The Ferret

VII.–HARDINESS.

 

There are numerous remarkable examples of ferret toughness on record.

Not long since, the following came under my notice: A couple of ferrets

were used in a warehouse, and one of them, a handsome, dark-coated,

mink-bred animal, accidently fell through a hatchway from the fourth

story. He was brought to me in a horrible condition, the hinder part of

the body being entirely smashed out of shape, and completely paralyzed.

The poor brute was forced to drag along its useless trunk with the help

of its forefeet only. I thought myself the animal was assuredly done

for; but in a fortnight it had quite recovered the use of its limbs,

which also assumed their natural form and function. It was again enabled

to hop about as well as the rest; in fact, no trace of its former

complete demolition remained. Another noteworthy example was this: A

friend of mine, M—- was out rabbit-hunting with a companion carrying

his ferret, which had been muzzled, in his pocket, a common way of

transporting it. After he had bagged half a dozen rabbits in one place,

he secured his ferret again, and went on walking some distance through a

snowed-over part of the woods, chatting with his friend. He suddenly

felt in his pocket, and found his ferret had got away. They retraced

their steps, carefully searching for two or three hours high and low,

but without success. M—- went home, satisfied his ferret was lost.

Eight days afterwards, coming over the same ground, he saw a shadowy,

thin spot of dirty fur under a ridge, which, after he had more closely

examined, turned out to be the long-lost animal. It was completely

exhausted and reduced to a skeleton, but still showed some signs of

life. It had probably crawled in under some small opening in a ridge at

the time of its being dropped, and so had escaped M—-‘s attention. As

he found his ferret with the muzzle still on, it could not have procured

either food or drink. The poor brute must have suffered agonies, showing

_what horrible cruelty the practice of muzzling is_. M—- took his

ferret home, fed it well, and inside of a month it was entirely

restored, and just as good a ferret, in every respect, as ever. If

ferrets are together, and are kept strictly without food for a length of

time, they will devour one another quite readily, in lieu of better

fodder.

 


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