Message Number: YG528 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Brett Middleton
Date: 2001-03-02 09:20:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Scooting backwards with stuff

Pam Sessoms wrote:
> But I always imagined it was a sort of behavioral hold-over from
> polecat-hood... Thought it might be a good way to steal eggs from a
> nest and a good way to move something that you can't get your teeth
> on well enough to carry.

I don't have the definitive answer, but this sounds a lot like
something I saw in a documentary on African mongeese awhile back. The
mongeese would use this technique to move hard things like eggs and
shellfish to some nearby rock. They would then "hike" the item between
their rear legs so it would smash into the rock, repeating as often as
necessary to get the thing open. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that
their polecat relatives had a similar trick in their repetoire.

Since our revered moderator seems to consider ferret ethology as being
on-topic for the group, I have a behavioral question of my own: how
many of you have ferrets that engage in "frenetic nibbling"? I found
this term in one of Fara Shimbo's FURO books, and it sounds like an
appropriate description of something Pogey often did, though Ms. Shimbo
didn't say what *she* meant by the term. Pogey would press her muzzle
against my arm (or other exposed skin) and rapidly click her teeth
together, just grazing the skin. Normally this was perfectly harmless,
though sometimes she would pick a spot where the skin is a little
looser, and accidentally catch a fold in a painful little nip.

Do any of your ferrets do this to you? Do any of them do it to other


*SLMW 1.0* "Ferrets don't explode, you say?" -- J. Cleese