Ferrets, Oh Ferrets!

So my post from earlier today was a bit, well, depressing. So here are some clips from an amazing documentary about ferrets — well, about ferret owners, really — from PBS called “The Pursuit of Excellence: Ferrets.”

And here’s a dog who’s clearly enjoying the documentary a great deal:

So now you really only have a couple of choices. You can wait until your local PBS station reruns the documentary. You can rent the video from Netflix. Or you can watch the whole thing online right now.

You’re welcome!

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on October 12, 2013, in cuteness, off topic, open thread, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. I love ferrets, and will definitely watch this. Sadly, I can’t have one (because of parrot).

  2. Why can’t you have a parrot and a ferret together?

  3. Eating a carrot?

  4. Same reason you can’t keep a cat and a rat in the same hat?

  5. Since we’re talking about parrots, I’m getting a blue indian ringneck. It’s just a baby atm, so it’ll be a few weeks before it comes to me, but excited!

  6. Hey, look! I found a brand new MRA video!

  7. Kim, yay! I hope your bird settles in well with you.🙂

  8. Ferrets! They are wonderful pets, to pet-parents who will love and nurture and care for them like they deserve. My senior singleton, Ino (he’s a boy, it’s a girl’s name, he’s like the ferret named Sue) is unrelentingly awesome. He steals trash and hides it around the house. And we have hardwood floors, and he likes us to pull him around on a blanket. He comes to lay his chin on my feet when I nap on the couch. People are scared of him, and ask “does it bite?” when they see him. I explain that no, he is a perfect, hand-tamed gentleman, but please do not touch my handsome and totally insane cat who might bite them.

  9. And we blanket toss our little dude every time we make the beds. It is his right as our furt.

  10. Since this is an OT post, can anyone here help me decipher what this guy is saying here and if it has any merit because I’ve reached the point of debate overload and there are some pretty serious claims about feminists blocking the creation of men’s shelters and a claim that there is some feminist conspiracy to claim men can’t be raped by women. I just can’t with it right now.


  11. Kim, I’m so envious of your new ringneck. I assume you are acquainted with the fabulous Marnie?

    Ferrets are quite predatory, flexible and resourceful, and can easily slip between the bars of a large parrot’s cage. So parrots and ferrets are not a good combo.

  12. Yep. It was Marnie posted here at Manboobz that I fell in love with. I went to see my new birdie today and took baby pictures.

  13. Your little ringneck bub looks like zie’s smiling – I know it’s the angle of zir beak, but it’s a sweet pic.🙂 How old does zie need to be before you bring zir home (when zie’s fledged, I presume)?

  14. “The Pursuit of Excellence: Ferrets”

    Just curious-is this David’s biography?

  15. @la strega you mean the formatting (tumblr threads can be hard to follow) or what people are saying?

    I’m gonna try to use block quotes to put the relevant parts here but forgive me if it comes out wonky because of the blockquote monster. The stuff in smaller blockquotes will be the points the MRA is responding to.

    You missed the key word “from,” which means that I’m speaking of the oppression that males inflict upon females, not of the oppression of males. Reading comprehension helps.

    …reading comprehension helps a lot in wrting.
    ‘being free from male oppressors’ is vastly different from ‘being free from male oppression’.
    learn how words work.

    No services for raped and abused men? That’s why the leading organization that offers support for rape victims has an entire section dedicated to discussing the unique circumstances that male victims face, links to additional resources for men, and does not exclude men from using their service.

    they just get really wierded out by men reporting female rapists.
    because like every feminist organization, they want to protect female rapists.
    you can take a hike on this one.

    That’s why the one time MRA’s tried to prove that there was no help for abused men, they ignored that the person they spoke to offered a specific hotline for abused men,

    actually, it was a hotline for abusive men. to not be violent.
    did you listen to the tape, or no?
    comprehension helps.

    and let him know that they could put him up in a hotel. But he claimed it was sexism because they wouldn’t allow him to stay at a shelter for abused women specifically (as though that isn’t a tactic used by abusive men to try and locate their partners who fled).

    actually they wanted to put him up in a hotel ~40 miles away without his boy.
    he only asked once about getting into a shelter. and dropped it.

    Somehow the acknowledgment that the safety of an abused partner hinges on their abuser (who is most frequently of the opposite sex) not being able to find them, means that having shelters dedicated to housing women is sexist.

    no, the sexism is that there are no shelters for men, due to feminism’s theory that women just can’t abuse men.

    And yet this man expects me to dedicate my feminist activism to ensuring that he has a space,

    no, if you just stop fighting every single shelter that want’s to house men, we’ll have shelters.

    rather than using the platform that MRA’s have to fund spaces and influence local politicians to designate money towards them.

    We have done that, it was blocked by NOW. (note: he links this same source over and over and over again so I’ll only link it the one time in the repost)

    Instead MRA’s want to either fund men’s shelters AT THE DIRECT EXPENSE OF women’s shelters, rather than finding their own funding so that both can exist, or have women’s shelters shut down altogether out of “fairness” in the scorched earth sense of the word.

    this is a lie.
    every measure for funding shelters for abused everybody, get side tracked to funding shelters for abused women instead.
    It had a massive funding increase to create more shelters, the only ‘fiscal constraints’ was a accountability measure.
    but feminists wanted womyn born womyn to get their shelters first.

    Either that, or they want men to be able to stay at women’s shelters, which makes it possible for not only abusive het-men to locate their partners, but for abusive het-women to locate theirs. The separation is there for a reason.

    Also a lie.

    Spreading the myth that there are not services for men HURTS MEN. Try supporting and signal boosting the services there are so that men in trouble know where to seek help!

    there are ~12 abuse shelters for men in the US.
    1 in Canada.
    there are ~2,500 publicly funded shelters for women in the US. the private ones double that.
    NOW, the NWLC, others, keep it from happening.
    and it’s wierd how feminists think a single webpage constitutes ‘services for rape victims’ when the rape victim in question is a man.

    So in the event that that’s still hard to follow the two sources he linked were:

    And he claims that these both prove that feminists are trying to protect female rapists by hiding stats of men who are raped, and that feminist organizations are blocking men’s shelters from receiving funding (and if so there is no good reason for it)

    So if anyone else whose brain isn’t fried is good at dissecting info and wants to take a crack at figuring out if these sources say what he claims they say and are rooted in any kind of truth, please let me know. I don’t want to end the debate but I’m getting debate burnout.

  16. @Jessay,

    I think if they are truly concerned that there are not enough shelters for men they would be working to set up more shelters and that would be awesome, instead of using the issue to try to shut down attempts to help women.

    Sometimes I think it’s not worthwhile getting embroiled in their “arguments”, as they aren’t in good faith and only meant to waste your time and suck in loads of attention for themselves.

  17. I’d have disengaged when this tool threw out “womyn.” Fuck him.

  18. For all his talk about reading comprehension WRT that case in which Reno called the hotline, he sure seems to miss the fact that 1) it was a hotline for abuse victims and 2) he was offered arrangement at a hotel with his son towards the end of the call.

    I really hope I never meet a confirmed MRA in real life.

  19. This is NOW’s response to the issues raised in that SAVE link.

  20. More ferrets:

    And another:

  21. Kim, that bird is adorable!
    Do you have a name for it yet? And do you know its sex?

  22. I would love to have a ferret, but the law says no. If they get free they eat native birds.

  23. Ferrets are cute but I don’t want them eating my bird, or wild birds. I didn’t even know they ate birds…

  24. Happy Thanksgiving, people and ferrets who are celebrating Thanksgiving.

  25. Happy being awesome brilliant interesting people, everybody else.

  26. Happy being awesome people of human, furred, scaled and feathered varieties Day!

    (“world’s most awkward holiday title” front runner)

  27. @kitteh 3 weeks! I’m going to get it a little before it’s weaned for binding purposes.
    @auggziliary No idea of the sex. I’m thinking maybe Madison (from the Dick King-Smith book Harry’s Mad.) But I might wait to get to know my bird first before naming hir. It occurs to me having this bird will be a good way for me to practice using gender-neutral pronouns. I have been saying it, but I don’t like doing that.

  28. *bonding not binding

  29. Kim, Madison’s a nice name, but yeah, it might not suit Bird at all when you get to know zir.

    I’m glad to have come across gender-neutral pronouns, too. Y’know what really irks me? When an animal whose sex is known is called “it”. Feckin’ Channel 2 always calling Black Caviar or other famous horses “it” … yet a ship, an inanimate object, will be called “she”.


  30. Kim, I like that name. One of my friends had an Indian Ring neck named “Mary”, but they later found out she was a he, so they changed it to the french name “Marie”.
    For finding out the sex, Indian ring neck males have the black ring and the little “mustache”, where females have a light colored line on their neck. However it takes 2 or 3 years to see this, so maybe get a blood test if you want to know the sex faster.

    Oh make sure you know how to wean really well, since it’s not as simple as it seems. A lot of baby birds have died because people make simple mistakes.

  31. I’ve been having a wildly productive day reading through the archives of blogs I’d never come across before (and I made some French onion soup). Here is a link that you must all try. Forthwith. http://nekofont.upat.jp It spells out words you type in cats. It’s a cat-font. It’s a font that makes letters out of cats.


  33. Thanks for the tip auggziliary. I plan to read ALL THE THINGS before I attempt anything but it is good to know that it is something that will need special attention. I’m not planning on having more than one bird, so I can wait til hir sex reveals itself.

    @kitteh. I listen to a podcast about grammar and that topic came up one time. Apparently most publications have a styleguide to deal with the situation. They’ll either refer to all animals as it, or they will refer to named/pet animals as he/she and unnamed/stock/wild animals as it. I imagine it’s in their styleguide what to do about ships as well. So it’s not that the people involved are just doing it that way through bias. It could be worth you writing to them and suggesting they change their policy.

  34. P.S. Do you have any sites/books you recommend about parrots? Ones that you know have accurate information about the dangers and best practices.

  35. Kim – yeah, I imagined it was the way the scripts are done/policy stuff, not the newsreaders to blame. I’ve been thinking about writing to them, though without any real hope they’d actually do anything about it.

    Calling animals “it” sends me into HULK SMASH mode, I swear – especially when an individual’s sex is known.

    Ironic, isn’t it … Black Caviar was named Sportswoman of the Year not long ago. No women they’d bother to recognise – yet the mare who gets the title is still an “it” to many. Sucks all round: men are people, women barely so and their place can be filled by anyone, including animals who are rated as things.

  36. Kim, sorry I don’t have a book, however you could ask your breeder, and maybe ask hir to show you how to wean. Also look on various websites from breeders, or books on amazon.
    Here’s a few other tips:
    – non stick pans are toxic for birds. I forget the exact chemical name.
    – don’t gawk at how cute zie is wit huge eyes, because it make them feel threatened or hunted.
    – their body language is very different. IRNs will shrink their pupils(it’s called eye pinning) to show emotional excitement, both happy and angry kind. Also mating. That might happen occasionally.
    – don’t drop it. This might seem obvious, but babies take a long time to learn how to perch properly.
    – DO NOT SLEEP WITH IT. Its adorable ad tempting, but I know a lot of cases where the bird died painfully from the owner rolling on them.
    – watch your step. Another common accident is stepping on the bird. I did that when I was 10😥
    – feed it veggies at a young age, so it learns to love them, since veggies are really good for your bird.
    – don’t feed it sugary foods, my mom did this with my bird while I wasn’t home, so now when we give him veggies he throws them back at us, and begs for cake and ice cream.
    – exercise is necessary. Clipping wings is kinda controversial, but if you do clip them, you can still use flying, running, and climbing for exercise. Also flying is kinda dangerous so take precautions.

  37. – non stick pans are toxic for birds. I forget the exact chemical name.

    PTFE, i.e. Teflon. It’s only toxic if the pans are overheated, i.e. above 500 degrees.


    Ceramic non-stick coatings don’t have this problem, and even if you do have a teflon pan, if you are using them at lower temperatures, (I.e. for eggs, crepes, pancakes etc) then you shouldn’t have a problem.

  38. Since we’re talking about parrots, I’m getting a blue indian ringneck. It’s just a baby atm, so it’ll be a few weeks before it comes to me, but excited!

    Ooh, fun! Is it a rescue or from a breeder?

  39. thenatfantastic

    I have an on-topic question to ask!

    A friend of mine recently got a ferret kit (baby), but I don’t think she’s actually aware of how much care it will need or the best conditions to keep it in. At the moment, she’s keeping it (I’m going to switch to zie/zir) zir in an indoor cage about the size that one would keep rats in (about 3x bigger than average (horrible) hamster cage), but zie is still only a kit and will very soon get very big (too big to lie lengthways in the cage) and very smelly. Zie also shouldn’t be alone. She seems to be feeding it well and giving it lots of attention but 1) zie needs more space, including runs and other fun things and 2) zie needs a friend, although it may be too late to introduce another already and she certainly doesn’t have the space for two.

    I know how to look after ferrets; I had two when I was younger. They lived in a home-made run in the back garden with dozens of toys, which was 7x6x5, played in the house every night and went out for walks on leashes three times a week.

    So, how do I bring this up? I don’t want to go in all guns blazing telling her that her pet will have a terrible life and be unhappy, but I also don’t want to just stay quiet. For context, I know her well enough to text and meet up maybe once a month, but not to, say, go to each other’s houses.

  40. Ooh, fun! Is it a rescue or from a breeder?

    From a breeder. There is a parrot rescue place very close to where I live though, so if all goes well and I want to get another bird, and feel able to handle one that might have some emotional/behavioural problems I’ll go there.

    @auggziliary I found a really great site that talks about handrearing and weaning in wonderful detail. I plan to only be handfeeding hir for a few days but their info has made me feel confident about it.

    It’s funny, I would never have considered letting a bird sleep on the bed. Would a bird even want to?

    I will definitely be doing lots of vegies. And sprouts. I have ordered a sprouter, for both of us. I always have trouble finding fresh basil, but now I can sprout my own as well as lots of yummy things for my birdie.

    Have you had any experience with flight suits and tethers? I like the idea of being able to let hir fly around outside.

  41. I’ve been posting on some forums and using the zie/hir pronouns and I’m confusing so many people. Even though I was saying zie, not Zie people were assuming that was my parrot’s name. And not seeming to know what a neutral pro-noun was. I suspect it’s going to be a while before the idea of neutral pronouns catches on outside of spaces like this one.

    Has anyone else had better luck using them?

  42. Only other forums I comment on are feminist ones where it’s familiar. The trickiest bit is pronouncing zie/zir without feeling silly (not least since I’m not too sure how to) – Argenti needs to give assistance there, since it’s inevitably zir I’m talking about to Mum!

  43. I think maybe if I use zir it would be easier. I want to pronounce hir the same as her (I assume it’s actually heer) which defeats the point. zie/zir flows a bit better so I might switch to that. Up til now I’ve used they/them but it sounds a bit too much like the general you in some situations.

    Also, I ordered parrot toys on etsy! They looks like they will be lots of fun for zir. I love buying toys for animals.

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