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XII.–THE FERRET’S ADVANTAGES AS A RAT EXTERMINATOR.
Ferrets have been brought forward, chiefly by the labors of the present
writer, to be regarded within the last few years as domestic animals.
There is certainly, yet, a great degree of prejudice against the
ferret–a natural result of ignorance of its ways; but we firmly believe
that the more it comes in contact with man, and is bred in captivity,
the more readily it will be put by him in the division of common
domestic animals, and he will, furthermore, find it his best remedy in
rat extermination, making the latter worthies as scarce as the ordinary
rat has made its black-complexioned cousin.
For this latter purpose the ferret’s most apparent advantages are as
_First._ There is nothing a rat is more afraid of, by nature, than a
ferret, so that the rats are driven off by acute bodily fear.
_Second._ The body of the ferret, and its small head also, is
remarkably flexible, thus enabling it to get into and drive out the
vermin from their holes and breeding-places.
_Third._ When through hunting they do not stray off, but return to
their pens, and wait there till they are put in.
_Fourth._ They devour the entire carcass of the rat, after killing
it, and do not leave the slightest trace of it around.
_Fifth._ The ferrets can be trained to obey the whistle somewhat
like a dog, and, by attaching a bell to their necks, they can always
be traced to whatever part of the building they may stray.
_Sixth._ After they get acquainted, and have been handled for some
time, they become affectionate pets, and can be fondled and caressed
_Seventh._ They are very cleanly, peaceful, and nondestructive in