have extended the skull and may be partially deaf.
As well as gray wolves can interbreed with domestic dogs, ferret (ferret home) and the European Forest ferret easily produce offspring. There are some hybrids ferrets, ferrets living in the wild in the UK, where hunters prefer a full-blooded ferrets have lost some of their predatory advantages due to domestication. Ferrets and ferrets can also can interbreed with the European mink. Because they are not so closely related, male offspring of such unions - sterile, but females can breed. The resulting animal is more like ferrets / ferrets, but are similar to mink. Unfortunately, this situation is detrimental to minks, who are on the brink of extinction and can be found only in a few small areas throughout Europe.
Although angry ferret may bite you sick - their teeth like a razor blade cling tight - they are unlikely to pose a real danger to adults. Nevertheless, there are some horrific cases where ferrets are attacked and even killed babies. In June 2000, a pair of ferrets attacked a 10-day girl in Wisconsin, while the child's mother dozed off. The child could have died, but he was saved by a dog leaped to the rescue. Fortunately the wounds were superficial and did not require lining seams. In almost every case, the situation was caused by parental neglect. Some experts believe that because babies smell like milk, ferrets consider them as an object of prey.