Bolton Ferret Welfare

Yarm Ferret Rescue January 2008

by Sue Lloyd

Yarm Ferret Rescue held it's annual fund-raising show on 7th Ocotober 2007. It was our best yet, with 177 ferrets entered of which about 70 ferrets belonged to regular exhibitors from the agricultural show circuit with most of the others responding to the mention we had in our local Evening Gazette. The hall was packed with pet ferret owners attending their first show and many returned home proudly clutching rosettes.

We had two unusual ferrets put in an appearance, one a gorgeous European Black and the other an Angora.

Many thanks to the catering team who never stopped all day, the stewards and to Nat who ran my sales table, virtually selling everything.

Gordon Peirson from the Whitby area judged ten of the classes with the lucky first prize winners receiving a bag of Vitalin Ferret, kindly sponsored by Vitalin, North Yorkshire whose sponsorship is greatly appreciated and which also means that with their free samples, eveyone can try out this popular ferret food.

Now for something a little different

Whilst en route recently to my small local market town on a Saturday morning I spied a road kill that wasn't the usual pheasant or other small animal casualty, it was an otter! We stopped and moved the dog otter into the hedge. On returning home I contacted a friend who works as a countryside warden and we returned complete with a large, strong bag so that he could be taken away and various details recorded ie: weight, length, where found, etc. As he'd died from a glancing blow to the head (death would have been instantaneous) he was in pretty good shape so it was decided to pass him onto a taxidermist. Personally I would rather have buried him but conceded that once he was preserved at least the general public would have the opportunity of seeing and touching an otter and therefore doing more to promote wildlife habitat preservation.

Many, many, years ago I was lucky enough to see otters in the wild before they became so rare but as this is the second otter road casualty in a year in this area, and with some live sightings, it would seem they are back.

Otters (latin name Lutra Lutra) are related to ferrets and so it was rather interesting to study one up close. Their teeth looked very powerful and I can understand how people handling live otters can lose their fingers. The one that I found was probably a few years old, his whiskers very bristly, very dense coat and rather plump. His hind claws were about 3/4" long but his front claws were worn right down to the quick which would suggest that he'd been busy digging. Only fifty or so yards away from where he was killed is a large freshwater lake which could have either been his home or just a feeding area.

Otters are making a comeback and it's up to us to help them. Anyone finding a roadside casualty may find that their local wildlife group would be interested in recording it's details so do please let them know.

First Published January 2008

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