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Creature Feature: Diet of a Carnivore, Mind of a Toddler

Found a ferret in your facility? Here’s how to keep him feeling fine.

They are curious and energetic, and their lean bodies have occasionally led them on surprising career paths: In the late 1940s, a ferret named Freddie was certified as a member of an electrical labor union in New Zealand; the human electrician who owned him attached a wire to his collar and sent him into small spaces. Freddie would scurry through, laying the wire into crevices too tight for humans to reach.

Though they like to play games with nearby humans, the ferrets Laura Baran knows are somewhat less industrious than Freddie. “I personally think that they’re more like a two-year old eating a bag of candy on a Saturday,” says the co-director of the Emmett Ferret Shelter in Emmett, Idaho. “They’re … hilarious. They’re just nonstop—bouncy, and they’re mischievous and playful, and they stay that way until they get about five years old, and then they kind of slow down a little bit.”

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