Bolton Ferret Welfare

Yarm Ferret Rescue - Snowdrop

by Sue Lloyd

If ever a ferret deserved a medal for services to ferret welfare it is Snowdrop. Snowdrop was collected up as a stray about four years ago, we reckoned at the time that she was a year old. She lived with one of Yarm Ferret Rescue's foster mums until we hoped, a home would come along for her. She was always overlooked, everyone wanted polecat coloured ferrets, Snowdrop is a pretty albino jill, I never understood how she never got to any shows. When my line of albinos looked like dying out Snowdrop came to the rescue and bred a litter of champions, she did us proud. Until then Snowdrop had always been happy to socialise with other ferrets and would happily live with other jills, once the kits were weaned she would no longer mix, not even with one of her own daughters. She became a fighter.

Things always went pear shaped, her foster mum had tired of the ferrets. Neglect had led to sarcoptic mange, her ferrets including Snowdrop came to me and were treated for mange and I managed to home some. Snowdrop was very dear to me and I was very happy when a young lady called Emily adopted her. Emily had other ferrets so her and her family were used to ferret antics such as getting stuck down the back of the cooker which became a favourite pastime for Snowdrop.

Snowdrop has never been spayed so when she is in season she returns to me to visit a vasectomised hob. By now Emily had got her friends and neighbours The Stephenson Family well into ferrets and the Stephensons took a lot of ferrets in for me as well as kits they obtained via the Internet. The Internet kits were fine kits but far too young to leave their mum. When Mum, Dan and Toni Stephenson called in one day to show me the Internet kits the plan was for them to return Snowdrop, who'd been here visiting a vasectomised hob, to Emily.

Snowdrop heard the cries of the young kits, her ears pricked, she showed an eager interest. Cautiously we let her meet the kits, she took to them instantly and cleaned and groomed them, kept them warm and taught them to be ferrets, all was quiet, all were happy The kits grew as big as Snowdrop, more baby kits were added to the growing family, Snowdrop loved them all.

One day an emergency arose, Bev (Mum Stephenson) suddenly found herself with five very young kits their mum "gone" presumed dead. The kits were hungry and filthy. Bev and her family set to to hand rear the kits, a daunting task. I advised removing all the now older kits from Snowdrop and giving her the new babies, she took to them possessively, she cleaned them, mothered them, guarded them and most amazingly she produced milk to feed them. Our vet confirmed what we thought that the kits had stimulated Snowdrop into producing milk. Sadly the very smallest kit did not survive but the other four are now happy, bouncing youngsters.

Thank you Snowdrop you're a star.

Snowdrop

Toni, Bev and Brian Stephenson with the four surviving kits and Snowdrop.

First Published September 2012

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