Ever think about owning a ferret for pet? You might want to think twice about it if you have small children after reading these attacks.
The latest incident occurred January 10, 2011 in Grain Valley, Missouri when a 4-month-old baby had seven fingers gnawed off by a pet ferret. Only the baby’s two thumbs and part of one pinkie finger remain. According to authorities, the mother woke up when she heard her baby crying at around 2:30 in the morning. The mother’s screams woke up the baby’s father. The father grabbed the ferret and threw it across the room, killing it. The baby was being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri and was listed in critical condition. The parents are being investigated for neglect and failure to obtain an exotic pet license.
Shriners International has responded to the case by letting authorities know about a surgery that can be performed to help the baby. In this procedure a few of the baby’s toes would be removed and attached to his hands in place of fingers. Shriners International would pay for the procedure.
On June 28, 2000 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin a 10-day-old baby girl was attacked by two ferrets who climbed into her crib. The mother let her pet ferrets out of their cage early in the morning. The mother fell asleep while watching television. She was woke up shortly after hearing her daughter fussing. After apparently being attracted to the smell of milk on the baby’s breath, the two ferrets scratched the baby’s face more than 100 times. There were also bite marks and gashes on her face. The family dog jumped into the crib to help save the baby. The baby girl was expected to heal completely. The ferrets were euthanized.
In the 1980’s there were three reported ferret attacks on children. In all three incidences the babies were under five months and left briefly unattended in their cribs. One was a three-month-old baby girl whose ears were chewed severely. Another was a six-week-old baby boy who had most of one ear chewed off. The third case involved a baby girl who had her nose chewed off.
Ferrets are one of the more popular of exotic pets. They are approximately 20 inches in length and weigh only 1.5 pounds to 4 pounds. They can be unpredictable and cause serious injuries to humans, particularly infants and young children. In some areas in the United States they are banned due to biting, rabies and colonizing and threatening native wildlife.
As with any pet, parents need to educate themselves about the pet and decide whether or not this is a pet to have around small children.