Ferrets on the hunt for new owners

MARTLESHAM: Think ferrets and you may remember Compo's mischievous pets in the popular TV comedy Last of the Summer Wine.

MARTLESHAM: Think ferrets and you may remember Compo's mischievous pets in the popular TV comedy Last of the Summer Wine.

But, according to experts, their undesirable reputation is undeserved - and now a group of the furry creatures are sharpening up their act and are on the look-out for new homes.

The RSPCA centre in Martlesham is currently inundated with ferrets and staff at the centre are calling on animal lovers to help give the friendly bunch loving homes.

Becky Fox, deputy manager said they currently have a “ferret overload” with a group of 13 of the creatures, known as a business, on site.

“They are great pets,” she said.

“We are really looking for people with suitable accommodation which could be indoors or outdoors.

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“If it is outdoor accommodation there are a few requirements - it must be like a shed environment with a run attached.

“They need a lot of space so we try to stay away from people who have hutches to house them if we can.

“Ideally someone with a converted play house, shed or outbuilding would be great. They do need the space to be able to climb around.”

She said staff were hoping to re-home the animals in pairs, to keep the playmates already living together in pens at the centre with the same owners.

Miss Fox did warn potential owners to think hard about whether they could provide everything the playful creatures need.

The animals thrive in the company of other ferrets and humans and so staff are keen to re-home them with owners who are not out at work all day.

They need a diet of dried food and raw or cooked meat, a constant supply of fresh water, lots of room to run around and toys to play with.

Miss Fox said potential owners will be required to make a �20 adoption donation to the centre and assure staff the creatures will not be worked but will be family pets.

Are you a ferret owner - do they make good pets? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Ferrets are domesticated polecats, generally thought to be descended from the European polecat.

They are related to weasels, badgers, the wolverine and minks.

Young ferrets are called kits, females are known as jills and males are called hobs.

They are accomplished diggers with a natural curiosity and are great escape artists, easily opening doors that are not shut properly.

By habit, the ferret is an exceptionally clean animal.

They can sleep up to 22 hours a day or more, and while they are not nocturnal they are generally more active at dawn and dusk in the wild.

Like dogs, they can be taken for walks on a lead but they do not have a homing instinct and could get lost if allowed.

Ferrets have frequently featured on the big screen with roles in films like Kindergarten Cop where a ferret saves the life of the Arnold Schwarzenegger's life helping him to bond with the children in his kindergarten class, as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Big Lebowski, Ace Ventura, Along Came Polly and Lord of the Rings.