I got about 40 miles in this morning with a buddy before it got too hot. About a quarter mile from home I was riding through a small park at the corner of our subdivision when I saw something on the path. It was about squirrel sized, but didn't look, or act, like a normal squirrel. As I got closer he turned towards me and I could see that it was a ferret! It had lost most of the hair from his body, and his ribs were clearly visible. He didn't seem afraid, which leads me to believe he had been someone's pet. I can't understand how you could just abandon him, but the question I faced was what I was going to do.
I didn't think either of my dogs, or the one we're sitting for this weekend, would appreciate the addition of a ferret to our household, not to mention my wife. But I couldn't just leave him there. He approached and stood on his hind legs and put his mouth on my leg. He didn't bite, but it still freaked me out just a little. I started walking my bike and he followed. I was not sure how I was going to deal with this but, one step at a time. Eventually before I was out of the park he turned and headed back the way we had come.
I quickly rode home and filled my wife in. While I changed shoes she googled what ferrets eat, and found the phone number for animal control. I called and was assured that they would send someone to the park. I drove back armed with some sliced turkey, provolone cheese, and a can of dog food. I walked down the trail to where I had first seen him, but he wasn't there. As I doubled back towards the car, he came out of the undergrowth onto the path. I put down some turkey, cheese, and a little of the dog food. He wasn't interested at all in the latter two choices, but devoured a slice of turkey. Then he came back for more and took it a slice at a time into the tall grass and set it aside, presumably to save for later.
While he was stockpiling turkey I saw an animal control truck at the other end of the park. I walked halfway to greet the officer and show her where my ferret was. He came very near her when she called although he did nip at her gloved hands when she picked him up. She took some of the turkey to occupy him while she took him back to the truck.
I can't stand the thought of animals suffering needlessly, and wish we could all be more responsible pet owners, wildlife managers, and stewards of this planet. I don't know what will become of this little guy, but I'll hope for the best. By the way, I don't know if he was a boy or girl ferret. Just seemed more like a he, than an it.