Message Number: YG1834 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Edward Lipinski
Date: 2001-03-29 01:23:00 UTC
Subject: urine licking (not drinking) interference with Japanese

Have noted males also licking pooled urine (from females only) on cement
floor. They only 'slurp' 3 to 4 licks, kinda shake their heads as if to
shake off any droplets on their muzzle, and then move on to other
interests. Never noted actual drinking - that is, the uptake of the
whole pool of urine.

Dipped my finger into urine pool that male had just visited and could
smell a faint fruity odor from repeated sniffs, but didn't have the
'guts' to taste it. Ketonuria?

This was about Christmas time and so went upstairs in kitchen and got a
tangerine - a Japanese Satsuma.

Returned to basement and after breaking out a segment of tangerine I
squeezed some ten to fifteen drops of tangerine juice on the concrete
next to the urine. Brought the ferret back and put him on the floor
about midway between the little pool of Satsuma juice and the urine. No
response whatsoever to either, but as the ferret sidestepped the urine he
accidentally stepped into the pool of Sastuma juice and danced about,
apparently not too happy that he'd stepped into the juice, wetting his

About half hour later, saw that juice was all gone but urine was still
there. My assumption is that he licked his paw, tasted the Satsuma
juice, and then later discovered the pooled juice and licked it up to
near dryness. Or could be that juice evaporates fast compared to urine.

Then again, could it be that urine has some factor in it that closely
mimics the nutrients in tangerine juice and that most ferrets fed on
commercial ferret food lack in their system the products of citrus that
they instinctively know is absent?

This particular ferret would not eat whole tangerine segments, but when a
few drops were squeezed out on the acrylic floor sheet of his cage he
would lick them up. As a consequence of learning this I have since made
a point of adding to my home-made ferret food (LUMPS) 1/4 segment of
peeled orange to the 3 gallons of soup that I run through the high-speed
blender every other day.

Now if someone were to ask me why some ferrets lick at urine pools (not
likely to come up in everyday casual conversation) my guess would be that
the licker is dificient in some basic element that is found in orange or
tangerine juice. Natural sugars?

At first I thought it might be a sexual thing, since my boy is
double-barreled and the urine was from a fertile jill, but when he showed
positive to Satsuma juice, that had to mean that he is either a
descendent of Samuri or else means that the juice was a vital substance
that his gorgeous body craved.

Itahdakiemasu! [J.] Polite greeting (with head bow) from dinner guest to
host at a Japanese formal meal.

Edward Lipinski @ Ferret Endowment for Rehabilitation, Research,
Education & Training Society North West Foundation est. Jan. 04, 2001.


On Wed, 28 Mar 2001 22:57:40 -0000 "Mike Janke" <mjanke@m...>
> This topic has come up on the Ferret Mailing List more times than I
> can count. I don't think anyone has ever come up with a real solid
> answer to the question. Some have suggested that maybe the ferret
> is
> thirsty, but it doesn't seem likely that so many people are leaving
> their ferret's water bottle or dish go dry. I had one ferret myself
> that lapped up his own urine and I can vouch for the fact that he
> always had clean, fresh water available.
> I guess I didn't help much, but I can answer one of your
> questions...
> Yes, this is not that uncommon. It also doesn't SEEM to be harmful.
> In fact, a few years back I remember seeing a news report about the
> latest health fad (for humans)... drinking ones own urine. It even
> showed two women chugging down a glass of it. So it can't be that
> bad for you, though I don't believe I want to find out.
> Mike
> --- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "linda soule" <llsoule@m...> wrote:
> > Does anyone know why ferrets drink their own urine? I have 3 male
> ferrets who do this. One is adrenal, one has an enlarged spleen,
> but
> #3 is just fine. Is this a common thing? Are they deficent in a
> mineral or vitamin? What should I do next.
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