Ferret photoI know what your thinking….’why would anyone want to steal a ferret…..when you can buy them two a penny?!’

Well I can tell you, they are not ‘ 2 a penny’ anymore. The cheapest I’ve seen lately is between £15 and £20 and gone are the days when the old boy down the road sold them for 50p a ferret [ that’s what I paid for my first one ].

The Reason for ferret theft comes in a couple of forms:

ONE:  Not so much through the summer months but come the end of September The Wessex Ferret Club start getting phone calls,e-mails or messages left on our facebook page about ferrets that have been stolen.
For 2000 years our little friend has worked for us in the form of driving rabbits out of their berries [burrows] be it for food or later on in time for ridding them from the land where they are not welcome and this is the first reason for ferret theft. Unfortunately the ferret is stolen, worked and abandoned on the same night. Due to modern science and that great thing known as Micro-chipping a lot of ferrets are tagged now a days and this is the reason why they are abandoned as no one wants to get caught poaching, let alone poaching with stolen ferrets, so once these people have had their fill of rabbits off they go leaving the ferret to look after himself…..which sadly is not often that long as ferrets are a domesticated animal and have been since as far back as Roman Times so once out on their own they will more than likely fall victim to fox,cat,dog and of course the dreaded road! Some get lucky and end up being picked up and bought to us [ The Wessex Ferret Club] and we try our best to get them home again.
TWO:  two is a little more sinister. There is no actual proof of this and these are not mine nor the word of the clubs but it has been said that ferrets are stolen and then shipped to the continent…for what reason I shudder to think but there are rumours that ferrets are used for medical research because they can come down with a lot of illness/diseases that we can catch, they suffer from many forms of tumours and they can also catch the human form of influenza….so if you have a cold try to have as little contact with your ferret as possible [they can’t have lemsip]. But once again the use for medical research is only hear say.

We will never stop ferret theft but there are things we can do to make it harder. Heavy locks,CCTV and best of all very bright security lights. I also find an old squeaky catch on the door fairs a lot better than a nice new well oiled one! Planting spiky shrubs around your boundaries have also proved a pretty good deterrent. What you don’t want to do is set any form of trap because this is possibly only going to end up in some sort of lawsuit.

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M Young
PR officer for Wessex Ferret Club
In the Business of Ferrets since 1983