18th March 22:25
OT Zoo visit
Today, the local ferret club organized a trip to the Louisville, KY zoo with
a trip behind the scenes to see the black footed ferret breeding program.
We went to a building back in a corner, had to knock to be allowed in. We
were led to a windowed office that overlooked the nesting boxes of the black
footed ferrets. No one, but staff, who showers and only wears scrubs and a
mask is allowed in the ferret room. The biggest fear is that someone would
walk distemper in. The ferrets are vaccinated with Merial Purevax, but
there is no 100% guarantee. There are other illnesses like flu that could
be walked in.
The BF ferrets live in a large cage, maybe 4 x 4, attached is a tube and
nesting box they can descend into. Hanging tubes and toys, like nyla bones
were used to help keep the BF ferrets challenged and entertained. BF
Ferrets aren't handled and it is attemped to keep them in something close to
the natural environment.
We were very fortunate that several of the BF ferrets were out and active so
we could see them. Several of us made attempts to take digital pix of the
ferrets. I don't think mine turned out too well.
We were shown a video tape of ferrets. They dook and dance just like our
BF ferrets live primarily on prarie dogs, but will kill and eat other
rodents and other small birds or animals they come across.
A percentage of the kits are released each year, to a prarie dog
preservation where they can learn to hunt. It is protected with an
electified fence to keep predators out, but to help the BF ferrets learn
about and avoid predators.
We also saw meercats and river otters.
21st March 16:24
OT Zoo visit (diet)
We stopped to watched meercats and talked to one of the zookeepers out at a
preannounced feeding time, which we went too.
The meercats outdoor pen has two large rocks, one heated and several small
rock piles and was filled with what appeared to be sand. The meercats also
had the option of going to an indoor pen.
Meercats are desert animals, living in the southern deserts of Africa.
Meercats are Viverands (sp), not mustelids. This means they are mongooses,
not weasels. Mother nature recycles body forms that are highly fuctional.
Meercats are social creatures and live in colonies. They have sentinals who
watch out for danger and notifiy the colony of danger. They communicate by a
series of hisses, barks, squeeks and twitters.
They sometimes share their dens with other mongooses of a different species.
They are classified as omivores. They eat almsot anything, plants, seeds
and berries, insects, small birds and rodents. They are beleived to be
immune to the poison of the scoripion and several deadly snakes. All of
which, are part of their diet.
I admit, meercats look cute and can make you say, "I want one". They have
cute little fur markings around their face that make them look as if they
It is unwise and foolish to try and remove a wild animal from it's habitat
or to want to keep one outside of a zoo breeding program.