And I have yet another new ferret... We had a problem with one of our doves, Taubi, AKA baby dove girl. She had come down with a uterine prolapse on the 25th December 2013, and while Taubi was at the vets again on Friday 27th December, I got a call from another vet practice, a man had caught a "tame ferret" that had killed some of his poultry so I felt I had to get the ferret since I was involved... Got there and immediately thought "this is not a ferret but a polecat!". The creature was so scared, timid and acting psychotic. Didn't tell the guy what I thought because he had said if it had been a polecat, he would have strangled him. He thought it was a ferret because it was easy to catch him. Poley was so crazy that I was petrified. The guy had first put him in a cardboard box but he got out immediately. He then put him into a hutch that was a bit rotten and he dug out of there. So the guy put Poley in the hutch inside a chest freezer. That is how we found him, scared out of his head.
When we got home, I left Poley in the cat carrier I had used to fetch him, put food in, a water bottle, then we had to fetch Taubi from the vets. When we got back we could see he had tried to trash the carrier. I'd never met such a panicky ferret that wanted to break out whatever he was in. He settled down though over the first 24 hours. He had treatment for his ticks (riddled with ticks in December!!!), was wormed, and then he ate for three. He would eat a whole chicken carcass and so quickly! Twice a day. And a whole bowl full of kibble. He was very thin. By day 2 I decided Poley wasn't a polecat but I am sure he is at least a hybrid. We handled him with gloves for a few days, then I figured he wouldn't bite. He was so so scared, would flinch every time we touched him, he also had a nasty fresh cut on his nose. I felt so sad and wondered what he'd been through to be so frightened.
He was obviously in his own cage and had a toilet in there and bed but he had no concept of a bed and toilet. The first 2 days and nights he absolutely messed up his cage, pooped all over the bedding and slept in the toilet. Eventually he did use the toilet and slept in his bed. Because he was so timid I had wanted to give him a "hiding place" so I gave him a bed in shape of a car and put that half into a cardboard box. One day Pete came to me and said "he's asleep in his car in the garage". ;) Because the cardboard box was like a garage for the car bed... Just funny how Pete said it without thinking, it wasn't deliberate. ;)
I let him out for a run in the kitchen but he was just so frightened and would huddle in a corner and look around in panic to see if there was a better corner to hide in. I took him upstairs into the ferret play room and again he would just hide in a corner. No running around and definitely no playing. He is the most frightened, timid ferret I have ever come across, yet he does not bite. He goes rigid when I pick him up, he must have been treated pretty badly. :( One night I sat down with Poley and cried and cried, wondering what had happened to him, I have never had a ferret like him, so scared and timid, still flinching when I touch him, especially his back and back legs. :(
Scared Poley 17.02.14
After a week or so I tried him with my old girls Peanut and Honey, so he would be around relaxed and non-scared ferrets, maybe even play. He was very friendly towards them so I introduced him to Franklin, too. Then not long after, on the 6th of January, I held him in front of the big group's (Honey, Peanut, Franklin, Tigger and Skippy) cage and he wanted in. :) I let him and he walked around like he belonged. Tigger and Skippy were friendly towards him and cleaned him (all the ferrets wanted to clean his ears...) but then Tigger had a go at him... Tigger first sniffed him, licked him, nibbled him, then suddenly he bit and shook his neck. Poley didn't retaliate at all, he just stood there in utter shock and disbelief, no aggression from him at all. :( So he was back in his own cage at night but a day later I first washed him with a wet cloth that I rinsed in the sink in soapy water, cleaned his ears, and tried again and this time it worked out okay. :) I think it is good that he is now surrounded by calm and happy and content ferrets.
I did try to bathe Poley in the kitchen sink a few days previously and he almost flipped. ;) He must have had a very bad experience with water, some people dunk biting ferrets under water so they let go. :( He almost went into a biting frenzy and I had to put him on the floor soaking wet and lathered up. ;) I dried him and then rinsed him carefully after he calmed down.
He is slowly getting better. At first (when out of the cage for exercise) he just went upstairs and looked for a corner to hide in, now he runs around a little and even comes back down the stairs to eat in the kitchen. I saw him dancing a few times and attempting to play with the others the last few days. This is so lovely to see.
Poley and Tigger 21.05.14
He's also been out in the garden and started wrecking the ferret proof fence. All he wants is to break out, I've never had a ferret like this and I had 2 hybrids. He's booked in to be castrated 29th January Wednesday, I hope he may calm down when his hormones are gone. His testes have started to descend and I hope it is enough to be an easy castration. Tigger is booked in as well, I noticed he has a chordoma at the end of his tail. I vaguely remember noticing it ages ago and it was small and I thought I need to keep an eye on it and then forgot. Now it has grown quite a bit and so I thought book him in with Poley, at least they have each other for company.
When in the cage at night, all that is on Poley's mind is escaping.... The ferrets were in a lovely cage made with a wood floor covered with vinyl, and the top was made out of mesh cube panels. At night Poley always tried to get out of the cage so he managed to tear the vinyl and rip big pieces off. I didn't know what to do, if I covered the wood with new vinyl it would just be wrecked again. I thought of painting it with gloss but the ferrets eat meat off the floor so I wasn't keen on them eating off a painted surface. Last option was to cover it with laminate but that would have been a hard job plus expensive so I went and bought a new cage which arrived today 21st January. It is 30 cm / 1 ft smaller than the old cage but higher and he can't really wreck it, it's a 140 cm rabbit cage. But every night he rattles the cage, bites the bars, tries to break out. Again and again and again. I don't have to say I haven't been sleeping much. I even left a light on to see if he's any calmer then, I thought maybe he's scared of the dark or being confined in the dark... But no, didn't make a difference...
I think Poley must definitely be a hybrid, he is more alert and intelligent than ferrets, his eyes move a lot which the other ferrets never do, it's just like the light “up there” is brighter than in ferrets. I'm just glad I didn't release him again when I first thought he was a polecat...
Poley is still acting odd. He's stopped flinching when I touch him and not quite as frightened. But he barely plays. He was neutered Wednesday 29th January and I hope he'll calm down eventually and stop trying to escape. But he does like s cuddle. :) My vet liked Poley and called him a teddy bear whereas the nurses referred to him as Stinky. ;)
Poley is still being strange... Every few months I rearrange the ferret play room and I did this a week ago and when I let the ferrets out at night, he ran around like a wild animal who was desperately looking for a hiding place. He's been so skittish all week long, hiding in pipes so it was hard to put him back in the cage after their time out. A day or two days ago he started to relax a bit and let me pick him up again. He has been outside in the garden a lot and most of the week he's been in and out like a yo-yo. Not trying to escape. YAY. :) And it was nice to see him running around. But yesterday we had to fetch him in, the cats were sitting on the garden fence and Poley was desperately trying to find out how to get on there and OUT. Then he started pulling at the wire mesh again and I was scared he'd eventually break it. I just hope he will one day trust me and not be scared anymore and not try to escape anymore.
Poley has got sooo much better over the months. He plays a lot with Tigger and Skippy and has not tried to get out of the garden/ bite the wire mesh, is brave enough to go in and out and upstairs and back down and go past us in the kitchen, he even comes up to us to sniff our legs, feet, held out hand... He often sits in the kitchen doorway and watches us and he also knows when I do portions for the dogs and skunks and knows if he sits there I will hand him bits of meat. :) He is definitely wild though, he is so intelligent, athletic, strong, yet gentle playing with the others. His whole behaviour towards them is so sweet. He has started to fall asleep upstairs in the ferret room, before he would just sit on a high spot and watch and then start shaking when I approached him. I think in a few months time he will let me pick him up off the floor, like in the kitchen. Very slow process but so rewarding.
Poley still rattles the cage most nights, at times it was on and off all night long, now it is usually just briefly when we have gone to bed. Maybe I also just don't wake up from the noise anymore. A few times he has actually managed to escape from the cage although the top is fastened onto the bottom tray with 6 clips... I would wake up and hear him slide down the wall, or jump onto the window sill, trying to get back into the cage, one night I found him on the back of the armchair that one of the ferret cages is on and he had already been on a sideboard and cleared the top of it. ;) Never a dull moment with him. For the past month or so he has not escaped anymore, maybe I have now spaced the fastening clips correctly so he can not lift any of the front partitions up...
Poley 02.07.14 - 03:53 - yes, in the middle of the night ;)
Poley still won't let me pick him up when he is running around but when I want to put ferrets back in the cage, he will let me pick him up when he is upstairs, even when he is awake. Sometimes he is asleep and I gently stroke him and he will wake up, shivering, heart THUMPING, like for a moment he thinks he is back wherever he came from but he calms down quickly. He *loves* sitting on my lap and being cuddled, he will not try to get down like the other ferrets, he will just stay on the lap. :)
Poley and Skippy 09.04.14