Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ferret Misconception on TV

Disclaimer: I do not watch Two and Half Men and have not seen the episode so can only comment on the article on Examiner.com

When I first saw this post in the examiner I was curious as to how the show had angered the ferret community. I don’t watch the show as it has never appealed to me but now I am outraged at the fact that this show has gone out of its way to bring the ferret into the public’s eye in the most misleading way.

The more I read through the article the more concern I got about how much of the misconceptions were seen as truth to those that have no knowledge about ferret ownership.

This isn’t the first time the media has put bad lighting on the ferret but it needs to be balanced with the truth so that people can make the distinction between falsehoods used to make a show seem funny.

The first thing I want to point out is that it is illegal to own a ferret in California unless you have a wildlife permit. This is due to the California Wildlife and Game office that placed the ferret on their wildlife list in 1932 and has refused to remove it from the list by stating that if a ferret was to get loose and breed it would be a threat to the California bird population.

The fact is if an intact ferret did get loose in California, it is highly unlikely that it would find another ferret to breed with. Ferrets also do not do well in temperatures over 72 degrees and California is known for its high temperatures in the summer.

While ferrets are related to the mink and weasel, they don’t have the hunting knowledge that these two do and would become a larger animal’s meal.

Ferrets can get up to five pounds but do not maul people as shown in the show. The average weight for a ferret is between 2-3 pounds and is easily defended against.

I won’t say they don’t bite because ferrets do bite for many different reasons.

1. From being abused

2. From being Frightened

3. From trying to taste what they smell on your hands

4. Trying to get you to play

5. Because they are tired

6. Because they are sick

7. They are still learning what is acceptable

I travel with my ferrets and I am overly cautious about who gets near my ferrets. I make sure their vaccinations are up to date which include rabies and distemper.

I must point out that there have only been 14 cases of rabies reported from a ferret in the last 52 years. Rabies is fatal to ferrets as they often die from the virus before it can be spread to another pet or human.

While ferrets can be trained to come to a squeaky toy or a clicker, they can’t be trained to attack. As stated above I did not see the episode mentioned so I can’t tell you how they would have created the illusion that the ferrets were attacking.

I can tell you from experience that ferrets will jump at you with all four paws spread out in an attempt to get you play and they will climb up your pant legs because to them it is a tunnel that needs to be explored.

My other complaint is that one of the scenes has Rose placing the ferrets in a car. Talk about bad publicity for leaving a pet in a car with the windows rolled up.

Also, a ferret wouldn’t just lay around waiting for someone to open the door they would find a way into the dashboard and into the engine compartment and finally the ground.

As I have said before I travel with my ferrets and I educate people about ferrets wherever I go. In the three years that I have been attending Blog Paws, Bark World, and other pet events I have been able to dispel many of the misconceptions of ferrets along with showing people that ferrets can be an entertaining pet.

In fact, I was told by one attendee at the 2011 Blog Paws that they had been afraid of ferrets because of all the bad press they had seen but now wasn’t afraid of ferrets because of the time spent with my two boys and talking to me about them.

If Chuck Lorre wrote this episode and is connected to social media, I can only hope that he will realize how much harm the episode could have done to the ferret.

While I’ve never watched the show, I might have given it a try had he not put the ferret in such an evil light.

What I can say to the writers of Two and Half Men think about how much viewers believe from television before writing another script that places another animal species in the wrong light.

Have a Chittering Good Day,

Jo

1 comment:

Ann Paws said...

I haven't seen the episode either. I have owned 2 ferrets in my life and I don't remember either one biting me ever. I've also worked with A LOT of ferrets at a vet hospital and don't really remember any of those trying to bite either... squirm, yes, but not bite.