Monday, May 11, 2009

Ferrets, otters, and sliding

This was on Small Animal Channel:
The ferrets love their tube run more than anything. Each day I wake up and go to sleep hearing little paws running and dooking sounds in the tubes.

The funniest part of the tube run ended up being the 11-foot slope. Every time the ferrets finish in the run and decide to go back down to their cage, they enter the top of the sloped tube and flip over onto their backs to slide all the way down the tube, gaining quite a bit of speed in the process.

When friends and family see the tube run, some think it’s great and others just look at me strangely. To the latter, I just smile and tell them, 'It’s a ferret owner thing.'"
— Todd LaFaille, Connecticut

The bit about the ferrets flipping over onto their backs to slide? It's exactly what otters do -- and otters are big cousins of ferrets. Practically anyplace in the northeast or north central states where you have muddy or icy banks going down to a big enough creek or river, you will find an otter slide. Minks -- another member of the family -- do it too.

Entire otter families will maintain their slides. It's just about the only animal activity known that exists for the pure fun of it -- there's no connection to food, reproduction, or anything else related to survival. Just fun!

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